The Chicago Bears were expecting to see a lot bigger things from Kyler Gordon in 2023. Gordon was going to stick in the slot full-time after shifting between the outside and the slot last year. He missed weeks two through five with a hand injury, but since he has returned, we have seen the player that the Bears envisioned when they drafted him.
The Chicago Bears are seeing cornerback Kyler Gordon breakout
It has only been six games, but it has been the best run of games for Gordon in his career. What is even more impressive is that he has had a lot of tough matchups in the slot and has come away without a major issue.
Since his return, he has faced Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Those three are all in the top five when it comes to yards created from the slot.
In week eight, it was Allen against Gordon. To be fair, Allen was down from his normal slot rate of over 60% to just a 50% slot rate. The Chargers also got up big early and did not spread the Bears out. Still, Allen was held to 69 yards, his third-lowest yardage total of the season and his lowest yards per reception game.
When Gordon faced Adam Thielen in week 10, he saw Thielen run 62% of his routes from the slot. With 42 yards on ten targets, it was the lowest yards per target game of the season and once again his third-lowest receiving total.
Still, Amon-Ra St. Brown would be the real test. He played 74% of the snaps in the slot, well more than Allen, and the team was in comeback mode, where Allen had the lead. Better than that, Jared Goff is clearly better than Bryce Young and St. Brown is younger and more agile than Thielen.
It is not to say that Gordon shut him down, but he held his own. St. Brown had under 100 yards for just the third time this season. Sunday was his second-lowest yards per target and yards per catch game of the year.
According to PFF, only 22 yards that St. Brown had were against Gordon, only five by Thielen, and 13 from Allen. Still, his presence in zone makes it tougher for teams to target that area of the field altogether, and it is clear by the fact that three of the best slot receivers in the NFL had some of their worst games in recent weeks against the Chicago Bears. That is a tip of the cap to Kyler Gordon.