Bears Report Card: When Pat O'Donnell Is the Star You're in Trouble

Punter Pat O'Donnell let the Bears escape some early holes or the scoreboard would have better reflected how ugly this effort was by the team across the board
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Pointing fingers at the offense for every Bears problem in Monday night's 24-10 loss to the L.A. Rams is an oversimplification.

There was actually plenty of blame for everyone to share.

The defense absorbed physical punishment and caved in about the same time the offense reached a new depth of futility.

The third-down dominance the defense displayed all year seemed to vanish as the Rams were able to extend drives and stay on the field.

The offensive line provides little time for Nick Foles to throw, or it seems for Foles to even execute plays Matt Nagy is calling if ESPN's Brian Griese is to be believed.

Punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. doesn't seem to know when to field a ball or when to let it hit. 

Maybe it's time for self-appointed "GM" Cordarrelle Patterson to make some trades or sign someone via Twitter.

Where the Bears go now seems to depend greatly on whether they can find the running game they had early in the season to serve as the key to starting up their attack.

Here are the grades from a game when the grades all seem too obvious.

Running Game: F

A 49-yard game included only 20 yards in the first half when the outcome was still in doubt. This underscored how feeble the running attack has become. They're averaging 43.5 yards rushing now over the last four games. David Montgomery did have a few large holes on some of his runs early in the game but seemed hesitant and by the time he began to run the defense had closed. Perhaps it was simply the shock of seeing open running room in front of him. The difficulty they experienced was entirely predictable with Rashaad Coward at left guard with Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald blowing up plays, and when Cody Whitehair went out with an injury it called into doubt whether they'd be able to run against New Orleans this week, as well.

Passing Game: F

Four sacks, two interceptions and a passer rating by Nick Foles of 66.8 left the Bears without a way reach the end zone. They actually had gains of 42 yards by Allen Robinson and 38 by Cole Kmet, but the other receivers couldn't get open for any measurable yardage. Anthony Miller had three catches for 20 yards and Darnell Mooney did make a 19-yard catch and got open twice more on passes that were off the mark. Foles' confidence appears to be waning and that little exchange with ESPN commentator Brian Griese might mean nothing or could be the tip of the ice berg waiting to sink the Titanic.

Run Defense: F

The Rams blocked and their ball carriers ran hard, delivering a full load of physical punishment to Bears would-be tacklers. They were able to run it 34 times. It takes the Bears offense two full games to reach a total like that. They had four different ball carriers long runs in double figures. The Bears offense barely has four long runs in double figures. Period. The ultimate embarrassment was Malcolm Brown scoring with a full scrum of defenders not only because of how bad this looked but it got Khalil Mack injured. The one positive was they eventually defended the jet sweep and it resulted in a touchdown for Eddie Jackson, long after it could have meant anything.

Pass Defense: D-

Early in the game they had nice push inside from Akiem Hicks to get in Jared Goff's face but this quickly faded after a roughing-the-passer penalty on Hicks. Mack made a strip sack and they managed to at least keep the passing attack off balance, but the way the Rams moved around Goff seemed to catch the Bears secondary by surprise and the pass rush eventually faded or wasn't necessary as the Rams kept throwing short and running. The Bears' strength on third down wasn't a factor because the Rams didn't even need third downs to reach the end zone.

Special Teams: D

A 42-yard Cairo Santos field goal kept the Bears in the game in the first half, but the offense started from their own 16 for an average starting point and the Rams from their own 34. The lack of an adequate punt returner helped to force the Bears to start drives from their own 10, 1, 6, 7 and 5 during the game after Johnny Hekker punts. Patterson couldn't find room to break kick returns, averaging 23.5 yards on four tries with a long of 28. He may need to fall back on his career as a GM. Only Pat O'Donnell's two punts inside the 20 and a 47.6-yard average kept this from being a special teams shutout.

Coaching: F

The movement by the Rams of quarterback Jared Goff in and out of the pocket seemed to catch Chuck Pagano's defense off guard. The Bears talked all week about the motion problems the Rams cause with receivers, and the Rams showed a different type of movement. Then, when the receivers and backs started going in motion the defense acted like they'd never seen this before. They finally adjusted in the late second half, but by then it was too late. What's going on between Nagy and his quarterback in terms of having time to execute plays only they or Brian Griese know, but they do wind up taking too many timeouts in games to sort things out. It happened several times again Monday. You have to wonder what good the decision to go out to California for two days did. Sitting around all day on Monday before the game is bad enough but making the Bears do it since Saturday afternoon seemed rather silly.

Overall:  F

They have only six days to be ready to reverse very alarming, deep-seeded trends but judging from the postgame press conferences there appears to be no clue how to do it.

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