Report Card: Bears Position Grades after win over Vikings
Jeffrey Becker - USA Today Sports

Report Card: Bears Position Grades after win over Vikings


by - Staff Writer -

The Bears began this season with heightened expectations after they finished with a league-worst 3-14 and traded the No. 1 overall pick in a deal to acquire DJ Moore and draft capital. The Bears added exponentially to the offensive line and the defense and were widely anticipating a significant improvement in 2023. However, it had gotten off to an extremely rough start through four weeks.

But since then, the Bears have been 4-4 and balanced some really ugly losses with well-deserved wins.

After the Bears fell last week to the Detroit Lions they rebounded with a 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football — Matt Eberflus’ first divisional victory in his head coaching career.

Here are the position grades after the win:

QUARTERBACK B+

Justin Fields was back under center for the Bears after missing a little over a month, and he turned in a pretty strong game. The Bears were balanced. Fields was 27 of 37 for 217 yards, and he also carried the ball on the ground 12 times for 59 yards. He had two costly late-game fumbles on some improvisations but ultimately willed the Bears to the win with his first game-winning drive of the season.

The Bears will need to continue to see improvement out of Fields in this system, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.

RUNNING BACKS C

Khalil Herbert is back from injured reserve but was very ineffective in his second game back. He had just eight touches but mustered up only 38 yards. Rookie Roschon Johnson is also healthy and had ten carries for 35 yards and five catches for 40 yards. Former Panther D’onte Foreman has led the way over the last few weeks but found himself on the injury report this time.

The Bears were the league’s top rushing offense a year ago, but they have not yet been able to unleash their four-headed monster. Expect them to be continually involved this unit, and it should also open up the passing game.

RECEIVERS B

This unit was supposed to take one of the largest steps from last season to this one, and it has been up and down this year. Chase Claypool was traded to Miami midyear after being a nonfactor, which has turned the WR room into the DJ Moore show. Moore was excellent with 11 catches for 114 yards, but the rest of the Bears WRs combined for just six yards (all from Darnell Mooney, who has had a disappointing year). Equanamius St. Brown, Tyler Scott, Trent Taylor, and Velus Jones Jr. were all held without a catch.

This unit needs to improve in the coming weeks, but Moore did enough to save the grade.

TIGHT ENDS B

Highlighted by the newly paid Cole Kmet, this group was solid. Kmet had seven catches for 43 yards, and Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis were quiet.

OFFENSIVE LINE C

Similarly to last season’s debauchery, the offensive line has been a weakness. However, they were pretty good on Monday. Fields was sacked three times, and the run game was effective. It was one of their best games of the season until the very end. A good Bears season is dependent on this group improving.

DEFENSIVE LINE B

The defensive line was much better in stopping the run, and they turned in one of their best efforts in QB pressure we’ve seen all year. It was just the Bears’ fourth multi-sack game, and Montez Sweat was also active, with 1.5 sacks.

LINEBACKERS A

No Roquan Smith headlining this group, but they are still the defense’s strengths. New additions T. J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds have been the bread and butter thus far, combined for 13 tackles and an interception. Jack Sanborn had a sack. They will remain the base of this Bears defense that needs to improve.

SECONDARY A

The Bears were finally with Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson, Eddie Jackson, and Jaquan Brisker, and they turned in a stellar effort. The Bears had four interceptions of Josh Dobbs. Johnson had one and should’ve had a second (for what should’ve been a pick-six), and Brisker and Gordon each had one. Terrell Smith led the way in tackles, too. This unit was crucial.

SPECIAL TEAMS A

Cairo Santos was 4-of-5 on field goals, including the game-winner. Trenton Gill only punted three times and nailed one inside the 20. Velus Jones had just one return for 28 yards

PLAY CALLING C

The 12th game of the second season of the Matt Eberflus era was much better from the play-calling department. According to a newly released metric, the Bears' play calling has been the worst in the NFL — which has been no surprise to those who watch this team week in and week out. Fields was not unleashed, but the Bears came away with the win. The coaching staff needs to be confident in Fields.

The Bears have a BYE week before a rematch with the Lions.

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