Well, that sucked.
The Chicago Bears fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 16-15 on Sunday, where the last meaningful play in the game was a Cody Parkey missed field goal. The kicking game has been something that’s been an issue for the Bears all season long.
It came back to bite them once again on Sunday.
Here, I will give my knee-jerk reactions to the Bears disappointing loss in the Wild Card Round.
Let’s get into it.
-The Bears missed Eddie Jackson and Trey Burton. If both players are healthy, this game probably ends a whole lot differently. Nick Foles threw some ducks that should have been intercepted. As for Burton, his role as the “U” TE in Nagy’s offense can no longer be overlooked. He brings something different to the table. You have to think the offense would have looked better through the first three quarters if Burton was able to play in this one.
-There has been a lot of talk about why the Bears would even suit Eddie Jackson up if he wasn’t going to play. Two reasons. 1-Make the Eagles think you’re playing him. 2-They had an open spot with Burton not playing, so Jackson just took that spot. Essentially, he was a decoy.
-As for Burton, it’s a very bizarre situation. He basically showed up at the team facility around 5am on Saturday saying his groin hurt. So, it doesn’t appear as if the injury happened in practice during the week or in the team’s walkthrough on Saturday night. So, again, what the hell happened? That alone made going into Sunday’s game a bit weird.
-Not using Tarik Cohen on offense was a bold decision. He had just FOUR touches on offense against the Eagles. Instead, Taquan Mizzell got playing time over Cohen on more than one occasion. That makes you wonder a bit…Cohen has been the Bears’ most explosive player on offense all season long. He should have gotten the ball more and that’s a fact. To put Cohen’s lack of usage in better perspective, the Eagles gave Sproles 15 touches…Also, why wasn’t Cohen returning kicks all game? He set up the Bears potential game-winning field goal. It makes you wonder a bit.
-Nagy has been great for the culture change and I’m glad he’s the leader of this football team, but he still is growing as a play-caller and head coach. The Tarik Cohen stuff is exhibit A. Again, the hope is he continues to learn, and based on what’s happened this season, he will do just that.
-Up front, the Eagles pushed the Bears around a bit on both offense and defense at times. That’s something that the Bears haven’t had happened to them all season long. That’s why the Eagles were a scary team to play in the first round. Experience and strong up front. Being good up front can cover up things…like a bad secondary.
-Like the rest of the Bears offense, quarterback Mitch Trubisky was not very good through three-quarters of football. However, he turned it on in the fourth. He showed us why general manager Ryan Pace made him the second overall pick. He led the Bears on a comeback, took the lead, then put them in position to win the game on a field goal. It’s a shame that may go unnoticed because of the final result, but it shouldn’t. Trubisky showed us all something on Sunday night in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 26-43 for 303 yards and a touchdown. The future is bright for the kid out of Ohio.
-The Bears defense played well enough to win but were still disappointing. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the defense wasn’t that good on Sunday because if you told me they would give up just 16 points at home, then I would assume the Bears win this game by a TD at least. If you want to be the top defense you don’t give up a game-winning drive, in the fourth quarter, in the playoffs. However, the offense did little to help them throughout the game and they were missing one of their biggest playmakers (Eddie Jackson). Sunday was the only game of the season where the Bears won the turnover battle and lost the game.
-To me, the Bears need one more WR. Robinson, Miller, and Gabriel is a very nice start, it just feels like they need one more guy there. Wouldn’t mind them paying a guy like DeSean Jackson, who can really stretch the field and force defenses to respect them vertically. With that being said, let’s talk about Allen Robinson.
-Robinson had a monster game once the Bears figured out the Eagles couldn’t cover him. He looked the part of a No. WR. Will be fun to see him in year two of the Matt Nagy offense, especially considering he will have a full offseason of working out and being on the field.
-Cody Parkey. There’s not much else to say really. He makes the kick before Doug Pederson iced him, then misses the second attempt. He’s missed kicks all year and instead of bringing in competition for Parkey to go up against in practice, the Bears did nothing. Now, for the people saying the Bears needed to change their kicker in the last two weeks of the season are foolish. No one would have been a better option than Parkey, who had kicked at Soldier Field all year long. Still, this feels like the end of Parkey in Chicago. He has a weird vibe to him at times as well. Call me crazy, I just have zero confidence in him going forward, which makes it hard for me to see the Bears employing him behind this season. Let’s remember though that this guy is human. Let’s stop with the threats and all that garbage. The Bears were right to stick with him in the regular season because guess what? When you have a bad day at work, you don’t get fired on the spot, do you? For 98% people that answer is no. He missed the kick, he understands the consequences, move on.
-Was Parkey’s kick tipped? So, a video has just surfaced of Parkey’s kick being tipped and it’s hard to tell, but it appears the ball does change direction a bit. This makes sense too because Parkey mentioned after the game that he thought he kicked the ball well, considering what the wind was doing. To me, it doesn’t change much. Mentally, Parkey seems to struggle at times and again, it’s hard to have any confidence in him being the man in 2019. If you’re interested I’ll post the video below.
Cody Parkey thought he struck a good ball. Said he played the wind left to right. Didn’t seem to know why the ball didn’t come back to the right more. This might be the explanation. https://t.co/JvIqxJVZ1J
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 7, 2019
Chris Long also confirmed the kick was tipped.
Kick was tipped. https://t.co/sQyiQxhwqU
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) January 7, 2019
-As Adam Hoge would say, #BearsSpecialTeams. The Bears’ special teams unit needs to improve this offseason. They singlehandedly costed the Bears three wins, which includes a playoff bye and a playoff win. It will be interesting to see if the Bears bring Chris Tabor back.
Follow Nick on Twitter @PetroTLS
Credit: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune