While still not in the same area code as “The Maltese Falcon” or “The Godfather,” watching and re-watching the tape of the Bears-Lions game was a lot more enjoyable than the Browns a week earlier.
The Bears and their rookie quarterback fixed a number of issues, and while it is still clear from the tape there is a ton of work to do, there will be no failing grades given out this week.
QUARTERBACK: Justin Fields gets an A+ for putting the Browns game behind him and playing as well as he did.
He made five plays in particular – a throw to Darnell Mooney for 64 yards on their second possession, an 11-yard scramble around right end on third-and-4 three plays later (setting up David Montgomery TD run on next play), a deep middle throw to Allen Robinson for 28 yards followed two plays later by a 32-yard toss to Mooney deep right that set up the TD on their first possession of the second half, and a deep out on the sideline to Allen Robinson for 28 that set up the final field goal – that left you begging for more.
But Fields went just 7-of-13 on the other 52 plays for just 57 yards with no touchdowns, one interception and a fumble. The Bears were also 0 for 7 on third down. He is still holding the ball too long and struggling to find the open man. For a veteran it would have been a B- or C+ game, but for his second start we’ll bump him up a bit. Grade: B
RUNNING BACKS: David Montgomery has definitely become the guy this offense revolves around. He takes a lot of pressure off Fields and his injury will put that much more on the rookie QB. Damien Williams also authored his best game as a Bear. He and Montgomery each contributed a 20-plus yard run. Grade: A-
WIDE RECEIVERS: It’s exciting when Robinson and Mooney are both racking up multiple chunk plays in the same game. But where are Marquise Goodwin (2 targets, 0 catches), Damiere Byrd (0 targets), etc.? And is that one of the reasons Fields is holding the ball so long? Grade: B
TIGHT ENDS: Through four games and 100 targets, just 18 have been aimed at the tight ends. Cole Kmet has 15 and Jimmy Graham has only three. Kmet saw only three vs. the Lions. Their run blocking was excellent Sunday, particularly J.P. Holtz and Graham on the Williams TD. But they are a non-factor in the passing game. Grade: C+
OFFENSIVE LINE: These guys were the biggest difference in the offense this week. Obviously, getting to pound people on 39 runs and just pass protect 17 times helped. Center Sam Mustipher was much better this week, while something still appears to be slightly off with James Daniels. Grade: B
FRONT SEVEN: Getting Eddie Goldman back, particularly with Akiem Hicks going down on the first play, was huge. Angelo Blackson was strong in Hicks’ spot. Bilal Nichols is becoming a guy you expect a big play from every week.
Middle linebackers Roquan Smith and Alec Ogletree were flying all over the place, with Ogletree the leading tackler on the day. Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn have something rolling now, particularly whenever they line up on the same side. Trevis Gipson showed up with his first career sack, and Jeremiah Attaochu was solid as Mack was able to play just 48% of the snaps. This is Quinn’s defense right now though. Grade: B+
SECONDARY: The secondary played a fair amount of soft zones particularly after getting up 21-0, but Jared Goff should not have been able to throw for 299 yards with the way he was running for his life.
No one really stood out, good or bad, but safety Deon Bush was very solid in relief of Tashaun Gipson. Nickelback Duke Shelley was more confident and showed some improvement. Grade: B-
SPECIAL TEAMS: Nothing remarkable here, but Pat O’Donnell followed a very good Browns game with a better one here – a 43.3 net punting average. Khalil Webster continues to look like he has a future returning kickoffs. Nsimba Webster, for an alleged special teams demon, hasn’t shown much so far. Grade: B
COACHING: This could have gone a lot of ways after Cleveland, but head coach Matt Nagy and company had their guys ready. They had a solid game plan, got them off to a great start and cruised most of the way. Grade: B