LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)The Chicago Bears are reeling after two discouraging losses to start the season. As if things weren’t bad enough for them, look who’s up next.
The Bears are staring at a trip to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
“I think it’s about us,” linebacker Jack Sanborn said Monday. “We got to do our jobs and do it to the best of our ability. It’s the NFL. It’s crazy how this game works, You go in there, cause a few turnovers, get the ball, take advantage of opportunities when they’re given. It’s the NFL.”
Beating the Chiefs is no small task for any team, but it’s a particularly daunting challenge for the Bears given their lackluster start. A 27-17 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday and another rough outing for Justin Fields coming off a discouraging opener against Green Bay at Soldier Field squelched the optimism surrounding the team following a busy offseason.
The Bears’ losing streak is up to 12 in a row since a Monday night win at New England in Week 7 last year. With the Chiefs up next, there’s a good chance it reaches 13.
“We are steadfast, we are straightforward and we are all in this together,” said coach Matt Eberflus, who called plays against the Buccaneers with defensive coordinator Alan Williams missing the game for personal reasons. “So as coaches, players, and we are looking at a great Wednesday practice and looking into Kansas City. That’s what we’re looking at.”
Special teams. The Bears got some big plays from their special teams on Sunday. Rasheem Green put Chicago in prime position early in the second quarter when he blocked Chase McLaughlin’s 40-yard field goal attempt. The Bears took over at midfield, only to squander the opportunity by going three and out. Cairo Santos nailed a 52-yarder with just under two minutes left in the half.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The pass rush. The Bears have just one sack through two games and that was in the opener. The only team with zero is the New York Giants. The Bears had Baker Mayfield in their hands a few times, but were unable to take him down.
Chase Claypool. The receiver redeemed himself at least a little bit after an awful opener. He caught a 20-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to cap a 90-yard drive that cut it to 20-17. Claypool didn’t exactly light it up with three receptions for 36 yards. But it was an improvement over the previous week, when he failed to catch either of the two passes thrown his way and his effort running routes and blocking on the perimeter was so poor it raised the possibility of him being inactive against the Buccaneers.
Fields. The 24-year-old quarterback got off to a terrific start, leading a 75-yard touchdown drive on the Bears’ first possession. But five of their next six possessions ended in punts, with a field goal along the way.
Fields completed six passes on a 90-yard drive that ended with Claypool’s TD. The Bears took over at their 7 with 2:24 remaining. But instead of leading a late scoring drive, the comeback hopes got squashed.
Throwing from the end zone, Fields tried a short pass to Khalil Herbert that was picked off by Shaquil Barrett, who returned the interception 4 yards for a touchdown that sealed the win for Tampa Bay. He threw another interception about a minute later.
Fields’ 70.7 passer rating ranks among the worst in the NFL. He has been sacked 10 times – one shy of the league lead – with six of them coming against Tampa Bay. Though some were on the offensive line, Fields also held onto the ball too long at times.
Eberflus said the reports on S Eddie Jackson (foot) are “still positive,” though the coach was “not sure where that’s going to trend to for this coming week.” Jackson left in the first quarter. … WR Darnell Mooney (bruised knee) said he expects to play this week after exiting in the third against Tampa Bay.
0 – Number of takeaways the Bears have this season. They’ve turned it over four times.
8 – The Buccaneers were 8 of 15 on third downs while owning big advantages in yards (437-236) and time of possession (35:56-24:04).
The Bears visit Kansas City on Sunday.
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