The Bears fell to the Dolphins on a last-second field goal in overtime, falling to 3-2 on the season with the Patriots match-up looming large on a young team now seemingly at a crossroad in their 2018 campaign.
Here’s a foursome of key takeaways from the tough loss to Miami, and a bonus thought to match the bonus period of football this afternoon.
1st Down — Find a Different Scapegoat
After a shaky Week 3 performance against Arizona, Bears fans cried about Mitch Trubisky needing to perform much better for the Bears to have a realistic shot at the postseason in 2018.
In the two games since then, Trubisky has completed 41 of 57 passes for 670 yards and 9 touchdowns to just 1 interception. Trubisky has also only been sacked three times, and rushed for 100 yards on 11 attempts. In the two games respectively, Trubisky has posted passer ratings of 154.6 and 122.5.
So save for a missed long completion to Anthony Miller in the first quarter of the loss to Miami, and the forced throw that was intercepted in the end zone in the second half of the Miami game. Mitch Trubisky has resoundingly answered the call.
So, find another scapegoat as you wallow in the disappointment of Sunday’s loss, because it isn’t No. 10.
2nd Down — Killing me Conservatively
The Bears are now 3-2 on the season, and both losses can be directly attributed to Matt Nagy going conservative late with his play calling.
In Week 1 against Green Bay, Nagy and the Bears coughed up a 20-point lead due to the rookie head coach sitting back and playing it safe against a Hall of Fame quarterback, in their house, in prime-time football.
This Sunday, Nagy and the Bears got a gasp of life from an outworked and tired defense when Akiem Hicks popped the ball out of Kenyan Drake‘s arms inches from the goal line. Trubisky and the Bears proceeded to march the ball into Miami territory, when suddenly, Nagy threw his playbook out the window.
Nagy played that last series of downs not to loose, rather than to win. He took the ball out of Trubisky’s hands, and placed the game on the foot of Cody Parkey from 50+ yards instead of trying to attain a first down on 3rd & 4, late in overtime.
That can’t happen. Nagy needs to trust himself, and trust his offense at all times. Championship caliber teams don’t play not to lose.
3rd Down — Defensive Demise
Bye week rust, Khalil Mack‘s injured ankle, the 98-degree heat index and Miami humidity … it doesn’t matter.
Plain and simple, the No. 2 defense in the NFL got absolutely TORCHED by one of the wort offensive units in the league through the first five weeks. Check that, the Bears got TORCHED by one of the worst offensive units in the league through the first five weeks, starting their backup quarterback!
Absolutely inexcusable if the Bears hope to be a player in the postseason conversation. We knew there would be an afternoon where the defense would need to offense to bail them out, reciprocating what they’ve done for them a few times early this season. And for the most part, the offense, did do that. Until Matt Nagy took the ball out of his quarterback’s hands in overtime.
Kyle Fuller played as well as he has all season, and Bryce Callahan looked phenomenal as well. Beyond that, as a unit the defense was awful, and had zero semblance of their signature pass rush capabilities.
How they bounce back this week, will be the turning point of this 2018 season.
4th Down — You had One Job
An NFL kicker has one job. Kick the football through the uprights on a consistent basis. It’s an important job, but nonetheless, a simplistic concept for a paid professional. The Bears gave Cody Parkey $9 million in guaranteed money, a $3.75 million dollar AAV over four years and a $2.25 million dollar signing bonus for that job this past offseason.
In 2018, Parkey has converted nine of his 11 field goal attempts, and is perfect on the point after attempt. So to say that he’s not earning his keep, would be inaccurate.
However, on this day, Parkey failed to convert on the game-winning field goal attempt, his lone attempt on the afternoon. Today, Parkey had one job. Today, he let the other 51 men on that roster down. Hopefully this is an outlier incident in his body of work with the Bears moving forward.
Bonus (overtime) thought
This loss was particularly tough on the young Bears, and probably even more heart-wrenching to the fans. The good news is, it was only tough because of the level of expectations surrounding this promising team.
The fan-base would be well served taking a glass-half-full approach to digesting this loss, and understanding that if this team wasn’t where they were in their developmental trajectory, this game would have been business as usual for a franchise that spent a decade in the dumps.