Hub Arkush’s film review: Not overly impressive, but win No. 8 all that matters to Bears
There was very little in my review of the Bears’ 23-16 Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions that wasn’t apparent at first glance.
Matt Nagy said back at Halas Hall on Friday, “I thought, starting with the defense, I thought they, just like we saw last night, they made plays when they needed to.
“Offensively, I thought that what I felt in the game was what I ended up seeing on tape. We were efficient at times, but there were sometimes when the timing was off a little bit.”
For the better part of the early afternoon in Detroit, the Bears looked like a tired football team, going through the motions and doing the best they could at times on defense while the offense struggled to execute behind its backup quarterback who had little or no actual solid practice reps to prepare for his first start since 2014.
Chase Daniel was a solid B, successfully completing the holy trinity of backup quarterbacking: 1 - Take care of the football, 2 - Don’t try to do too much and 3 – Win the football game.
But let’s not kid ourselves. The Bears’ 264 yards of total offense was their second-worst performance of the year, behind only the 190-yard day in Buffalo, and as is their habit, the offense was much weaker in the second half than the first. Fatigue certainly could have been a factor limiting them to 103 total yards, but the Lions’ ‘D’ should have been just as tired, and Chicago’s 23 points tied its second-lowest output of the season.
Bears running backs get an incomplete for the game, with Nagy only handing them the ball 11 times total between Jordan Howard (7), Tarik Cohen (3) and Taquan Mizzell (1), and 13 more targets in the passing game resulting in 10-68-2 receiving.
Nagy told us Friday, “So this’ll be, this will be a really good time for myself to step back here in these next several days and jump on in there and figure out, let’s get this running game going a little bit.”
Wideouts were also a solid B, catching 13 of the 17 balls they were targeted with, led by Taylor Gabriel, who had a B+ kind of day, catching seven of his eight targets. But Trey Burton was the only tight end to catch a pass, and he had a particularly rough day with a couple of drops and a costly penalty.
Anything more than a b for the tight ends would be fake news.
The offensive line apparently can’t block the run on the rare occasions they are allowed to try, and while pass protection has been pretty good, it was pretty average Thursday in front of Daniel, who is not as athletic as Mitch Trubisky.
Give the O-line a C+.
The defense was pretty good again, but it wore down in the second half, allowing 223 of the 333 yards it gave up on the day.
Everybody was a B to a B+, with the exceptions of Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller, who each earned an A-.
The one consistent fault on defense — again possibly from fatigue — is nobody could tackle LeGarrette Blount solo.
Roquan Smith is really coming on vs. the run, getting better every week, but contrary to what was supposed to be a strength in his Georgia scouting report, he continues to struggle in pass coverage.
Akiem Hicks is no longer the best-kept secret in the league, with a solid game in Detroit after a huge one Sunday night vs. the Vikings, but Eddie Goldman isn’t getting nearly enough press after another B+, maybe even A- game against the Lions.
Special Teams were a B as Cody Parkey hit all three of his kicks, Patrick O’Donnell got three of his five punts down inside the 20, kick coverage was OK and Tarik Cohen did a nice job returning punts.
At the end of Thanksgiving Day, the Bears won a game they should have because they were the better, more talented team, and even in one of their less impressive performances, Jackson made a play to make the difference.