Things were so nice back in Week 3 when the Chicago Bears had a 2-1 record. Most NFL analysts predicted just three wins for Chicago but they already had two under their belts. Things have not gone well since then, however. Sure, they discovered they had a star in the making in Justin Fields. Also, the offense was rolling for the past five weeks, leading the NFL in scoring.
Those things did not result in wins, though. The Bears came into their game against the New York Jets losers of four straight games and seven of their last eight.
Despite looking great during that time, Fields suffered a separated shoulder late in the game against the Atlanta Falcons last week. Because of that injury, Fields was inactive for this week’s game.
That was not the only injury suffered by the Bears against the Falcons, however. Cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker both suffered concussions and were not ready to play.
The injuries meant the Bears were without their top two rushers (Fields and Khalil Herbert, who is on injured reserve) and two starters in the secondary. They were also without Teven Jenkins. Despite being active, the Bears’ coaching staff still didn’t feel he is ready to play.
Then the game began and the bodies really started to pile up. At first, it seemed that backup quarterback Trevor Siemian would go down before taking a snap. He suffered an oblique injury during warmups. He took an injection, though, and when it kicked in he was ready to go.
It seemed that every few minutes someone else went down. Eddie Jackson suffered a non-contact foot injury to wipe out the starting safety unit. additionally, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, defensive back Dane Cruikshank, and offensive lineman Riley Reiff also left the game.
The Jets took advantage of the thin Chicago Bears. They had success both on the ground and in the air. They had their own backup quarterback in Mike White.
He wasn’t in due to an injury, however.
White was there because starter Zach Wilson was struggling mightily. He was only able to lead the Jets to 103 total yards on offense last week against the New England Patriots. He also seemed to not take any responsibility after the game so Jets head coach Robert Saleh not only benched him but made him inactive for the game.
White responded to the start by going 22/28 for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns. He looked confident and it seemed as if his teammates rallied behind him. They all looked more animated and played harder for White.
The Jets also had 158 rushing yards. In fact, they had 466 total yards of offense.
The Chicago Bears offense started out well. Siemian was 6/8 for 116 yards. In addition, wide receiver Chase Claypool, who was acquired right before the trade deadline, made an impact. He had two catches for 51 yards in the opening quarter.
Things went downhill after that, though. Siemian went 8/17 for just 63 yards and a touchdown in the next three quarters. Claypool did not have a catch for the rest of the game.
It was an ugly game both with the play and the injuries. Head coach Matt Eberflus has a tough job of keeping this team’s morale up. Looking at the schedule and having all the injuries happen, it will only get rougher going forward.
The big question now is whether Fields should come back this season. He likely does, but some would say that it is an unnecessary risk. This was not one that could protect Fields when completely healthy (the Chicago Bears were second in the league in giving up sacks) so with the line banged up and now the best wide receiver dealing with an injury (he hurt his ankle and needed help to get off the field) things will not get better.
Eberflus will instill the “Next man up” mentality in the players. There will be more players who will get looks they wouldn’t if there weren’t so many injuries. Will Fields be the one to lead them?