Bears grades: The defense is no longer dependable


CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- If there was any good news from Sunday, it’s that everyone’s Halloween-related ledes will definitely play. There was plenty of spooky stuff happening at Soldier Field during the Bears’ 33-22 loss to the 49ers, though perhaps nothing was scarier than the turf’s condition on a mostly sunny, 55-degree day in October. The Bears let a winnable game slip through their hands and now sit two games under .500 at 3-5 and four games back in the NFC North of the division-leading Packers. Let’s get into some grades from Sunday.

Offense: B-
There's still plenty of work for the Bears to do offensively, but a game with a few exciting moments is certainly better than a game with none. The most encouraging development to come out of Sunday was how much more comfortable rookie quarterback Justin Fields looked. He finished 19-of-27 for 175 yards, which was plenty serviceable in its own right. That being said, it was the plays he made with his legs that really stood out. It wasn’t his most impressive play of the game (that would be his incredible and chaotic fourth-quarter touchdown run) but opening the second quarter by scrambling to beat San Francisco stud linebacker Fred Warner – who had a good angle – to the edge en route to a first down and nine extra yards on third-and-1 is the type of play that showcased how great Fields can really be for this offense. Once again, the Bears aren't going to be thrilled with their red-zone production. Going 8-of-15 on third downs, only to kick field goals on three of their seven possessions, is a tough look. The Bears' two longest drives of the game, a combined 29 plays, only netted them six points. The passing offense was still, politely put, sluggish. The Bears’ leading pass catcher? Darnell Mooney, who only had six catches for 64yards. Allen Robinson and Cole Kmet had six catches and 45 yards combined. Larry Borom had a better first run at right tackle than Lachavious Simmons did, and we’ll just leave it at that.

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Defense: D+ 
Apparently the Bears’ defense relies quite a bit on Khalil Mack. It’s also apparently now a defense that gives up 21 points in the final 21 minutes and allows 30 points in back-to-back games. The team’s pass rush, which came into Week 9 leading NFL in sacks, didn’t get to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (17-of-28 for 322 yards) once Sunday. Instead, Garoppolo had all the time in the world to sit back in a clean pocket and find his scrambling receivers, which he did on multiple occasions. And we don’t have to talk about the 49ers' 84-yard screen pass on third-and-19, right? We’re all on the same page about that one? It was also another game in which the Bears defense failed to force a turnover, which marked the third time in six games that has happened. Losing Eddie Jackson to a hamstring injury on the first drive of the game, only to have a sure-thing interception go through the hands of Teez Tabor a few plays later, sort of muddies the Jackson narrative that everyone has been pushing this season. His absence did open the door for another strong performance from DeAndre Houston-Carson, who has made a strong case for more playing time over the last month or so. Given Jakson’s injury, that might be in store.

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Special teams: A-
Poor Cairo Santos. The guy doesn’t miss literally anything for more than a year and then, in the immediate aftermath of one of the most exciting Bears’ plays in years, he misses an extra point that would've tied the game. And he still scored 10 of the Bears' 22 points! The missed chip shot didn’t ultimately matter, and his field goal streak is still alive and well thanks to some conservative red-zone coaching.

Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports