This tape was fun to study.
Both the offensive and defensive lines were worthy of game balls. Backup running backs Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert were inspiring. And the defense was flying around, reminiscent of 2018 for the first time this year with both Tashaun Gipson and Danny Trevathan back on the field – in spite of the fact the defense was without Akiem Hicks.
It is relevant that the Raiders were awful, committing 10 penalties for 82 yards that significantly affected the game along with numerous dropped passes, but it also is relevant that the Bears’ physicality clearly caused some of those issues.
Justin Fields showed remarkable toughness and leadership in his third NFL start that is sure to impress his teammates, and that is huge.
He also again made a few special plays and showed marked improvement converting third downs. He continues to grow and generate excitement.
But at some point the numbers have to start to matter. Among the other 31 NFL teams, only the Jets put up fewer than the Bears’ 252 yards of offense last weekend.
The other four rookie QB starters last weekend all produced twice as much or more offense than Fields. Although winning cures all, Fields’ stat line wouldn’t fly for any other QB. Grade: B-
Williams proved he is who you hoped he’d be: a solid No. 1 who can complement your top back or step up and start. The Bears might have something special in Herbert as the No. 3. Look at their pass protection and you’ll see why we won’t even hang a minus on this one. Grade: A
RECEIVERS and TIGHT ENDS
Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney are making plays, when given the chance, but no one else is consistently. The blocking is excellent from the tight ends and the wideouts, and Jesper Horsted did make one of the biggest plays of the game. But whether it’s the play selection, the rookie QB, just not enough talent here, etc., these guys have to find a way to do more. Grade: B-
They actually got better each time I watched the tape. James Daniels was outstanding all day, not only in his viral video kill shot on the safety. Although Jason Peters still got beat around the edge a couple of times, he gets better each week. Maybe most impressively Alex Bars as the sixth guy out there isn’t just a gimmick or extra beef; he was a weapon in Vegas. Grade: B+
Khalil Mack was in vintage form, and Robert Quinn continues to play every down at a remarkably high level. Trevis Gipson is flashing regularly now, too.
Eddie Goldman may not dent the stat sheet often, but his presence and work inside allowed the Bears to overcome the loss of Hicks.
Roquan Smith, Alec Ogletree and Danny Trevathan were impressive. Mental lapses from Mario Edwards Jr. were the only negative. Grade: A-
Jaylon Johnson lost track of Henry Ruggs once but, other than that, was outstanding again. Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley have made weekly progress, leading to their best performances of the season vs. the Raiders.
Each week Eddie Jackson looks a little bit more like the guy we fell in love with in 2018. Tashaun Gipson is everywhere, and Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson both contributed impact plays. Grade: A-
Cairo Santos is the gold standard at this point. Patrick O’Donnell is approaching a Pro Bowl level for the first time in his career, and Jakeem Grant is exciting, but he best not catch any more punts in the end zone. Solid all the way around. Grade: B
I have begged Matt Nagy to be a head coach rather than an offensive guru, and the Raiders game was a sign of what that can look like. Sean Desai, Bill Lazor and the entire staff had their best games of the season because Nagy put them in position to. They will have to coach the eight penalties for 70 yards out of their troops. Grade: B+