Chicago Bears 2021 report card: a low-quality effort

Former Bears wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad has said Chicago is where receivers go to die and he wasn’t entirely wrong.

If he had said that Chicago is the place where football fans’ hopes go to die, then he would have been exactly right.

Still, Bears fans can now have some hope thanks to the LA Raiders. When the Raiders beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night to advance to the playoffs, it could have guaranteed a new, more popular Bears coach.

How can Las Vegas fire coach Rich Bisaccia now?

And if it really is, and Jim Harbaugh is seriously considering a return to the NFL, then what better place than Halas Hall and the team he played for to start his professional career?

The Bears were not only incompetent in Matt Nagy’s fourth season as a coach, but were unlucky for much of that season. The way they lost the Pittsburgh game showed it.

Sunday’s season finale summed up their year well, with bad decisions, bad playing decisions and lack of execution. They did everything a poorly trained team does.

Here are the final scores for the 2021 Chicago Bears 6-11 squad, a team capable of outscoring an opponent by 200 yards in the first half of a game for a 14-0 lead, and then capable of exploding as well. quickly this lead and lose by 14 points ..

Passing game: F

The only bright spots of the season came when Darnell Mooney advanced into his sophomore year as Allen Robinson battled injury, COVID and five missed games. Cole Kmet made progress with 60 catches for 612 yards, but needed more production in the red zone. In fact, he needed red zone production. The Bears were the last to pass, their quarterbacks had an unacceptable combined passer rating of 75.5 and just 6.7 yards per attempt. So they couldn’t bring him down, couldn’t throw him with precision, and they were sacked 58 times, a league-high. Other than that, they were fine when they passed.

Racing game: C-

David Montgomery’s perpetual extra effort alone keeps them from getting a D grade or worse. His yards-per-carry average dropped, however, once they no longer had the threat of Justin Fields running into the backfield alongside him. He finished at 3.8 yards per carry and all running backs at 3.92 per carry. Trail blocking was irregular year round and often poor in short distance situations. They rarely ran Fields on designed racing games and he has to take a crash course in how to give RPO knockoffs or bootlegs because he does so reluctantly and indecisively.

Pass defense: B-

The final stats for the season show a team ranked third against the assist overall. Still, their passing coverage gave up too many big plays at crucial times, and Sunday’s season finale was one example. They lost to the Rams, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Minnesota giving deep passes mostly late in the game. Their overall allowed passing distance was limited by a passing rush that led the NFL in the number of sacks per attempted pass. However, they finished eighth by preventing conversions from third downs, at 37.4%. Eddie Jackson took another step back in his coverage and approached this season as the highest-paid player in his high school, while the cornerbacks have intercepted just one pass for the second straight season. They tied the franchise record for the fewest interceptions with eight, except it was worse than the other times because it happened in 17 games, not 16.

Execute Defense: D

Part of the reason the Bears were so good at passing defense was that they faced at least passing attempts in the NFL. This was the case because running defense was their most obvious flaw besides their deep cover, but many teams didn’t want to risk deeper throws because of their pass rush. But the run defense was 24th overall and nose tackle Eddie Goldman had a terrible year coming back from a withdrawal. When the opponents have passed the ball in the middle, they average 5.06 yards per attempt. This is the highest average in the NFL. If Roquan Smith is to be in the Pro Bowl, he apparently needs to have more TFLs, or at least not be blocked by guards on racing games. With Akiem Hicks leaving in free agency, you really have to wonder if the Bears will be able to stop the race in the future.

Special teams: B

The Bears led the NFC in the punt return average despite using four different returning men. Jakeem Grant made this possible. Khalil Herbert’s returns as a rookie helped the Bears finish in the top 10 in team kicking returns average. Cairo Santos’ kicks, although not as good as last year, were still respectable at 26 of 30 (87%). They finished in the middle of the pack covering kicks and punts, but their punt coverage was miserable, ranked 30th overall and better than the last-place Raiders and Packers.

Training: F

Some of the most ridiculous decisions have been made in situations on the goal line or at close range. Part of that happened because their line never really established itself as a force in the running game, and the last game was a good example of that. They had David Montgomery off the field in the fourth and short. They’ve used the shotgun this year on the goal line and the wildcat in fourth and short situations when opponents know they’re not passing and have all of their defenders on the line of scrimmage. The coordination of the running game versus the passing game is completely absent. They couldn’t block the shotgun, but insisted on making it work a good chunk of the time on RPO games. For a freshman coordinator, Sean Desai has had some highlights, but all too often blankets have been burnt at critical times. He’s too fallen in love with his own four-way pass rush and only blitzed 21.9% of the time, 24th most often in the league. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor had to deal with a constant reshuffle of his return and cover groups due to COVID-19 and injuries throughout a year when the Bears were in the league’s top-eight. in terms of key players lost through injury or illness.

Staff: D

Ryan Pace has gone from hero to goat. He was part of the process of securing a trade for Justin Fields and then somehow managed not to provide adequate assistance to the left cornerback and lunge after losing Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine . The third and fourth wide receivers he recruited didn’t live up to their duties until very late in the season. They drafted a tackle to start who had back problems and were stunned when he had to have back surgery. However, Pace’s draft class for this year has finally started producing. They weren’t at last year’s level but they all contributed at least at some point.

Property: F

They looked like fools last year as they insisted on a press conference that wasn’t even necessary after the team made the playoffs and then went public with what they needed to see from their coach and their GM to be retained before tying the two with that ridiculous collaboration buzzword. So now when one fails, they’re both to blame. And with everyone realizing now that the Bears must have “progress” or win a playoff game, coaches have been at a competitive disadvantage in games and in finding trades or talent. Then they let Matt Nagy hang for about five weeks and could have fired him two weeks ago in order to start the process of hiring a new coach taking advantage of the new rules allowing in-season interviews of assistants by employees. teams without coaches. The only thing the property has done right is sue the Arlington Park racetrack property, and no one knows yet if they can fund the new stadium.

Overall: D-

There have been a lot of worst seasons for bears, but not many so frustrating. It all starts at the top and therefore they really need Jeff Bezos to buckle up and forget about the space so he can focus on buying this team.

Twitter: BearDigest @ BearsOnMaven

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