At some point on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field…
In front of Chicago Bears fans and nostalgia people who eventually bolted early to the heat of their cars…
Between Andy Dalton’s first and fourth interceptions between Bears quarterback…
In the middle of the Bears’ sixth loss in seven games, a 33-22 blowout against the Arizona Cardinals…
The Bears’ headsets went off, completing play calls from offensive coordinator Bill Ledger to Dalton.
As the 4-8 Bears, who were lacking many of their best players, needed more issues to deal with, Bears coach Matt Nagy on the sidelines yelling a play call from the laser into the coach box for Dalton on the field. Were.
“Like high school,” Nagy said of the situation before receiving a walkie-talkie, which allowed her to relay calls from the laser to Dalton’s headset. He said it was the second time in two games at Soldier Field that Negi had mentioned a headset issue, and it lasted for most of the second half.
“We handled it well from the situation it was in,” Dalton said. “But you want the headset to work all the time.”
It was that kind of sad day for the Bears—one that almost everyone saw coming against the team with the best record in the NFL, all but equal.
While the 10-2 Cardinals brought back quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from injuries, the Bears filled in Dalton for injured quarterback Justin Fields, throwing a receiving core that was missing Alan Robinson and Marquis Goodwin. . Fields’ absence – not being medically cleared to return from a broken rib – made this season a far less compelling game for Bear fans already looking into the future.
The Bears had some success taking David Montgomery’s 90 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards to the back. Dalton completed 26 of 41 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
The problem, of course, was the four picks, which resulted in three Cardinals touchdowns and one field goal. It was the fifth four-interception game of Dalton’s career and the first time a Bears quarterback has thrown four picks in a game since Matt Barkley had five in 2016.
Another telling stat?
“I had two tackles today,” Dalton said. “Unfortunately.”
Trying to end Budda Baker’s 77-yard return on the Cardinals’ second pick, Dalton injured his left, non-throwing hand while making a tackle.
Safety Jalen Thompson made the first interception on the Bears’ first drive when Dalton’s pass jumped off wide receiver Jackiem Grant’s hand. The Cardinals scored 2 minutes, 40 seconds later on a 20-yard pass for Murray’s Hopkins.
“I left it a little high and a little back,” Dalton said. “What is unfortunate in this league is that tipped balls don’t usually hit the ground. They usually find the other team’s hands. We saw it three times today.”
Baker’s interception came on the Bears’ second drive when tight end Cole Kemet had the football, but lost it when he rolled backwards. Murray scored a 9-yard run after a five-play drive.
“We had a few drops collectively,” Kemet said. “Mine, I thought, set the tone for the rest of the game, so I put it to myself.
“The ball is wet and just slips, and you have to be able to focus more on what you’re going to do after the ball and catch the ball. I just have to get better about it.”
Dalton’s third interception came when Chandler Jones passed Kemet to tip a pass, and Byron Murphy Jr. easily jumped in front of him.
Cardinals defensive lineman Zack Allen had an out-handed catch for the fourth pick, jumping in front of a screen pass to Montgomery, which Dalton thought he had, with an interrupted view. Murray took a 33–14 lead after two plays in a run of 3 yards.
Small fields proved too much for a Bears defense for the Cardinals missing Khalil Mack and Akim Hicks and have continued to question in the secondary.
“Andy has done a great job in his career of being smart with football,” said Nagy. “He’s very smart. He knows where to go. He knows when to dismiss the football. There’s no stat in the NFL for interceptions that aren’t on quarterbacks, but maybe there should be.
“(Dalton) wants to get us in good shape and position, and he tried today. It’s unfortunate that the turnover happened. It’s part of football. But he kept fighting. He fought the whole game, and he’s got these guys.” He was a leader with. He never stopped fighting, and you have to give him a lot of credit for that.”
Dalton’s performance in place of Fields—including the Bears’ only win over the past eight weeks against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving—certainly means a lot to the 11th year old NFL veteran, who is on a one-year deal and has Trying to prove he is still a quality starter.
And a better performance against the Cardinals amid bad weather, the decline of their teammates and headset issues probably would have helped the morale of the team and City.
But in the grand scheme of things, evaluating Fields’ development in the midst of this losing season would have made Sunday’s game worthwhile. Fields, set to head to Bears Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football,” will be closely watched after being limited in practice last week.
Fields may not be able to put an end to the misery, but he can at least gain experience for whatever lies ahead for the Bears.
“The only thing we can do is to keep fighting and be together,” Negi said. “I know it might sound old. I know it might sound boring. I caught you.”
“But when you’re in these moments, when you’re in that locker room together and you’re fighting together… that’s all we can do, no matter what we’re playing.”