Analysis Bears Opinion

What Happened to the Bears Defense in the Second Half Against the Packers?

The Chicago Bears defense was a different unit in the second half on Sunday night. Find out what went wrong here.

The Chicago Bears started off the 2018 season with a rough, rough loss. In a game where they led 17-0 at halftime, the Bears fell to the Green Bay Packers 24-23.

Aaron Rodgers had one of the best performances you’ll ever see out of a quarterback on a bad knee. It was a story of two halves for the Bears – the first being the better of the two. There’s a reseason it’s not easy to win football games in the NFL.

After a dominant performance in the first half, the Bears defense was beaten badly by Rodgers and the Packers’ up-tempo offense in the third and fourth quarter.

Here, I hope to explore the Bears defense and attempt to figure out what happened in the second half on Sunday night.

Khalil Mack 

Sorry, I couldn’t help, but talk about Khalil Mack after re-watching Sunday’s game. He’s dominant. After a sack, fumble recovery, and a pick-six that should be obvious. I’m actually going to leave those plays out of this film breakdown.

Instead, I want to touch on an underrated play that some may have missed.

On the play below, Mack doesn’t record a sack, but he is disruptive enough to force Rodgers to step up and try to run for the first down. This is a play that may go unnoticed. However, this is what Mack will bring. He is an effective football player by just being on the field.

That’s what stars do.

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Quick Throws 

Let’s get into the second half. This is where the Packers coaching staff made adjustments, while the Bears did not. That was even more obvious after re-watching Sunday night’s collapse. The Packers wisely decided to get the ball out quickly in the second half, which gave the Bears defense trouble.

On the play below, you can see something the Packers have perfected over the years: the quick slant.

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This happens so fast that the Bears pass rushers don’t have any shot at Rodgers. Again, Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin deserve credit for their adjustments at halftime.

Below, we can see another quick slant run by the Packers offense.

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Nick Kwiatkowski in coverage 

Roquan Smith played just eight snaps against the Packers. It was clear that the Bears wanted to ease him into things. Considering the time he missed in training camp and minor hamstring injury he had been battling that made sense.

With that being said, it may have been one of the reasons the Bears couldn’t stop Rodgers in the second half.

Nick Kwiatkowski is a solid player, just not in coverage. That’s exactly what he was asked to do on Sunday. It’s safe to say his expanded role didn’t go well.

Basically, every time Kwiatkowski was targeted he gave up a catch, and then a big chunk of yards afterward.

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The play above was, unfortunately, one of the best No. 44 made all night. The bottom line is Smith needs to be the starter next week for this very reason. He should also be on the field, along with Danny Trevathan in obvious passing situations.


75-yard mistake 

Randall Cobb scored a 75-yard touchdown on a quick slant…that’s called poor execution. When I saw this play live, my initial thought was to blame Vic Fangio. After a closer look, I have changed my mind completely.

Every player is doing their job, which is obvious from the picture above. One player does stop moving for a second though and it may have cost the Bears the football game.

Safety Eddie Jackson stopped moving for a split second, which allowed Rodgers to throw a laser to Cobb for the go-ahead score.

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If Jackson anticipated a throw, he may have got there in time to break up the pass and maybe even intercept Rodgers. Football is really a game of inches. Being in cover one against Rodgers isn’t ideal, but the Bears, outside of Jackson, did the right thing on this play.

Other Notes 

  • Kyle Fuller had a rough game on Sunday. He let up a big touchdown and dropped an interception that would have won the game for the Bears. He needs to bounce back quickly against the Seattle Seahawks, as Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett won’t be easy covers. 
  • On just eight snaps, Roquan Smith made three tackles and recorded a sack. He should be on the field more on Monday night. 
  • In game adjustments need to better for the entire coaching staff, which includes Fangio. 

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Nick is the editor-in-chief at & owner of He also is a fantasy sports junkie, DFS player, and prop play guru. He considers himself a football expert but dabbles in a bit of everything, including trying to sell his own "soul" on eBay. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS. 

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