What We Saw: Week 6

Jaylen Waddle feasted and Jonathan Taylor beasted

Packers @ Bears

Final Score: Packers 24, Bears 14

Writer: Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)

 

Would you believe this one started 7-0 Chicago, and that they had a chance to go up 14-0 early? What almost happened is fun to talk about, but we know what happens when the Bears play Aaron Rodgers: they lose. After a great opening drive, the Chicago offense went cold–despite their young weapons playing well today. Green Bay, meanwhile, eventually warmed up and methodically put up 17 straight points. They went into the fourth quarter up 17-7 behind their QB doing just enough to stay ahead. Seriously, the offensive stats were hard to come across for most of this contest. Justin Fields led a late scoring drive to make it 17-14, but Rodgers immediately iced the game with a textbook touchdown drive to put Chicago out of their misery. The 5-1 Packers will host the Washington Football Team while the 3-3 Bears head to Tampa Bay for a matchup with Tom Brady.

 

Green Bay Packers

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers: 17/23, 195 yards, 2 TD, 3 sacks | 7 carries, 19 yards, TD

 

This one started out slowly for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Bears defensive line was looking good, and they took Rodgers down three times on the day. Rodgers was sitting at fewer than 100 passing yards at halftime. He is 22-5 against the Bears, though, so we knew things would turn around eventually. The top throw on the day was probably the long completion to Davante Adams. Rodgers had his man open, hit him with a great throw, and gave his guy space to run. Then there was the last scoring drive–the one that iced the game. After the Bears made it 17-14 and closed the gap, Rodgers came out and led a beautiful drive that broke the back of Chicago. Rodgers had a pair of big scrambles, and he did what he needed to in order to secure the win. The stats aren’t going to be as big as last year, but Rodgers will win.

 

 

Running Back

 

Aaron Jones: 13 carries, 76 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 34 yards, TD

AJ Dillon: 11 carries, 59 yards

 

Like Rodgers, Aaron Jones started slowly today. The Bears defense was playing well, and there wasn’t much room to run. Eventually, though, he found his spots. Early in the third, Jones found some space and exploded through for a 28-yard gain on what would eventually be a touchdown-scoring drive. He continues to be an exceptional pass-catcher as well, including a 12-yard touchdown to end the aforementioned drive. Jones caught a pass short, shrugged off the first tackler, and ran easily into the endzone. Jones is not the only back here, but he remains the one we want.

 

 

AJ Dillon is a big dude. He is also grabbing a lot of work this year–today included. Dillon started off his day with a massive 38-yard gain up the middle. The offensive line created a nice crease, and Dillon ran quickly through it. He shrugged off one would-be tackler, but otherwise went most of the way untouched. Dillon otherwise had a quiet day, and this long carry didn’t change anything in my mind. Realize, though, that Dillon is always going to be a vulture threat here because of his size.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Davante Adams: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 89 yards

Allen Lazard: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards, TD

Marcedes Lewis: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Robert Tonyan: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 10 yards

 

I thought Davante Adams was going to have another big day today. The Bears’ secondary has been hit-or-miss thus far, and Adams might be the best wide receiver in the league. Adams started quiet, though, like the rest of his team. He really had one big play that made his day: the aforementioned reception from Rodgers. Adams got behind the secondary, who somehow forgot he existed. Adams pulled in the catch and then went racing up the sideline. He was contacted by a defender, who got just enough of Adams to force him one step out of bounds. It was nearly a day-making touchdown, but we will settle for the 41-yard connection.

Allen Lazard made some nice plays, but was hurt by the low volume of the offense. His touchdown was a clever play call where the Packers faked a run, and then Rodgers threw a blindingly-quick shovel pass to Lazard for the score. It was one of those rare plays where I didn’t know what happened until I saw the replay. Lazard is still my favorite here to be Rodgers’ number two behind Adams.

Equanimous St. Brown caught a touchdown that was called back for a phantom offensive pass interference call. He was fighting with his defender the whole way, but I honestly thought the defender did just as much–if not more–than Brown. The refs had a rough time today overall. Thankfully, the call didn’t have an effect on the final score; it felt worth mentioning though.

