The only thing worse than the field conditions on Sunday was the play of the Chicago Bears against the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears went down early to Arizona and never recovered, losing 33-22, dropping them to 4-8 on the season and all-but-out of the playoff hunt.
It wasn’t a great day for Andy Dalton, who threw four interceptions on the day. On the other side, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins returned from injury and immediately made their presence known by hooking up for a touchdown. It was all Cardinals from then on as they maintained their NFL-best 10-2 record.
There were many different players who had some standout performances, while others were about as messy as the weather conditions. Here are this week’s studs and duds.
STUD: RB David Montgomery
AP Photo/David Banks
For much of the afternoon, David Montgomery was the only offensive player able to do much of anything. He looked like his early-season self prior to his knee injury, notching his best performance since Week 4 against the Detroit Lions.
Montgomery gashed the Cardinals defense for 90 yards on 20 carries. He also caught eight passes for 51 yards. In addition to the yardage, Montgomery found the endzone for the first time since week four as well.
The offense ran well when No. 32 was the focal point, but as the game wore on and the Bears were still down, the run game disappeared. Still, it shows how valuable Montgomery is to this offense’s success.
DUD: QB Andy Dalton
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Andy Dalton’s first three starts of the season were pretty uninspiring, yet fairly safe. His fourth was an absolute roller coaster. Dalton threw two touchdowns on the day, but turned the ball over four times that led to three Cardinal touchdowns and a field goal. The weather conditions weren’t favorable to quarterbacks as the rain led to bad snaps, poor grips, and drops by the receivers.
Not all of Dalton’s interceptions were on him, but three of the four were easily his fault. He failed to recognize when defenders were dropping back into coverage, had passes tipped at the line of scrimmage, and threw into triple or quadruple coverage at times. Though he had a couple of nice throws, it was a forgettable day for the veteran passer and fans are hoping Justin Fields can return to the starting lineup next week in Green Bay.
STUD: WR Jakeem Grant
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With Allen Robinson and Marquise Goodwin both out due to injury, one of the Bears receivers needed to step up and that was Jakeem Grant. The return specialist who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins earlier in the season, has seen more plays at the receiver position as injuries mounted. He made the most of his snaps with his best game at the position as a Bear.
Grant caught five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, leading the team in receiving yards on the day. He was the recipient of a fake play that nearly went awry, and caught the game’s final score on a fourth-down strike from Dalton. He hasn’t been the electric returner the team was looking for, but he’s showing up more and more in the offense as the season starts to wind down.
DUD: CB Xavier Crawford
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Two weeks ago, it’s Kindle Vildor. Last week, it’s Artie Burns. Now, Xavier Crawford is the latest Bears cornerback to have himself a rough day in the secondary.
Crawford saw more action than usual given the struggles of Burns and Vildor, while Jaylon Johnson was dealing with injury issues and didn’t do anything to show he can be a viable option. He notably whiffed on an easy tackle against Cardinals running back James Conner, leading to a touchdown. He also was tagged for a clear pass interference penalty on a crucial third down that kept the drive alive. He did post two total tackles but Crawford was a liability against the Cardinals offense.
STUD: ILB Roquan Smith
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
It’s going to take a lot to slow down Roquan Smith. Despite suffering a hamstring injury in last week’s win over the Lions, Smith powered through practice and was active for this game. He showed he can still be impactful with a flat tire, totaling eight tackles on the day, one of which went for a loss.
He had a tough assignment trying to contain Kyler Murray, but he did well reading the quarterback and limiting the damage on the ground. Smith continues to show he’s one of the top linebackers in the game, healthy or not, and deserves to be named to the Pro Bowl roster when those honors are announced.
DUD: C Sam Mustipher
AP Photo/Duane Burleson
The most important job that a center in the National Football League has is to successfully snap the football to his quarterback. It doesn’t appear Sam Mustipher has mastered that skill yet, judging his play on Sunday.
Mustipher had a rough day in the rain, botching multiple snaps on the day and would have fumbled another away had a penalty not been called. The exchanges between him and Dalton weren’t clean for much of the day as he was bouncing balls off his leg, killing plays before they even started.
His blocking has been suspect at times as well, but if you can’t consistently snap a ball correctly, that’s a bigger red flag in my opinion.
STUD: OLB Robert Quinn
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He may not have continued his impressive sack streak this week, but Robert Quinn continues to show up everywhere on the field. Quinn had three total tackles on the day, two of which went for a loss. His most impactful play of the day came on a third and goal when he stuffed Conner in the backfield to put the stamp on a goal line stand, forcing the Cardinals to kick a chip-shot field goal.
Though that stand didn’t matter in the long run, Quinn is showing he can do it all, whether it’s rushing the quarterback or defending the run. Like Smith, Quinn is absolutely deserving of Pro Bowl honors this season.
DUD: Soldier Field turf
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Let’s be honest, we all have low expectations for the Soldier Field turf, but even this was pretty ridiculous. In poor weather conditions, the field looked like a disaster and it was evident while watching the game.
Players were slipping all over the place while looking like they were trying to guard against falling while running in open space. Both teams were affected by the sloppy conditions and in a game full of poor performers, the turf monster stands above the rest.