INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Was it “Glass Half-Full” or “Glass Half-Empty” through the first six games for the Bears?
That depends on who you ask.
But it’s pretty clear after Week 7 that the glass has tipped over, just as the positive or the negative person might have feared watching the team during their 5-1 start.
In your heart, you hoped that it might be different. You thought the Bears might be able to find their way on offense on a Monday night, or at the very least just a little better. Maybe Matt Nagy would get creative with the play calling, perhaps find the right balance of creativity and necessity.
You might have even desired a 30-or-more point outburst by the offense, something they’ve done just three times in their last 22 games coming into Monday night. If the defense were just to show up and play average, that would probably be enough for the win.
Yet the worst fears came true for the Bears on a Monday night stage against a potential competitor for a playoff spot over the next two months. There would be no proving to a national audience that they’re a team to be reckoned with in the NFC over their final nine games.
Instead, borrowing a phrase uttered on a Monday night after a Bears road game 14 years ago, the Bears are who we thought they were. Everyone else who didn’t now nationally now knows this group that has a lackluster offense and will only go as far as their defense takes them.
Monday didn’t even give hope that it could change on the offensive end.
Facing Aaron Donald and a talented Rams’ defensive front, a struggling offensive line had trouble opening holes for the run and protecting Foles. Just 49 yards were gained on the ground on 17 carries as the running backs now have just 175 total rushing yards in their last four games.
Foles faced pressure all night, with a big example coming on a throw from his own end zone towards Darnell Mooney, who was ten yards clear of any defender. The rushed pass landed nearly as far over the receivers head, which was part of a Rams’ effort that included eight quarterback hits and four sacks.
On top of that, Cody Whitehair left with a calf injury, which has the potential to knock out a second starter on the line in 2020.
But the quarterback and the playcaller weren’t off the hook either. Foles wrecked a long third quarter drive when his pass to Mooney in the corner of the endzone was tipped and picked off. Nagy called a pitch play on 4th-and-1 with Cordarrelle Patterson late in the third and it was blown up by the Los Angeles defense.
On the next drive, the Bears had 2nd-and-Goal but never got closer in three-straight plays.
In the end, the defense outscored the offense 7-3 thanks to a scoop and score by hard-luck Eddie Jackson, who finally got a touchdown after two were called back earlier.
Doesn’t reading that make you frustrated, Bears fans?
Almost as frustrating as watching it live, as the unit’s dysfunction was on full display for a national audience. By no means was the defense perfect, surrendering 371 yards and two long second half scoring drives, but they still kept the Rams at 24 points.
That wasn’t enough and it might not be enough the next two weeks, when the Bears play proven contenders in New Orleans and Tennessee before the bye week.
Now those teams, the Rams, and a lot of the country knows exactly who the Bears are in their 5-2 start to the 2020 season. Unfortunately, it’s who we thought they were the whole time, with nine more games left to change the narrative.