Grading Bears' offense, defense in sloppy win vs. Texans


CHICAGO — Someone had to win Sunday at Soldier Field. Neither the Bears nor the Houston Texans appeared to want it. Neither deserved it.

But Roquan Smith’s 11th-hour interception of Davis Mills set up Cairo Santos for a game-winning 30-yard game-winning field goal to set off a celebration by the lake.

The final scoreboard read: Bears 23, Texans 20.

The Bears are 2-1. They would be 1-2 or 1-1-1 if not for Smith, Eddie Jackson, and an opportunistic, gritty defense.

Smith notched 16 tackles, two tackles for loss, and an interception. A monster game. Jackson made a key pick in the end zone.

That’s the good. But there’s still a lot of red on this report card for a team that heads into Week 4 at 2-1:

Passing offense

We don’t need to sugarcoat things. Fields certainly didn’t after the game.

The second-year quarterback called his performance “trash” and said he was “terrible.”

You can’t argue with that.

Fields looked like he has regressed Sunday against the Texans. He finished the day 8 for 17 for 106 yards and two interceptions. He posted a quarterback rating of 27.7.

Fields missed several throws by a wide margin. The first interception came when Fields overthrew tight end Cole Kmet down the seam. The second saw him overthrow Darnell Mooney on a deep pass down the middle.

It was one of the worst games of Fields’ young career. One the young quarterback plans to use as a turning point.

"I just got to get better. Plain and simple," Fields said after the win. "Straight up, I just played like -- I don't want to say the 'A' word, I'm not going to do that. But I played like trash. I played terrible. I just got to be better.

"The were definitely more bad plays than good plays from my standpoint," Fields later said. "The only positive to take from me is that we got the win. I'm just going to continue to get better."

The Bears need to be much better. Both for this season’s hopes and the future.


Rushing offense

The Bears lost David Montgomery after half a quarter Sunday. The fourth-year running back left the field after having his legged rolled up on while in pass protection. Head coach Matt Eberflus described Montgomery as day-to-day after the game.

With Montgomery out, backup running back Khalil Herbert rode to the rescue.

The second-year back rushed for 157 yards and two scores to carry an otherwise lifeless Bears offense for the final three quarters.

Herbert’s one-cut-and-go style meshes perfectly with the wide-zone scheme. If Montgomery has to miss significant time, Herbert will be vital to a Bears’ offense that plans to rely on the run game as they troubleshoot the passing attack.

On the day, the Bears rushed for 281 yards. Aced it.


Passing defense

With Jaylon Johnson (quad) out Sunday, the Bears needed Kindle Vildor, Kyler Gordon, and undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones to hold up against an unspectacular Texans passing attack.

They were serviceable.

Mills finished the day completing 20 of 32 passes for 245 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.

The Texans were able to hit a few big plays against Gordon when he was in the slot, but overall the Johnson-less secondary held up.

Vildor made a big play in the first half, breaking up a pass in the end zone that wound up in the hands of Eddie Jackson.

It wasn’t a perfect day for the pass defense, but they made plays when they needed them most.

Grade: B-minus

Rushing defense

While the pass rush was relatively non-existent for the Bears on Sunday, the run defense did its job.

Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce finished with just 80 on 20 carries (4.0 yards per rush).

Smith and Nicholas Morrow were great in run support, as was Jackson.

After missing 17 tackles against the Packers, the Bears were much better at wrapping up and gang tackling Sunday.

Work to be done, though.


Special teams

Santos nailed the game-winner, and that’s what’s important.

But the Bears are getting nothing out of the return game right now. That’s something that has to improve to help the offense start with better field position.

GRADE: C-plus

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