 

Chicago Bears

Quarterback

 

Justin Fields: 16/27, 174 yards, TD, INT, 4 sacks | 6 carries, 43 yards

 

Every week, the big question for me is this: how did Justin Fields look, and did he take a step forward from last week? Looking at the stats alone, the answer isn’t so clear. However, there was plenty of good we can take away from this one. Fields played well early–hitting Cole Kmet, Allen Robinson, and Darnell Mooney on a touchdown-scoring drive to take the early 7-0 lead. Fields also targeted Marquise Goodwin, who drew a pass interference call to bring the ball to the Green Bay one-yard line. Fields also flashed on his scoring drive in the fourth quarter, completing 20+ yard passes to Allen Robinson and Cole Kmet. Fields is already looking like a great pocket passer, and he could do special things behind a good offensive line.

Today wasn’t all roses though. Fields threw an early pick looking deep for–well no one. Green Bay jumped offsides, but the refs didn’t call it. Fields thought he had a free play, and just let the ball rip. Nobody went deep, and the result was a pick.

 

 

Fields is also taking too many sacks. He doesn’t look like he wants to run, and he struggles to convert from passer to runner. It looks like he only wants to process either passing or running, but not both. Don’t get me wrong: he is an excellent runner once he decides on it; the decision-making process just isn’t smooth enough yet. There was also a play where Allen Robinson was wide open deep and Fields didn’t pull the trigger. Maybe he was scrambling and couldn’t see it, but it was a big missed opportunity. Fields looked better this week, and I think he can improve on what appear to be mostly rookie mistakes. If he can start to process his options a little faster, and if the line can block a little longer, I love Fields’ potential in the long term.

 

Running Back

 

Khalil Herbert: 19 carries, 97 yards, TD | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards

 

This was the Khalil Herbert coming out party. Herbert was named the starter with David Montgomery still out and Damien Williams on the Covid list. Herbert made the most of his opportunity, scoring two touchdowns (we’ll get to the second one) and only making one mistake on an otherwise stellar day. Herbert had three carries on the opening drive, including a short 1-yard plunge for his first career touchdown.

 

 

One of his best carries started the second Chicago series. The play was designed to go right, but Herbert saw nothing opening up. So, he cut back to the left and burst forward for 25 yards. Herbert has the quickness and heady decision-making to turn small gains into bigger ones, and to turn losses into gains. His second touchdown, which was called back, was a 16-yard run undone by a phantom holding call. Similar to the aforementioned Equanimous St. Brown, touchdown, I don’t know what the refs saw here. Herbert blasted through the line, looking quick like David Montgomery never has. Herbert will take over the Damien Williams role, and should start stealing work from David Montgomery. Honestly, this was about the worst-case scenario for Montgomery managers.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Darnell Mooney: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards, TD

Allen Robinson: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 53 yards

Cole Kmet: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 49 yards

Marquise Goodwin: 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards

 

Watching the Bears pass-catchers, the question on my mind is now this: is Darnell Mooney or Allen Robinson the team’s number one? Looking at the season-long numbers, Mooney has the early lead in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. He is younger, faster, and he should continue to develop as a player. I want Mooney to become the number one because he is locked in with Chicago for at least 3 more years. What I know, though, is that Robinson is still the alpha. Robinson has to work harder to get open and makes more impressive catches in tighter windows. Robinson also had the opportunity for a huge grab if Fields had seen him on a busted coverage. Robinson’s best catch came early. He found space on the sideline and made an excellent grab–somehow sneaking his toes in. Robinson made another 20-yard catch on the other scoring drive, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. When Robinson heats up, it opens things up for everyone else. Mooney had a solid day as well, finding the endzone to cap the second Bears scoring drive. He ran a quick slant, finding a wide-open space right in the middle of the endzone. This is a fun duo to watch, and hopefully, the offense can continue to develop. It has the pieces to be something special if the young quarterback keeps growing.

Cole Kmet had a nice day, following four quiet weeks in a row. Kmet caught nearly everything thrown his way, and he had a pair of long grabs. The best play for Kmet–in my opinion–was a short catch that he turned into a first. Kmet was stopped short thanks to a great wrap-up, but he kept churning his feet. He eventually spun and dove just far enough to convert the play and keep the drive alive. Kmet could be worth grabbing if you are desperate at tight end. I don’t see much else here challenging him for those targets.

 

— Mike Miklius (@SIRL0INofBEEF on Twitter)

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