Snap judgment: Darnell Mooney leads Bears’ wide receivers

The Chicago Sun-Times’ weekly look at playing time dives into the wide receivers, running backs and more.

SHARE Snap judgment: Darnell Mooney leads Bears’ wide receivers
Darnell Mooney has played 92% or more of the Bears’ snaps twice this season.

Darnell Mooney has played 92% or more of the Bears’ snaps twice this season.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

The Bears continue to look smart for drafting wide receiver Darnell Mooney in the fifth round — No. 173 overall and 25th at his position — and he is one of the few bright spots in their offense.

While Mooney didn’t produce much in the 19-13 loss to the Vikings, he played 92% of the offensive snaps — the highest by any Bears wide receiver. That’s second only to the 93% he played against the Saints.

Speaking of rookies, by the way, tight end Cole Kmet played 70% of the snaps. His previous high was 47%.

The Bears need to scrap most of their offense and rebuild it, but Mooney can be part of the solution. He is their best receiver other than Allen Robinson, who is set to hit free agency at the end of the season, and has 33 catches for 351 yards and two touchdowns.

Robinson, by the way, led the Bears with 43 yards receiving. That’s sad.

Here’s how the targets broke down:
Robinson, nine targets, six catches, 43 yards
Anthony Miller, seven targets, two catches, 28 yards
Kmet, three targets, one catch, seven yards
Cordarrelle Patterson, two targets, two catches, 19 yards
Ryan Nall, two targets, one catch, 18 yards
Lamar Miller, two targets, two catches, six yards
Mooney, two targets, two catches, three yards
Jimmy Graham two targets, no catches

Depleted backfield

With David Montgomery injured and Tarik Cohen out for the season, the Bears cobbled together a backfield of a converted wide receiver (Patterson), an undrafted rookie (Artavis Pierce), a player who previously had two career rushes (Nall) and someone who had been out of the NFL for a year (Miller).

Not surprisingly, the running game was awful against the Vikings. The Bears managed just 41 yards on 17 carries. They’re averaging 52.6 over their last seven games and have the worst rushing output in the league by nearly 10 yards.

Patterson played 50% of the snaps, his most since joining the Bears last season and highest share of the playing time since September 2018 with the Patriots. He got a career-high 12 carries and ran for 30 yards.

Here’s how the carries and playing time were split with Montgomery out:
Patterson, 50% of the snaps, 12 carries
Nall, 17 snaps, one carry
Pierce, six snaps, three carries
Miller, five snaps, no carries

Quarterback Nick Foles also ran one time for two yards.

Defensive line concerns

The Bears simply can’t keep weathering hits to their defensive line, and it’s a big problem if Akiem Hicks is out Nov. 29 against the Packers.

Hicks exited with a hamstring injury after playing just 52% of the defensive snaps. That injury came after the team lost Eddie Goldman before the start of the season and put Roy Robertson-Harris on injured reserve.

For perspective, the Bears signed defensive tackle Daniel McCullers off their practice squad in the afternoon and played him 52% of the snaps against the Vikings.

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