Chicago Bears 2021 Season Recap

Chicago Bears 2021 Season Recap

by January 12, 2022 0 comments

After making the playoffs in 2020, the Chicago Bears decided it was time to move on from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. They signed Andy Dalton to replace him and many fans were left disappointed. Then Ryan Pace made a huge move during the 2021 NFL Draft, trading up for Justin Fields. For the next several months, Bears fans were ecstatic to get the season going with their new quarterback.

The Bears were able to get off to a decent start this season, going 3-2 in their first five games. After a big win on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders, things went downhill fast. They ended up going 1-8 over their next nine games and there were several games where the offense and defense just looked miserable. They ended up finishing the season with a 6-11 record which, resulted in Matt Nagy and Pace being fired.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Season Recaps.

What Went Right

Despite the miserable coaching all season, Bears fans are left with hope. That is in large part because of Fields. He showed many flashes of a potential superstar quarterback. Fields showed his most potential in two different games. One of those was against the San Francisco 49ers and another against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made several plays in those games that left Bears fans thinking “wow the Bears got their guy.”

Other than Fields, the Bears have some key pieces on offense that had a good season. Despite having three different quarterbacks throw to him this season, Darnell Mooney was able to have his first 1,000-yard receiving season, ending the year with 1,055 yards. Running backs David Montgomery and rookie Khalil Herbert showed flashes and will be a very good combo next season. The defense struggled at times, but Robert Quinn had an excellent season. Pairing him with Khalil Mack, who was hurt most of this season, will be a great combo if they are both healthy next year.

What Went Wrong

Just about everything that could go wrong for Chicago went wrong. Mack, who was expected to have a big season, only played seven games. Outside of Jaylon Johnson, the Bears struggled in the secondary. Jimmy Graham, who made $7 million this season, had 14 receptions all season. They also spent $10 million on Dalton, who threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns. He looked worse than Nick Foles, who the Bears were paying millions of dollars to be their third-string. It’s safe to say the Bears had plenty of reasoning behind the firing of Pace and Nagy.

Team Award Winners

MVP – Robert Quinn

Two years ago, Quinn was signed to a five-year $70 million contract. After the first season, it was looking like a bad move as he only recorded two sacks. This year, Quinn totally changed that narrative. He was consistently in the opposing team’s backfield and looked like the guy the Bears spent big money on. He ended the season as the Bear’s single-season record holder for sacks in a season with 18.5.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Larry Borom

The Bears went heavy on drafting offense in the 2021 NFL Draft. Fields definitely showed flashes but he also struggled in his rookie season. Therefore, Borom takes the rookie of the year honor. He was drafted in the fifth round and he should be a starting tackle in 2022. To open the year, he was the backup left tackle and was thrown into the fire after Jason Peters got hurt. Borom filled in for about a quarter before also getting hurt, keeping him out for the next seven weeks. However, after getting healthy he looked very solid, allowing only five sacks, and was excellent at run blocking.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Thomas Graham Jr

The Bears only drafted two defensive players in 2021. Khyiris Tonga, a seventh-round defensive tackle, and Graham a cornerback out of Oregon in the sixth round. Graham only played four games, but he was impressive when he got his shot. He deflected four passes and showed some good closeout speed tackling on the outside. After his first game on Monday Night Football, Graham had many people wondering why he wasn’t playing the entire season. Graham will have his shot to be a key part of the Bears’ defense in 2022.

Biggest Surprise – Trevis Gipson

Gipson was a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and played very little during his rookie season. The Mack injury opened the door this year, and Gipson flashed some signs of what he could become. He ended the season with seven sacks despite only starting nine games. Furthermore, he had five forced fumbles which led the team. Gipson’s emergence could lead to the new general manager potentially finding a trade partner for Mack or Quinn. If they choose to keep them both then Gipson as the third pass rusher will make a very good trio for the Bears next season.

Biggest Disappointment – Allen Robinson

Going into the season there was a lot of talk about Robinson and a contract extension. Bears fans were really pushing for it but the team never seem interested. They decided to go the franchise tag route which cost $17.8 million for the season. Robinson did not play like a $17 million receiver. He looked very disinterested all season and had by far the worst year of his career. He finished the season with only 410 yards and only one touchdown. Robinson will very likely be looking for a new team come free agent time.

One Burning Question

Will the Bears Make the Right Moves?

Pace was the general manager for seven years. He was able to find a lot of talent in the later rounds of drafts. He was very aggressive with his moves and wasn’t afraid to make those moves during the NFL draft. His biggest flaw was his inability to find the right head coach. First, he brought in John Fox which failed miserably and only lasted two seasons. He then hired Nagy, who won coach of the year in his first season.

However, the biggest reason for that was Vic Fangio and the defense that season. This was proven over the next couple of seasons when Fangio left and the defense was not on the same level. Without the defense playing at an elite level, the offense was never able to find success averaging only 19.4 points per game in three seasons. With many good qualified candidates will the Bears make the right decision? Or will they set themselves up for failure in the future?


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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