Bears report card: Grades for offense, defense in blowout win vs. patriots


On paper, Monday night’s showdown between the Bears and New England Patriots was a total mismatch.

You had Bill Belichick, looking to overtake George Halas for second-most career wins, on one sideline. The Patriots head coach has made a living off making rookie and second-year quarterbacks fall on their face against his defenses.

On the other sideline stood Bears quarterback Justin Fields and first-year head coach Matt Eberflus. The Bears were 11 days removed from an embarrassing loss to the Washington Commanders. Their offense looked broken, their offensive line incapable of blocking a pop-up ad, and their run defense likely to put up as much resistance as an ant does against a boot.

But that’s why they play the games.

When the final horn sounded at Gillette Stadium, the Bears had just finished dog-walking Belichick and the Patriots up and down the field for 60 minutes in a 33-14 win.

That team that Belichick gushed about in his opening week salvo that made Twitter guffaw. That was the team that showed up Monday night in what was an out-and-out whooping in New England.

RELATED: Can Fields, Bears build off ‘momentum’ of Patriots rout?

Here’s a report card to hang on the fridge from the Bears’ Week 7 romp in New England:

Passing offense

We have spent weeks asking offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to dial up more easy-access throws for Fields. Begging to move the pocket and bring back the bootlegs we saw in the preseason.

Ask and you shall receive. Little late, but we’ll take it.

The Bears’ passing attack didn’t put up gaudy numbers Monday, but it didn’t need to with the way the game script played out.

Fields finished the day going 13-for-21 for 179 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Getsy dialed up screens and crossers. The Bears moved the pocket on the first play of the game and gave Fields an easy pitch-and-catch to Darnell Mooney for 20 yards to move the sticks on third down. They came right back with a naked boot to the left that saw Fields hit Equanimeous St. Brown for 11.

Aside from the interception, which came on another pass batted at the line of scrimmage, Fields was efficient and on-target with most of his throws. He did an impressive job of changing his arm angle to get the ball to Khalil Herbert on a screen that wound up going 25 yards to the house.

Was it perfect? no. But it looked a hell of a lot better than what we’ve seen for most of the first six games.

Grade: A

rushing offense

In the age of wide-open NFL offenses that throw the ball 40 times a game, the Bears are trying to turn back the clock and play some old-school bully ball.

It hasn’t always worked, but the ground game was a runaway train that the Patriots had no chance of stopping.

On the night, the Bears rushed for 243 yards as a team. Fields led the way with 82 yards, while Herbert and David Montgomery each added 62.

Keep in mind, this effort came against a Patriots team that bottled up the Cleveland Browns’ vaunted rushing attack in Week 6.

If you stand on the tracks, you’re going to get run over. It will take the grounds crew at Gillette all week to scrape the Patriots’ defense off the turf.

Grade: A

Passing defense

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones started but was clearly hobbled from the ankle injury that had him miss the previous three games. He played three series and threw for just 13 yards before being picked off by Jaquan Brisker and being yanked.

Belichick said after the game that the move to rookie Bailey Zappe was planned and that he planned to go back to Jones, but the game got out of hand.

Zappe electrified Gillette Stadium momentarily. The Patriots dialed up a wide-open, play-action shot play to Jakobi Meyers that Zappe damn near missed. Meyers made a diving catch and crawled into the end zone for the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game.

Zappe hit DeVante Parker on a jump ball on the next drive to set up a touchdown. Zappe Fever was out of control as the Patriots took a 14-10 lead.

But that was all the Bears’ defense was going to let up.

Zappe transformed back into a pumpkin. On his final five drives, the Zappe-led offense went fumble, punt, punt, interception, and interception.

The fourth-round rookie was overmatched, and the HITS principle did the rest.

Grade: A-minus

run defense

Jones was the Patriots’ leading rusher (24 yards) for most of the game before Rhamondre Stevenson finally overtook him to finish the game with 39 yards on 11 attempts.

The Bears’ much-maligned run defense bottled up the Patriots’ run game and put the ball in the hands of an injured Jones and an in-over-his-head Zappe.

Stevenson entered the game on a tear, but he found no running lanes against a suddenly stout Bears defense. Once the Bears went up 12 in the second half, the running game was more-or-less pocketed and the Bears turned up the heat on Zappe.

An impressive showing from defensive coordinator Alan Williams’ unit.

Grade: A

Special teams

Cairo Santos remains automatic.

The decision to insert Dante Pettis as punt returner for the struggling and muff-happy Velus Jones Jr. worked pretty well, although Pettis did almost muff one himself.

But no complaints about Richard Hightower’s crew.

Grade: A-minus

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