1. Matt Nagy has to be better.
The Bears came out with the same offensive game plan they had been utilizing for the last two weeks of the season: sit receivers down in the gaps of zone coverage and hit six or seven yard completions all day.
The one problem with this was that the Eagles were ready for it. They stayed in a tight man coverage look with a single high safety up top throughout the game, taking away any sort of hook or curl or quick slant that the Bears would have been looking for.
This would have been perfectly fine if Nagy had adjusted his plan earlier in the contest and run more vertical routes and double moves. But he didn’t. He stayed with the initial strategy for way too long, and as a result, the Bears came away with six first half points and Mitchell Trubisky looked terrible.
Eventually, Nagy adjusted, and sure enough, Allen Robinson piled up 143 yards, mostly on double moves and vertical routes. He toasted cornerback Avonte Maddox throughout the second half. But by then, it was too late to do anything better than 15 (should have been 18) points.
Nagy has been thoroughly impressive as a head coach, but he has work to do as a schemer and play caller.
2. Mitch Trubisky will be the Bears’ quarterback for a long time.
Trubisky had two opportunities to take the lead in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. He aced both of them, first with a touchdown to Robinson and then with an incredible pass to number 12 into tight coverage with less than a minute to go.
The second magnificent throw got the Bears into field goal range with a chance to win the game, but…you know.
Trubisky was poised under immense pressure and delivered strike after strike when the Bears let him throw downfield. With him as the signal caller and a still-great defense, the Bears should feel very good about 2019.
3. Eddie Jackson‘s absence cost the Bears dearly.
Nick Foles tossed a couple of floaters into the secondary that ended in catches – the third down conversion to Golden Tate comes to mind. If Jackson was roaming the defensive backfield, he probably ends up with the ball on one or two occasions.
4. This team will be back next year and it will be dangerous.
Trubisky will make another year-to-year jump and will hopefully realize his full potential in Nagy’s offense. Nagy will gain a year of experience in play designing and open up the offense for the Bears’ talented pass-catchers to shine. Khalil Mack will have a training camp and be better-versed in Vic Fangio’s defense. Roquan Smith – who played out of his mind last night – will have a full camp under his belt.
All of these are reasons to believe that the Bears will be better next year than they were in 2018. Remember, the comparison to this year’s Bears was last year’s Rams, and they’re a legitimate threat to go to Super Bowl 53.
The 2019 Bears will be among the leading contenders for the Lombardi trophy as well. If Trubisky progresses as I expect him to, Chicago will be a force. And if the defense stays the course or even improves as well, no one will stop them.
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