Bears @ Falcons
Final Score: Falcons 27, Bears 24
Writer: Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)
The Chicago Bears headed to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, and we were treated to a good game that came right down to the final minute. Atlanta started out strong, going on a five-plus minute touchdown drive capped off by a Marcus Mariota pass to Drake London from two yards out. Chicago answered with a touchdown of their own thanks to a 16-yard pass from Justin Fields to Darnell Mooney. After that, things ground to a halt; there were four straight punts and the Falcons lost a fumble on one of their punt returns. The Bears broke the struggle with a 41-yard field goal. Atlanta came back out and started their next drive with a 17-yard run by Cordarrelle Patterson before he fumbled and lost it. The Bears answered with a touchdown to make it 17-7 with 4:31 left in the half. Well, Patterson must have felt bad for his fumble, because he returned the next kickoff for a touchdown. The Bears missed a field goal and Atlanta kicked a field goal of their own to make it 17-17 at the half. The second half started with a trio of punts before Mariota ran it in from 10 yards out to make it 24-17. Chicago answered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by a short plunger from David Montgomery. Atlanta played keep away, holding the ball for the next six minutes and kicking a field goal. Chicago came back out, but Justin Fields was injured on the first play: a designed run to the outside where he landed on his left shoulder. He was clearly uncomfortable, but stayed in and tried to lead the team back. The game ended with a Fields interception on a pass that went through David Montgomery’s hands. Atlanta improves to 5-6 while the Bears fall to 3-8.
Justin Fields: 14/21, 153 Yards, TD, INT, 4 sacks | 18 Carries, 85 Yards, TD, 1 Fumble (Recovered)
The biggest news from this game is the late injury to Justin Fields, and at the moment all I’ve heard is he was carted off after the game was over. On the Bears’ last drive–with the team losing 27-24 and under two minutes on the clock–Fields was hit running out of bounds for a one-yard gain. He landed on his shoulder and quickly grabbed for it. Fields stayed in despite obvious pain and ran again on the next play. He threw a last-ditch jump pass to David Montgomery that floated a little but was completely catchable. Keep an eye on this injury during the week and don’t be surprised if Fields is out next week with the Bears far from playoff relevance. Fields was excellent running the ball in the first half, but the team made a clear effort to rest him in the second half. He was frequently seen getting worked on with the massage gun and he had hardly any designed carries. Fields’ passing was mostly great, capped by a beautiful pass to David Montgomery. Montgomery broke free down the sideline and Fields threw a perfect pass. I honestly couldn’t imagine it having landed in a better spot. Fields’ worst play of the day was a missed deep shot to Darnell Mooney that should have been an easy touchdown. Fields keeps improving and I’m hopeful the injury today isn’t something that will bleed into next season.
David Montgomery: 17 Carries, 67 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 54 Yards
Trestan Ebner: 6 Carries, 8 Yards | 1 Target | 1 Fumble (Recovered)
David Montgomery got some room to strut his stuff with Khalil Herbert out, and he made the most of it. Montgomery ran hard and did well as a pass-catching weapon including the aforementioned 34-yard catch down the sideline. Montgomery is a valuable asset with Herbert out and he should be a workhorse in this backfield as we didn’t see much from his partner.
Trestan Ebner had one nice six-yard gain but was otherwise bottled up today. He profiles as a pass-catching weapon, but this was not a part of the design today and it’s hard to imagine Ebner having much value–even if something happened to Montgomery.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Cole Kmet: 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 35 Yards
Darnell Mooney: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 29 Yards, TD
Equanimeous St. Brown: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards
Chase Claypool: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 11 Yards
Darnell Mooney had the biggest ‘fantasy’ line and was on the verge of a huge day if not for an overthrow. On a third-and-six from Chicago’s own 33, Mooney was facing single coverage on the outside. He beat his man and was running free as his defender tripped behind him. Mooney had an easy 67-yard score if not for the Fields overthrow on the play. Mooney was more involved than last week, and we can call this one a great sign. How would you feel if Mooney had posted five receptions, 96 yards, and two scores?
Cole Kmet put up a catch-of-the-year nominee today with maybe the best Bears catch I’ve ever seen. He was running up the middle and threw up one hand to grab the ball while in stride. Kmet was getting blasted while making the catch, but somehow held on and made a big gain. I’ve given Kmet a hard time before, but I am coming around to him as a long-term piece of this offense.
Chase Claypool saw a few short targets, but it still feels like he s learning the offense. He was limited in snaps last week, and has not seen many target. Expect Claypool to eventually break through, but wait to trust him until we see him break through.
Marcus Mariota: 13/20, 131 Yards, TD | 13 Carries, 25 Yards, TD
Marcus Mariota played well today, doing just enough to drag his team across the finish line. Mariota is a solid runner, but it’s funny watching the difference between him and Justin Fields. Mariota had a number of open running opportunities but just kept having a hard time finding the right hole to hit. Still, he broke free for a nice touchdown scramble before the day was through. As a passer, Mariota was solid. He hit open receivers and kept the team moving on multiple drives–including the last drive to win the game.
Tyler Allgeier: 8 Carries, 55 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 9 Yards
Cordarrelle Patterson: 10 Carries, 52 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 7 Yards | 1 Fumble (Lost)
Olamide Zaccheaus: 1 Carry, 13 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 9 Yards
Caleb Huntley: 1 Carry, 4 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 2 Yards
The backfield was a bit of a mess today, ending with close to a 50-50 split between Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier. Patterson did most of his damage on a nice 17-yard run, unfortunately coughing up the ball at the end. He came back with a touchdown on the team’s next kickoff and clearly still has chops as a weapon.
Tyler Allgeier looked strong as a runner, icing away the game late with a 26-yard blast to end it. Like Patterson, Allgeier was mostly quiet otherwise and didn’t show me enough to think he will change this split. Taking either guy here is ultimately hoping for touchdowns or a change un the dynamic.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Kyle Pitts: 5 Targets, 3 Receptions, 43 Yards
Damiere Byrd: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 29 Yards
MyCole Pruitt: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 17 Yards
KhaDarel Hodge: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 13 Yards
Drake London: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 2 Yards, TD
Kyle Pitts made a few grabs before leaving the game after a hit to his knee. There were a few more plays designed for the tight end late, including what could have been a long touchdown if Pitts was still in the game. Pitts walked off on his own after the hit, so I don’t expect to hear anything serious; keep an eye on this though.
Drake London saw a few targets but only made that one touchdown grab. His catch was a good play where he ran to the corner of the endzone–leaving himself just enough room to pull in the ball before going out. It’s hard to trust any of the pass-catchers here given a game like this against a week Bears pass defense.