There were plenty of questions to be answered as the Chicago Bears opened up the 2021 season in Los Angeles against the Rams Sunday night. It began with a promising drive but the problems that bubbled under the surface in the offseason seemed to find their way onto the field tonight.
Matt Nagy continued the trend from last season of questionable fourth down conversion attempts, with his latest coming at the Rams 41-yard line in the first quarter tonight falling short yet again. It’s not that the play was much of a momentum shift — although it did lead to a Rams field goal — as it was confirmation that Nagy is still, well, himself. And that may not bode well for the Bears as long as he insists on calling plays.
The lone bright spots tonight were easily David Montgomery and Justin Fields.
Montgomery looked like a back that can carry a team, but he’s going to need some help on defense. Fields scored his first career touchdown and completed his only two passes. The TD brought the Bears within six points with under five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Rams answered, however, with TDs on two dominating 75-yard possessions that made the Monsters of the Midway look like cuddly teddy bears. (Box Score)
Why the Bears Lost
The Bears’ secondary could not contain the Rams and quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns with almost no resistance.
Fields scored a touchdown to get within six points at 20-14 late in the third quarter. If they had gotten a stop on defense the ensuing drive they may have had a chance to take the lead. Instead, they allowed the Rams to convert a third and five deep in their own territory as they proceeded to score a touchdown to put the game away.
Stats That Matter
- Montgomery had a huge game for the Bears rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown. The Rams did not allow a 100-yard rusher all of 2020 so this is quite impressive.
- Andy Dalton was decent, but certainly not anyone who would be standing in the way of Justin Fields. He threw for 206 yards and had one very costly red-zone interception on the opening drive of the game.
- Fields got a handful of snaps, ran for a touchdown, and completed two passes for 10 yards.
- Left tackle Jason Peters had to leave the game with a leg injury. Obviously, the Bears cannot afford any more injuries to the offensive line. So, of course, Peters replacement Larry Borom also went down with an injury.
The secondary, having lost several pieces like Kyle Fuller, was exposed by the Rams’ passing attack. The offensive line, clearly the biggest concern for Chicago, suffered a key injury to a player that was already an emergency fill-in. The pressure for Nagy to start Fields is going to ramp up quickly. With a clear star running back in Montgomery, it might be the best move for the current and future of this team to pivot to a run-centered attack with Fields under center.
The Bears have their home opener on Sunday at 12:00pm CT against the resurgent Cincinnati Bengals. The game will be broadcast on FOX and WBBM radio.