Chicago Bears vs 49ers: 3 Winners from loss in Week 8

Chicago Bears - Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Jesse James
Chicago Bears – Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Week 8 Winner No. 2: The Tight Ends

As the season has gone on, we have seen the Chicago Bears utilize their tight ends in the offense more often. Early in the year, it seemed every time a tight end entered the game it was to block, even after Cole Kmet’s strong Week 1 performance. The last couple of weeks have featured the second-year tight end more, and this week there was a steady diet of Jesse James to compliment Kmet.

The two tight ends combined for nine targets, six receptions, 62 yards, and a touchdown to James on a beautiful throw and catch in the first quarter. Obviously, this is no monster game by either player, but in the last three weeks, Kmet has seen at least five targets that have been near the top of the team, along with Darnell Mooney.

Justin Fields is starting to understand that a tight end is a quarterback’s best friend many times. As Kmet gets over some small drop issues and has played more steady over the last couple of weeks he has seen more work. The Bears invested highly in Kmet, and he has been good in his role in his sophomore year in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham has been non-existent this year after a surprisingly successful first year in Chicago last season. Most knew Kmet would gain the first-team reps, but Graham is still a deadly red-zone threat and could be an asset when the Bears get close to scoring. It seems James is the TE2 on the depth chart and he has played his role well. He has solid hands, can block, and brings veteran leadership to the tight end room, along with Graham.

Kmet and Graham developed a big/little brother relationship last year as the veteran took him under his wing and taught him a lot. While Graham has not been used this season, the Bears are implementing the tight ends into the offense and using the 12 personnel that was successful last year and this year. This position is a winner from the loss to the 49ers.