The Chicago Bears saw their slump continue to extend after they fell short against the Atlanta Falcons, 27-24, on the road in Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season. Now at 3-8, the Bears remain in last place in the NFC North and continue to get dragged through the mud. Here are the four Bears most to blame for their Week 11 loss vs. the Falcons.
With this loss, the Bears’ postseason prospects are all but over. Chicago had several chances to put Atlanta away and take control of the game. However, it sure looked like for every good thing they did, a couple of not-so-good things happened.
To wit, the Bears actually led, 17-7, at halftime. And then they allowed the Falcons to score 17 unanswered points to grab a 24-17 advantage. While Chicago was not out until the last drive, they were unable to stage a comeback.
It also didn’t help that quarterback Justin Fields sustained a left shoulder injury, putting his health in jeopardy. There is no question that Fields has been the team’s brightest spot this season, so this really sucks.
Let us look at the four Bears most to blame for their Week 11 loss vs. the Falcons.
4. QB Justin Fields
Speaking of Fields, despite throwing an interception on the Bears’ final drive, he actually had a generally solid outing. Fields had a passer rating of 84.0 after completing 14-of-21 passes for 153 yards and one score. He also led the Bears in running yards with 85 on 18 carries.
All that effort took its toll, though. Recall that after Week 10, Fields stated that his leg was feeling “heavy” and that he needed to do some training this week. In this game, however, it became evident that he may have overstated his health status. He definitely did not look 100 percent.
And then during the dying minutes, Fields took a hit on the first down play when they got the ball back with less than two minutes left. This was the most alarming part. He instantly grasped his left shoulder and hastily exited the field after the game. Only time will tell how this affects him in the coming weeks, but those hits are really piling up. Sure, he might be exactly accountable for this loss, but his injury will certainly affect the Bears’ performance in the coming weeks.
Coach Eberflus said that Justin Fields is "day-to-day" with the left shoulder injury he suffered late in Sunday’s loss.https://t.co/nHvRyeAPTU
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 21, 2022
3. RB Trestan Ebner
With Khalil Herbert on injured reserve, freshman RB Trestan Ebner saw an increase in offensive load. He backed up starter David Montgomery in this game. Unfortunately, Ebner’s day was not going well. He gained just eight yards on six runs for an average of 1.3 yards per carry. He also had no catches on a single target. Ebner’s performance this season was easily the worst by any Bears running back.
That 1.3 yards per rush metric is just too low for an offense that averages more than 200 yards each game. If Herbert continues to watch from the sidelines, Ebner will continue to see a lot of carries. Judging by his performance here, though, that isn’t exactly a good thing.
2. WR Chase Claypool
Yes, we wanted to be really patient with wide receiver Chase Claypool. However, it’s getting to the point where we have to question, “What the heck is going on?”
Keep in mind that the Bears dealt a Top 40 pick for Claypool. Chicago fans certainly feel that they should have seen results in some way, shape, or form by now. That’s just not the case, objectively speaking.
In this game, Claypool tallied just two catches for 11 yards. Since arriving in Chicago, in fact, he has averaged just over 10 yards per game. That’s not the expected payoff for someone like Claypool. The truth is that when you trade a precious piece of draft capital, you want to see the return on that investment. The Bears are also expected to re-sign Claypool in the offseason, though if he continues to be a flop, that might change.
1. Offensive Line
Right now, the Bears offensive line is their most problematic position group. This is particularly true in terms of pass protection. Remember that Fields has been sacked 36 times this season. That is tied for the most in the NFL. They also gave up four sacks against the NFL’s second-worst pass rush in this game.
To be honest, much of the offensive line’s struggles were underscored by right guard Michael Schofield, who was standing in for an injured Teven Jenkins. Schofield gave up two of Fields’ four sacks while also committing two penalties – a false start and a holding flag. That’s just too many errors in the trenches. It was plainly another brutal performance by the o-line — and not in a good way.