The Bears lost a heartbreaker on Sunday, dropping to 8-4 against the Giants by a score of 30-27 in overtime. These are my four takeaways from Chicago’s defeat, each of them being something that needs to happen in order for the Bears to be relevant in January.
1. They need Mitch back.
I don’t claim to know if Mitch Trubisky was healthy enough to play today and held out due to underestimating an opponent. If he wasn’t, fine. Nothing anyone can do about that.
If he was, Matt Nagy has a lot of explaining to do. Because if Trubisky is in, the Bears win this game.
Chase Daniel had issues with accuracy and doesn’t have the strongest arm, but you’d at least expect him to catch every snap and know when to throw the ball away. He probably knows that he isn’t as athletic as the 2017 number two overall pick, but he certainly didn’t play like it today, taking unnecessary sack after unnecessary sack.
Trubisky should be healthy for next week against Los Angeles, which the Bears must have in order to have a shot on Sunday Night Football.
2. Matt Nagy needs to stop outsmarting himself.
Jordan Howard received 13 carries for 68 yards in the first half on Sunday. He got three for eight yards after that.
The Bears called a timeout at the end of the first half in the hopes of blocking a punt. It cost them three points.
Taquon Mizzell continues to inexplicably get snaps and touches despite showing no real value to the Bears’ offense.
I get that Nagy is a creative coach and I love that about him. It paid off at the end of regulation, with a masterful trick play that resulted in an Anthony Miller touchdown. But sometimes, when something is working, you just have to stick with it until the other team shows signs of being able to stop it. Sometimes, meat and potatoes will work just fine, especially when the other option is no food at all.
3. Vic Fangio needs to stop dropping Khalil Mack into coverage.
Mack played another fantastic game, forcing an offensive tackle to fly into Eli Manning‘s knee and gobbling up Manning for a key third down sack to push the Giants out of field goal range late in the game. But he could have been much more impactful if he was focusing on destroying QB’s on every snap.
It’s understandable that pulling back outside linebackers into hook/curl and flat zones is part of Fangio’s system and always has been. Khalil Mack is different than any edge rusher Fangio has ever had though, and stopping him from getting after the quarterback is not dissimilar to playing with 10 men on the field. It’s just putting the Bears at a completely unnecessary disadvantage.
4. Bears fans need to stop freaking out.
As infuriating (then exhilarating and then right back to infuriating) as yesterday’s loss was, Chicago is still a very good team and one whose record shows that, still sitting at 8-4 and atop the NFC North. Anyone who is coping with the defeat by spouting doomsday scenarios and advocating for firing the GM is being irrational and needs to calm down.
With four games remaining, the Bears maintain a one and a half game lead over the Vikings, who lost today in New England. Green Bay is done, after losing to the worst team in football and firing their coach.
Once the new year is upon us, the Bears will still be very much alive. This was a young team, with a very inexperienced coach, on the road, in terrible weather, and without its starting quarterback. Losses like these will happen, and it’s how you respond that matters.
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