This piece originally ran in Midway Minute, the Chicago sports newsletter. To get it in your inbox every morning for free, sign up here.
So we've all digested that awful Chicago Bears loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, right? If not, I highly recommend you visit your local McDonald's to ease the pain. Maybe Matt Nagy himself will be cooking the fries for his new sponsor while trying to figure out the "whys."
But instead of devouring the game itself, let's look at some individual players and how they performed on Sunday night. Despite the overwhelming negativity after the loss, a few players stood out in a good way.
Other players, however, had less-than-ideal performances too. Let's see what's what in our first Chicago Bears Stock Exchange report of the season.
📈 RB David Montgomery: The bruising running back immediately picked up where he left off last season, taking his first carry of the game and running 41 yards through the Rams defense. He finished the night with 108 yards with a touchdown on just 16 carries. They were productive touches, too, as he converted a first down on five of those carries. He's essentially the last man standing from the Bears' 2019 draft class, but Montgomery continues to ascend.
📉 S Eddie Jackson: It seemed impossible for Jackson's stock to get any lower, but it's currently tracking with the Dogecoin plunge. Jackson's tackling issues are well documented, but he couldn't even bother touching down a receiver after getting burnt on a deep ball by Van Jefferson to start the game. Jackson continued to get torched in coverage and looked like a complete liability on the field. It's hard to believe he was once an All-Pro at the safety position, but he hasn't been the same since getting paid. At least he's got new cereal out, right?
📈 TE Cole Kmet: The local product is returning from Los Angeles as the team's unquestioned TE1. Kmet's stats don't necessarily pop off the stat sheet (five catches for 42 yards) but he made the most of his opportunities and looked bigger and faster than his rookie year. He was active all night and should continue to be a factor as both a receiver in the passing game and a blocker in the running game.
📉 DB Marqui Christian: This feels sort of unfair to Christian as he never should have been a starting nickel cornerback in the first place. But he was and the Rams took advantage of the mismatches, completing five of their six targets against him for 85 yards and two touchdowns. That's what happens when you start a player in a foreign position after he spent last season on the practice squad as a safety. I'd be surprised if Christian gets another crack at the starting spot anytime soon.
📈 DE Akiem Hicks: The defense had one of its worst games in years, but one player stood out and that was Akiem Hicks. The former Pro Bowl lineman had a rough go the last time the Bears played the Rams, tallying up penalties at an alarming rate. But he came to play this week, totaling three tackles, half a sack, and a pair of quarterback hits. He then proceeded to roar like an actual Bear, as he's sometimes known to do. Hicks may be playing his last season as a Bear and he's going to leave a big hole if this is it.
📉 TE Jimmy Graham: For as involved as Cole Kmet was, Jimmy Graham was essentially invisible. The former star tight end has been reduced to a bench player, only seeing time in specific red zone situations. Graham only played 14 snaps the entire game and caught one pass for 11 yards. Kmet saw the bulk of the action, a complete 180° from last year's opener when Graham was starting. An expensive, niche player, Graham's role will only be reduced as the season goes on.
📈 QB Justin Fields: The rookie quarterback only played five snaps, but he made the most of them as best he could. Fields was 2-for-2 for 10 yards and ran for a touchdown, showing off his athleticism. As expected, the moment didn't seem too big for Fields. He will likely see a bit more playing time until he eventually takes over the starting spot, which hopefully happens soon.
📉 HC Matt Nagy: The head coach has been taking a beating since Sunday night. He refused to call any sort of explosive play, wouldn't commit to giving Fields more playing time, and of course, now stars in a McDonald's ad touting their job availability. You can't make this up. All of that aside, Nagy once again failed to show what works with his offense with yet another quarterback and got too cute at the wrong time in terms of playcalling. He has to hope Fields is the real deal to salvage his coaching career.