Another paltry offensive showing underscored the point that the Bears offense has some serious structural issues.
It’s on the quarterback. It’s on the offensive line. It’s on the play caller. It’s on the general manager who assembled this team. The fact is, it’s on everyone. The Bears are running out of changes they can make without completely blowing up the offense midseason – which isn’t going to happen.
Matt Nagy’s team produced only two first downs in the second half of Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It produced negative yardage in the third quarter. There’s no way around it: The Bears were bad.
How bad was it?: The Bears’ 149 total yards of offense marked their lowest total of the Matt Nagy era. It was the team’s worst offensive output since producing 147 yards in a Dec. 3, 2017, loss to the San Francisco 49ers. That performance in 2017 actually followed a 140-yard game a week earlier in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
If not for Tyler Bray’s 18-yard completion to running back Ryan Nall in the final minute of the game, it could’ve been the Bears’ worst offensive performance since they totaled 110 yards of offense in an Oct. 3, 2010, loss to the New York Giants.
I don’t need to rehash all the big-picture numbers that show how bad this Bears offense is. I did that last week. You can go back and read it if you really want to put yourself through that torture.
The gist of it is this: The Bears are bad in just about every category.
On Monday, they once again failed to capitalize on their one trip to the red zone, and for most of the game they were nowhere near the red zone.
The team’s 20 total touchdowns this season (including defense and special teams) ranks 29th in the NFL. It makes one wonder where this Bears team would be without kicker Cairo Santos, who has been money on field goals this season?
The Bears are tied for 30th in red zone efficiency. They have scored a touchdown on 48.15% of their red zone trips. The only teams on par or worse than the Bears reside in New York. The Giants also have a 48.15% success rate in the red zone, while the Jets are worst in the league by a wide margin at 27.78%.
In goal-to-go situations, the Bears are scoring touchdowns 71.43% of the time, which ranks tied for 24th in the league.
After Week 10’s conclusion, the Bears are now the second-lowest scoring team in the NFL. Only the Jets’ 13.4 points per game is worse than the Bears’ 19.1 points per game.
Kirk’s breakthrough: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Kirk Cousins’ 292 passing yards against the Bears was the most for a Vikings quarterback against the Bears in more than a decade since Brett Favre threw for 321 yards in December 2009.
It also marked Cousins’ first win on “Monday Night Football.” He had been 0-9 during the Monday prime time slot prior to this week.
Flash: Cordarrelle Patterson's 104-yard kick return for a touchdown tied him with Leon Washington and Josh Cribbs for the most kick return touchdowns in NFL history with eight. It was also the third-longest play in Bears history. Only 108-yard missed field goal returns by Nathan Vasher in 2005 and Devin Hester in 2006 were longer plays for the Bears.
Patterson threw up two fingers in celebration during the last 10 yards of his return. As proof that he’s human like the rest of us, Patterson said he didn’t know why he did that.
“I don't know what I did, man,” Patterson said. “I was blacked out at the time.”
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Patterson traveled 117.3 yards – including his lateral movement – on the play. He reached a top speed of “only” 19.31 miles per hour. The “only” is a relative term, of course. Patterson reached 20 miles per hour or faster in eight of the previous nine games.
The rest of us are left to wonder what it must feel like to glide along at 20 miles per hour with 11 highly trained professional athletes chasing us.
“I’ve been challenging CP, in a good way, all season long,” Nagy said Tuesday. “To have him be able to return that and for the guys to fit their blocks the right way and for CP to hit one, we needed that.”
Roquan’s best game?: Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been everywhere and is unquestionably one of the Bears’ best assets. Smith finished Monday night with 14 total tackles, three tackles for loss and his second sack of the season.
He’s tied with New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez for the NFL lead with 96 tackles this season.
Monday might have been the best game of Smith’s career. Against Detroit on Thanksgiving last season, he totaled 16 tackles and two sacks. Both were supreme performances, and Smith is making games like that look routine.
It was his fourth game this season with 10 or more tackles and two or more tackles for loss. That is the most such games for any player in the NFL this season.