CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears weren’t exactly beating their opponents in convincing fashion even when they were piling up the victories.
Now, the losses are starting to add up. And so is the frustration.
The NFL suspended receiver Javon Wims two games Monday for punching New Orleans Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. He was ejected in the third quarter Sunday after Allen Robinson caught a 5-yard pass from Nick Foles on the other side of the field.
Bears coach Matt Nagy said Wims was “apologetic” when they spoke Monday and understands “you can’t do what he did.” But Nagy would not say what led to the altercation.
“Obviously out of respect I’m going to keep that between us and internally,” he said.
The Bears (5-3), meanwhile, have dropped two in a row. They rallied from 10 down against New Orleans in the closing minutes of regulation, only to lose when Wil Lutz nailed a 35-yard field goal for the Saints in OT.
Though they made several big plays and their run game started to show a spark, the Bears still have big issues on offense. The defense gave up a touchdown at the end of the first half, cutting a 10-point lead to three and energizing the Saints.
The kicking game. Cairo Santos is starting to give the Bears the stability they have lacked since they cut Robbie Gould just before the 2016 season. The veteran is 14 of 16 on field goals this season. And he came up big at the end of regulation against New Orleans, nailing a 51-yarder to send the game to overtime.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offensive line. The Bears could be down three starters on the line, after center Cody Whitehair (groin) missed Sunday’s game and right tackle Bobby Massie (knee) left on Chicago’s first possession. They were already without left guard James Daniels, who suffered a pectoral injury in a Week 5 win over Tampa Bay that will likely keep him out for the remainder of the season.
The injuries and lack of continuity on the line are complicating matters as the Bears try to get some production on offense. Chicago ranked 29th in total yards per game and 31st in rushing through Sunday.
“I will say this,” Nagy said. “Yesterday, I thought there was an improvement with the run game in particular.”
The Bears had 96 yards rushing Sunday after four straight games with 63 or fewer.
WR Darnell Mooney. The fifth-round draft pick from Tulane had a 50-yard reception down the middle in the second quarter. He also caught a 3-yard touchdown to cut it to 23-20 with 3:32 left in regulation. Mooney set a career high with 69 yards and matched one with five receptions.
Wims. Nagy obviously was not happy with Wims. He was also taken aback.
“Just knowing who Javon Wims as a person, a high-character guy, that’s the part that I thought was surprising,” Nagy said.
The fight happened after a 5-yard, first-down pass from Nick Foles to Allen Robinson. On the other side of the field, Wims approached Gardner-Johnson from behind and appeared to reach for his mouth or neck. He threw a right-handed punch to his helmet and then another before both teams joined the scrum, and he wound up at the bottom of a pile.
The penalty against Wims pushed the Bears back to a second-and-20. And Foles got intercepted by Marshon Lattimore on the next play.
“It’s probably an emotional game,” Mooney said. “But I mean I love him. Whatever happens throughout this time, hopefully, it’s a positive act and we can figure out what went on in that situation and we can move forward.”
Besides Massie, DE Roy Robertson-Harris (shoulder) and DT John Jenkins (ankle) left Sunday’s game.
49-7 — That’s how badly the Bears have been outscored in the third quarter this season. And they had another rough one on Sunday, with just 43 yards even though they got the kickoff to start the second half.
The Bears will try to stop their slide when they visit AFC South co-leader Tennessee on Sunday.
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