Jaylon Johnson is now two games into his fourth season with the Chicago Bears and has already been forced to endure 35 losses over his career. At this point, he is tired of the same old “letdowns” and conversations after losing games.
So, when Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic talked to Johnson at his locker following the Bears’ latest loss — 27-17 on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Chicago’s No. 1 cornerback had no problem getting candid about whether those losses weigh on him as one of the defensive leaders of the team.
“Hell yeah,” Johnson said Sunday. “That’s what I think about consistently. I’ve been here for a good minute now. Going through the same things, the same letdowns, the same … postgame speeches. For me as a competitor, I’m tired of that shit.”
The Bears have now lost 12 consecutive games dating back to October 24, 2022, when they last won a game and beat the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. During that grueling losing streak, the defense has allowed at least 25 points to be scored in each of the losses with the pattern holding through the first games of 2023.
Now, in fairness, the Bears defense did seem to figure a few things out after halftime against the Buccaneers and only surrendered seven points in the second half. But the 20 points they allowed in the first half proved too large of a deficit for their stunted offense to overcome, which tells Johnson this team is still learning how to win.
“This was a very, very winnable game,” Johnson said, via Fishbain. “I think that we’re just tired of shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re tired of not capitalizing. I think the biggest thing for us, being a young team, we’ve got to learn how to win. We’ve got to learn how to pull through. We’ve got to learn how to come together and execute at a high level throughout the duration of the game and not shoot ourselves in the foot. It takes us getting burnt, but at the end of the day, we have to learn. I think it’s better to learn from wins and we have to learn to win.”
Jaylon Johnson Playing Solid, But Still Lacks Takeaways
There have been plenty of problems with the Bears defense through the first two weeks of the new season, but Johnson has rarely been one of them.
Johnson is one of just three defenders who has played every snap so far along with linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and fellow cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Over those 131 defensive snaps, he has recorded seven tackles, two defensive stops and one forced fumble even though he also had an ugly missed tackle in the opener against Green Bay.
The 24-year-old cornerback has also remained steady in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, he has allowed completions on just half of his targets (four catches for 74 yards and no touchdowns on eight targets) and has been the Bears’ highest-graded defender in coverage (74.1) among those who have played in both games.
Unfortunately, the turnovers that Johnson set out to generate at the beginning of the 2023 season have yet to materialize for him. He did force Buccaneers tight end David Wells to fumble while making a no-gain stop in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss, but Baker Mayfield jumped on it and robbed the Bears of an opportunity to get a takeaway.
Jordan J. Wilson is a sports reporter who covers the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers for Heavy.com. He has previously covered all levels of sports — high school, college and pro — for a variety of publications including The Indianapolis Star, The News-Gazette, Springfield State-Journal Register and Peoria Journal Star. More about Jordan J. Wilson