3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 13 Loss

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 6, 2021

3 Takeaways from Bears' Week 13 Loss

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    No team has been mathematically eliminated from the NFC playoff race through the first 13 weeks of the 2021 NFL season. However, some are looking much better than others in their pursuits of division titles or wild-card berths.

    The Chicago Bears have not been looking great. And that didn't change Sunday afternoon.

    In a challenging matchup, the Bears lost 33-22 to the Arizona Cardinals at a rainy Soldier Field, marking their sixth defeat in the past seven games. Chicago couldn't build any momentum from its Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions and consequently dropped to 4-8.

    The Cardinals built a 14-point lead by the end of the first quarter, and the Bears couldn't make things close in the second half. Chicago trailed by at least 10 points for all of the final 35 minutes and 40 seconds.

    Here are three takeaways from the Bears' Week 13 loss.

The Offense Made Things Tougher for the Defense

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Bears committed four turnovers, all of which were interceptions thrown by quarterback Andy Dalton, who was starting in place of the injured Justin Fields for the second successive game. The first two of Dalton's picks put Chicago in a difficult position right from the start.

    Dalton was intercepted on each of the Bears' first two drives, giving the Cardinals offense a short field on their opening possessions. Arizona capitalized on the turnovers by scoring a touchdown on each of its ensuing drives, needing to go only 28 and 15 yards to get to the end zone.

    In the second half, Dalton threw two more interceptions, both of which led to more Cardinals points. They went 21 yards and kicked a field goal on one and only 12 yards for a touchdown on the other.

    "You can't turn the ball over is what it comes down to," Dalton said, per Gene Chamberlain of the Associated Press. "We moved the ball really well today at times, and we've just got to do that more consistently. We can't give them more opportunities and give them short fields."

    Chicago's defense was rarely put in a position to succeed, which Dalton and the offense can't continue to do. It's why Arizona scored 33 points despite having only 257 total yards and 14 first downs and possessing the ball for just 25:15.

Montgomery Gets Going, Provides Bright Spot

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    David Banks/Associated Press

    Although there weren't a ton of positives for the Bears to take away from Sunday's loss, they can be impressed by the play of running back David Montgomery. Even when Chicago struggles, Montgomery can come though with strong performances.

    On Sunday, Montgomery rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown, his first since Week 4, while also notching a season-high eight receptions for 51 yards. He might have gotten into the end zone even more if so many of the Bears' drives hadn't ended with Dalton interceptions.

    "I thought it was great to get David going," Chicago head coach Matt Nagy said, per Larry Mayer of the team's official site. "That was an emphasis for us; we [wanted] to come in and get him going a little bit more this game, be it the run and the pass."

    Montgomery hasn't had his best season, as he missed some time with a knee injury and hadn't put up huge numbers since returning in November. But Sunday was a reminder of what Montgomery is capable of, and he should provide plenty more performances like it in the future.

More Struggles Could Come over the Final 5 Weeks

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The Bears are only two games back of the San Francisco 49ers, who are 6-6 and in the No. 7 spot (the third and final wild-card position) in the NFC. If Chicago gets hot down the stretch, it could still push its way into the postseason.

    However, that seems unlikely because of the Bears' recent play. It seems even less plausible when considering the teams they have to play in their final five games.

    In Week 14, Chicago plays the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers. It also still has a pair of divisional matchups against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears will also play the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants, and neither of those matchups is an easy win, especially with how they have been playing of late.

    Chicago fans' frustration with Nagy seems to be growing. If the Bears struggle the rest of the way, perhaps his time as the head coach will end following the season.

    While it's not clear whether that will be the case, it sure seems like the Bears will have a tough time getting back on course before the end of the regular season.

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