Bears quick hits: WR Darnell Mooney a bright spot in 19-11 loss to Colts

A look at Mooney’s rise, the defense’s frustration with Philip Rivers and a total meltdown on third downs.

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Mooney, a fifth-round pick, set career highs with five catches for 52 yards against the Colts.

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The Bears’ ugly offense caught up with them against the Colts, and their defense wasn’t explosive enough to bail them out. Their undefeated start to the season ran aground with a 19-11 loss Sunday at Soldier Field.

Here are three aspects of the game worth remembering:

Third downs are everything. Every team in the NFL is desperate for quarterbacks to convert third downs and pass rushers to stop them. Third-down success on both sides of the ball is crucial to winning. The Bears’ offense continues to be one of the league’s worst in that area (33.9% conversions), and their defense allowed the Colts to convert 8 of 19 plus a fourth down.

Darnell Mooney is overtaking Anthony Miller. Bears quarterback Nick Foles targeted Mooney nine times, more than anyone but Allen Robinson. He set career highs with five catches for 52 yards, eclipsing Miller’s three catches for 16 yards on five targets. Miller has just nine catches this season, compared to 16 by the rookie.

Philip Rivers does just enough. Rivers is far from the prolific passer he was in his prime, but he’s still a challenge. And it must be maddening for the Bears defense to hold him to an 84.8 passer rating over its matchup with him last season and this one, but lose both times. He won with just 17 points last season and 19 this time.

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