Takeaways following the Chicago Bears’ 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday:
Three moments that mattered
1. With 4:41 left in the third quarter, David Montgomery was stripped for a fumble that was returned for a Titans touchdown. It was on a drive that started promising with a couple completions downfield, but Nick Foles was sacked and later tagged for intentional grounding to halt the progress before the back-breaker. Already struggling on offense, the Bears suddenly were down 17-0.
2. The Bears slogged their way into the red zone late in the fourth quarter, ultimately settling for a Cairo Santos field goal to make it 17-3 with 12:48 left after a Foles pass was tipped and nearly intercepted. The Bears again failed to record points in the third quarter, the eighth time this season.
3. The Bears offense finally broke through with its first touchdown of the afternoon on a 6-yard Foles completion to Ryan Nall. Although the touchdown came with the game all but out of reach – the Bears trailed 24-3 – it did give the offense one glimmer of positivity following a 75-yard drive. Jimmy Graham later caught another TD make it 24-17 with 1:04 left.
Three things that worked
King Henry Kept in Check: The Bears run defense is average. But, coming up against NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry and limiting him to just 68 yards – given how much the Titans offense features him – was paramount to a remote chance at winning. Akiem Hicks and others ultimately did their jobs.
Pat The Great: Punters are people, too, and this is a rare chance to shine a spotlight on how effective Pat O’Donnell was. He had six punts, with a long of 64 yards. Two punts landed inside the 20. Punters are usually universally overlooked, but O’Donnell has proved to be valuable and reliable over the years. Additionally, Dwayne Harris at punt returner is easily better than what Ted Ginn Jr. gave them there.
The Sack Men: The Bears sacked Ryan Tannehill three times. Tannehill is considered by some to be in the league MVP conversation at this stage in the season and didn’t necessarily look like one for the majority of the afternoon. Tannehill had a relatively pedestrian 158-yard, two-touchdown day, which was aided in part by the Bears’ secondary’s off-tackling performance.
Three things that didn't
What rushing attack? Linebacker Barkevious Mingo was the team’s leading rusher at the half with 11 yards – from a fake punt. It took until the 6:38 left in the third quarter for Montgomery, the starting running back, to overcome that by one yard. That says it all.
Flags on the Field: The Bears entered Sunday as the most penalized team in the league. No better example of that came in the third quarter when the Bears lined up for a 4th-and-1 but later had to punt after consecutive false start penalties. It’s a perfect snapshot to just how broken the entire offense is.
Oh no, OL: The offensive line is in desperate need of repair with several Week 1 starters injured, COVID-19 related issues and more. As pedestrian as Foles played, he had little chance to do anything behind a line that featured a rookie in Arlington Hambright taking his first NFL snaps, his second center in as many weeks with Alex Bars, and lackluster blocking performances from veterans Charles Leno Jr. and Germain Ifedi.
The Bears will host NFC North rival Minnesota on Monday Night Football. For as rough as the Bears are, they have played Kirk Cousins well in previous years, going 2-0 last season.