The Bears' 19-11 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at Soldier Field highlighted some of the issues that have plagued the team all season.
The team started slow, scoring only three points in the first three quarters. The offense struggled to convert on third downs, going 4-for-14. In the immediate aftermath, receiver Allen Robinson II diagnosed the problems that doomed the Bears on Sunday.
"We had too many negative plays on first and second down," said Robinson. "That's the first thing that comes to my mind—starting drives second-and-19, second-and-15. Same with field position as well. But we have to be able to adjust to all that. It's not always going to be perfect. You're not always going to be put in the best situation, but we have to continue to make plays, continue to string plays and drives together and finish it."
The passing game came alive briefly in the fourth quarter, but this time it came too late for the Bears to replicate the magic that led to wins against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.
The Colts were able to stymie quarterback Nick Foles in his first start for the Bears. Foles finished the day having completed 26 of 42 attempts for 249 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"They were a team that played a lot of zone," said Robinson. "We're getting a lot of two high safeties, and stuff like that, which is more tough to pass against, when you have two high safeties. For us, we have to just figure out how to be able to get the run game going to help us out a little bit, so we try and get some single high and be able to pass the ball a little bit more efficiently."
Despite their best efforts, the run game never got going against the Colts. The Bears only managed 28 yards on the ground, with running backs David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson finding themselves surrounded by defenders by the time they reached the line of scrimmage.
Montgomery averaged 2.7 yards per carry. His longest run of the day went for six yards and came in the fourth quarter.
"The Colts defense by scheme and structure is to try and keep everything in front of them," said Robinson. "We kind of let them do that. We didn't have many explosive plays, especially early in the game. We didn't have any explosive runs. We didn't have many explosive passes, maybe one or two. With a team like that, you have to be able to threaten them to get them out of their comfort zone."
Tough breaks: Linebacker Roquan Smith turned in a strong performance with 13 tackles. In his three seasons with the Bears, the former first-round pick has finished with double-digit tackles in 12 games.
Smith's aggressive play resulted in three tackles-for-loss. Smith is the fourth defender since 2018 to record 13 tackles and three TFLs in the same game.
Smith nearly put an exclamation mark on his day when he caught a tipped Philip Rivers pass in the end zone in the second quarter. The Bears' lousy luck with booth reviews continued when it was ruled that Smith's left foot was out of bounds before he made the catch.
"My foot was out of bounds," said Smith, "so it wasn't good enough just covering the back," said Smith. "It was a tipped ball. Good play by [safety Tashaun Gipson Sr.]. Next time, I just have to come down with that."
Bright Spot: The Bears managed one scoring drive in the fourth quarter, punctuated by back-to-back catches by Robinson.
On the first play after the two-minute warning, Foles found Robinson over the middle for a gain of 22 yards. On the next play, Foles went back to Robinson, this time in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.
Robinson joked that the play made up for a controversial call last week when a play that had been ruled a touchdown reception was overturned and ruled an interception.
"Nick just gave me a shot," said Robinson, "and I was able to go up and make a play. I was saying to him on the sideline, our sideline, that, 'Just give me a shot, and I'll go up and make a play.' I kinda joked with Nick after last week that I owed him one. I was able to get that one back for him."
Robinson finished the game with 101 yards on seven catches. It was Robinson's 14th career game with more than 100 receiving yards. He also crossed a milestone in the second quarter, crossing 5,000 career receiving yards.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Colts at home in Chicago, Illinois.