Texans @ Bears
The Chicago Bears came into this one the loser of six straight games while the Houston Texans had won two of their last three and three of their last five. Well, recent performance be damned. Chicago dominated this one from start to finish in every phase of the game. The Chicago run game totalled 169 yards, their second-best outing of the season. Mitch Trubisky looked competent, throwing three touchdowns before halftime. Oh, and the defense looked fierce again. Deshaun Watson was chased all day while being sacked six times, and seeing two teammates fumble away the ball. Houston has another tough matchup traveling to Indianapolis next week while the Bears visit the Vikings in Minnesota.
Deshaun Watson: 21/30, 219 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 6 sacks | 7 carries, 38 yards
Deshaun Watson didn’t have a fair shot in this one. It’s clear that Houston’s roster is a mess, and it starts with the offensive line. Watson ran for his life on play after play, regularly being brought down by Khalil Mack or one of the other Chicago pass-rushers. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Watson was missing most of his supporting cast. David Johnson was still out today, Will Fuller is still serving his suspension, and Brandin Cooks was out with injuries of his own. Still, Watson played well with what he was given. His trademark mobility was on display, and a lesser runner probably would have been sacked another 5-6 times. Watson had a couple of near-picks, but overall there was much more good than bad. If he had an offense like Kansas City or Dallas around him, Watson’s season would be drawing much more attention. Unfortunately, he plays in Houston where they trade away DeAndre Hopkins for peanuts.
Duke Johnson: 8 carries, 26 yards, 1 fumble | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 53 yards
Buddy Howell: 11 carries, 42 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards
Duke Johnson continues to flash as a pass-catcher, breaking a huge 48-yard play today early in the second quarter. With Houston down 14-0, Johnson caught a short pass at the line of scrimmage and followed his blocks to open space. He took off down the sideline and was eventually caught. Johnson is the type of player who would be extremely interesting on a well-designed passing offense, but he is not a lead back. Buddy Howell actually saw more carries, and he ran well enough with what he was given. Howell is just a fill-in until David Johnson returns, but this job should be open for competition next year.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Chad Hansen: 7 targets, 7 receptions, 56 yards
Steven Mitchell Jr.: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards
Keke Coutee: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Akins: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards
With the struggles of the offensive line, it was hard to get much going amongst the wide receivers. The Texans were sitting on fewer than 200 passing yards heading into their final drive. Keke Coutee made a nice touchdown grab in the mid-second quarter. Watson was chased out of the pocket but he used his legs to buy time. Coutee ran across the endzone to open space, and he made a diving grab for the score. Unfortunately for Coutee, he also fumbled a kick return that was recovered by Chicago. Chad Hansen, fresh from the practice squad, did all he could with his opportunities. He caught all seven of his targets and should have more opportunity next week with Will Fuller still out.
Mitch Trubisky: 24/33, 267 yards, 3 TD, 3 sacks | 4 carries, 23 yards
Every so often, we see Mitch Trubisky rip apart a bad defense and everyone starts to wonder if this is a new Mitch. This is only going to be compounded by Coach Matt Nagy talking about how he’s seeing a “new Mitch” around the building. I will happily tell you when that day has come, but I don’t think this was it. This was more Houston’s defense struggling than it was Trubisky finding a new level. Houston was regularly out of position, and they watched the Bears’ struggling quarterback dominate them. Trubisky’s first touchdown went to Jimmy Graham. Graham’s defender wasn’t watching the ball, so it was easily caught over his head. The second score was a catch-and-run by Darnell Mooney, and the third was a short pass across the middle to Allen Robinson. Things slowed down in the second half as the Bears played keep away. I don’t expect a repeat performance from Trubisky next week.
David Montgomery: 11 carries, 113 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards
Cordarelle Patterson: 6 carries, 26 yards | 1 target
This one started fast when David Montgomery busted loose for an 80-yard score on his first touch of the game. The Bears offensive line broke open a huge hole and Montgomery hit it hard. He stiff-armed a defender and was off to the races. I was impressed with Montgomery’s speed on the play, and it was easily the best run of his career. I joked after it that it was too bad he would probably only get another dozen carries for the rest of the game–knowing Coach Nagy’s disdain for the run. He actually saw ten more carries. The limited use of the running backs in Chicago, especially when they have the lead (this game, as well as last week against Detroit) is mind-boggling. Montgomery has put together a few great weeks in a row, but his upside will be limited as long as his coach is afraid to use him. Still, Montgomery is on the right track and I want him to be the team’s lead back next year–albeit with a new coach. Cordarelle Patterson saw a few carries spelling Montgomery, but there wasn’t much worth mentioning here.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Robinson: 13 targets, 9 receptions, 123 yards, 1 TD
Cole Kmet: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 41 yards
Jimmy Graham: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 23 yards, 1 TD
Darnell Mooney: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD
Anthony Miller: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
Allen Robinson led the way in this one, eating early and often. His best catch of the day came after halftime. He caught a quick pass in the middle, made a cut, and broke free up the middle for 35 yards. This game put Robinson over the one-thousand yards mark and he has six touchdowns on the season. Darnell Mooney continues to flash, though he was limited to two targets on the day. Mooney’s big play of the day was his touchdown; He caught a screen pass to the right and bolted for the sideline. He just managed to stay inbounds as he dove for the endzone. Mooney is not the biggest guy, but he has the speed to kill opposing defenses. With Allen Robinson possibly gone in the offseason, Mooney could be the one to watch here. Cole Kmet led the way at tight end, catching four of his seven targets. He hasn’t shown great speed yet, but he is tenacious after the catch. Kmet needs to supplant Jimmy Graham as the primary red zone threat though if he wants to be a locked-in fantasy starter.
— Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)