Three Takeaways from Bears win over Cardinals
Jamie Sabau - USA Today Sports

Three Takeaways from Bears win over Cardinals


by - Senior Writer -

The holiday season came a day early for the Chicago Bears and their fans as they came away with a 27-16 victory over the Cardinals. In the process, the Bears now have six wins, doubling their 2022 season output. Any time you can double your win total from one season to the next, you're doing something right, which is just the first step of what a rebuilding team needs to do.

Remember, this team also blew three fourth-quarter leads of at least 10 points, so there is a great chance they would be a playoff-bound team had they been able to hold on to those leads. That shows you how small the margin of error is in the NFL and that this team may not be as far off as some people think they are.

Here are some takeaways from the Bears week 16 victory.

Cole Kmet steps up

When the Bears drafted Cole Kmet four years ago, the hope was for him to emerge as one of the game's best TEs. During his tenure at Notre Dame, Kmet was known for having great hands and was viewed as a possession TE who would keep drives going. Since arriving in the NFL, Kmet has continued to be the possession TE the Bears fell in love with, but he has developed his game a bit further.

Over the past two seasons, Kmet has emerged as a serious red zone threat, as he has averaged at least five TDs each of the past two seasons. With his rookie deal nearing an end, Kmet will be looking for an extension next season, and should he continue to play at the level he did on Sunday, it will be an extension worth giving.

Kmet had a massive game against the Cardinals and led the way with 112 yards receiving. That is the type of game the Bears have been waiting for from him, but it was the way he got it that stands out, as he had three receptions of at least 25 yards in the game. Talk about a stretch-the-field TE; Kmet showed the Bears a ton on Sunday and will serve as a future building block for this offense.

Getting back to the basics

For the Bears offense to be at their best, they must run the football. After being the best rushing attack in the NFL last season, the Bears have taken a step back this season, but injuries have played a part in that. You also have to look at Justin Fields and him throwing the ball more frequently than he has in the past, as the passing game has been far more consistent this season than last.

However, Sunday saw the Bears return to the basics as they returned to their old rushing ways. Not only did they have a 100-yard rusher in Khalil Herbert, who finished with 112 yards, but Fields rushed for one of his better totals of the season by adding 97 yards and a score. That makes for more than 200 yards between them, and that isn't counting Roschon Johnson and D'Onta Foreman who continue to chip in.

Although most fans would love for the Bears passing game to improve, for this team to be at their best, the rushing attack will lead the way. You saw them return to their identity on Sunday, and hopefully, that will be the start of something bigger to close out the season and focus on next year.

Time to pay Jaylon Johnson

Granted, Jaylon Johnson may not have had the impact on Sunday that he has had in the past, but it is time for the Bears to open up their checkbooks and pay the fourth-year man out of Utah. The former second-round pick was in line for an extension, but after failing to reach a deal in the offseason, it put his future with the team in jeopardy.

Here we are, three months later, and the Bears are now realizing that not paying him then will cost them a ton of money as he has proven to be the lockdown corner the Bears were hoping for and has emerged into one of the game's best cover corners. Since the addition of Montez Sweat which has helped generate a pass rush, Johnson and the rest of the Bears defense has feasted as they have been one of the best units when it comes to picking off teams.

Johnson is a huge reason, as he has pulled in three interceptions over the past month to further prove his worth on this team. Johnson has also indicated his desire to stay in Chicago, hoping he and the Bears can reach a long-term deal.

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