3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 7 Loss
Just when it looked like the Chicago Bears might find relevance in the NFC North, back-to-back losses have put a damper on the proceedings. Last week, they lost to the Green Bay Packers in a game that could have given them first place in the division.
On Sunday, they got completely embarrassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
There's no shame in losing to Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions, of course, but Chicago barely put up a fight. Offense was virtually nonexistent, and the defense was merely a speed bump.
The Bears have not lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 62-17. If they're going to perform this poorly against legitimate contenders, there's no way they can be considered a real playoff threat.
It's becoming clear that this season is going to be all about developing rookie quarterback Justin Fields and not about pushing for the postseason.
Here's what else we learned during Chicago's 38-3 loss in Week 7.
Matt Nagy Continues to Have His Team Ill-Prepared
If Matt Nagy isn't already on the hot seat, he probably should be. Chicago has consistently appeared outmatched, unprepared and out of sorts, which falls firmly on the head coach.
The first real sign of trouble came in Week 3, when Nagy abandoned the run in Fields' first career start. The rookie quarterback was sacked nine times, and the Bears produced just 47 yards of total offense.
Things weren't quite as bad on Sunday, but Chicago again played a sloppy brand of football. Khalil Herbert turned the ball over five times, while the Bears were penalized four times for 32 yards.
Execution was again a major issue, and Chicago converted just two of 11 third-down attempts.
There might not be a hotter team in the NFL right now than Tampa Bay, but the Bears seemed in no way up for this game.
It's becoming increasingly fair to question whether Nagy is the right coach to develop Fields for the future.
Chicago Does Not Have a Playoff-Caliber Defense
The Bears have a promising but inconsistent rookie quarterback and a rushing attack that is missing starting back David Montgomery. If they hope to make any sort of playoff push, they're going to need a defense that can keep games close.
That's precisely what we didn't see on Sunday, as the Buccaneers racked up 408 yards of total offense, 38 points and 28 first downs.
The Bucs are a potent offensive team with a first-ballot Hall of Famer under center. Few teams are going to limit them, but it can be done. Tampa was held to 24 points by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 and 19 points by the New England Patriots in Week 4.
On Sunday, the Buccaneers had 35 points by halftime, and they were able to coast the rest of the way. If Chicago cannot even slow down a championship-caliber offense, it has no business being in the playoff conversation.
Chicago's defensive ranking, 10th in yards allowed, is deceiving. This is not a postseason-caliber unit.
Khalil Herbert Has Bright Future in Chicago
With Montgomery sidelined by a knee injury, the Bears have turned to rookie running back Herbert. The results have been positive more often than not.
On Sunday, the sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech was arguably the only bright spot on an otherwise miserable afternoon.
Herbert finished the game with 100 rushing yards on only 18 carries. He added 33 yards on five catches and tied tight end Cole Kmet for the most Bears receptions on the day.
What's noteworthy about Herbert's performance is that it came against a Buccaneers defense that has been shutting down the run. Tampa ranks third in rushing yards per attempt allowed and first in rushing yards surrendered.
Coming into Week 7, the Buccaneers had only allowed 100 yards rushing once in a game—last week against the Philadelphia Eagles and dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts. Herbert, meanwhile, has not produced three straight games with at least 75 rushing yards.
Chicago will be happy to have Montgomery back in the fold, but Herbert is quickly proving he has a bright long-term future with this franchise.