By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)
And the hits just keep on coming.
Its four weeks and counting for the Chicago Bears as the once Club Dubbin’ and playoff projectin’ squad extended its losing streak after falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 22-14 Sunday afternoon. It is getting harder and harder coming up with new angles in writing these post reviews because the main culprits were at it again.
All the struggles right now start with head coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. But it does not end with them because yet again all three phases contributed to this defeat by either faltering for most of the game or just during critical points. The first half was one for the books, the kind of books you write into and bury deep into the Earth so no one in the next 1000 years could be aware of your complete, utter embarrassment.
In total, the Bears gained nine yards of offense in the first half, the lowest yardage output in a first half in the last 40 years of the NFL.
Basically, the beat just goes on to the Bears and it isn’t danceable at all. In fact, its bad enough to wonder if #ClubDub will ever return. Some will look at the second half Sunday, where the Bears flirted with a winning game result, as a light of optimism, but this its nothing but Fool’s Gold. No doubt the Bears made a comeback to try and win the game but the most important offensive drive stalled. Followed by the most important defensive drive where the team allowed four third down conversions resulting in a game winning drive.
All the Bears were left with was one final prayer of about 20 seconds until the final kick in the nads landed; special teams, specifically tight end Adam Shaheen, fumbled the kickoff ending the game and any chance of a Hail Mary situation. Ugliness is the best adjective to describe the season to date, many continue to shake their head in disbelief as fans suffer a tough 100th year.
Here are some more observations from Sunday’s debacle.
More of the Same…
The future is starting to look like a total catastrophe because it is clear there is a quarterback problem but perhaps there is a coaching problem as well. Almost like some sick Halloween prank but Nagy has taken off his mask and shown to be in reality ex coach Marc Trestman.
Offensively, the Bears are completely broken, even though Trubisky nailed a few deep throws, his command was bad and he didn’t do anything in the first half. Trubisky again had that lost look on his face and even though he seems to be improving some with accuracy, his overall play has been an obvious decline from a year ago.
To make matters worse, Nagy is going out of his way to make life more difficult on his bad quarterback. It took until the second half for Nagy to commit to the run. By everyones calculations thats a half too late, Nagy! How does he not understand that the team has its best chance to win with a commitment to the run equalling controlling the clock?
Anyone else’s head in pain from all the scratching because Nagy’s plan and play calling makes no sense.
This offense doesn’t have explosiveness to suddenly come back being down multiple touchdowns. At this point it feels like for the good of the franchise fans need to hope for more embarrassments to wake ownership up from their vampiric slumber.
Yet another week of the same bad offense and same lack of accountability, someone needs to come and explain for this mess.
Elite No More
Adding to the sad revelations of this past loss, and it is a big one…the defense is no longer an elite group. It was fun while it lasted but this Bears defense has regressed and it has become just a solid to good defense.
Lets be real for a second, how can we call the defense elite after it had multiple chances to stop the Eagles late and could not get the big stop? A Super Bowl caliber defense would have found a way to stop one of those third down conversions.
Edge rusher Khalil Mack has gone silent as well as most of the other defensive stars from a year ago. Sure the defense will still keep the Bears in a lot of games because they haven’t become a bad group. But if the defense can’t be elite then its possible the Bears lose almost every game because of the other issues on the team.
Defense was supposed to be the beacon of light but they themselves will have to regroup somehow after the season concludes. There is still time for the defense to get straighten up some but any more regression and the whole team will look even worse than they do now.
After hitting the half way point on the season the Bears sit at 3-5 good for last place in the NFC North. So without sugar coating it, things are pretty bleak right now if some changes don’t happen as soon as the season ends and these moves need to be savvy.
It’s possible the Bears end up being a top ten pick in the upcoming draft but they will be without a first round selection. Rough to not have that prime selection and besides the lack of a first round pick they have less than the normal amount of picks also. Then to make matters worse the Bears have a very tricky cap situation where there isn’t a lot of untapped money and young players are on the cusp of being paid.
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place, this situation could mean another tough 2020 season. The only chance the Bears have is if they break their mold by getting creative and innovative. General manager Ryan Pace, assuming he keeps his job, has problems with the roster and coaching. For example, if the Bears suck at play calling then go get a play caller whether he be old or young as long as he can do the job Nagy isn’t.
Quarterback is very hard to find in the NFL but good news for the Bears is that their bar is set to about lowest in the league. It is impossible for the Bears not to have some kind of quarterback option whether it be via trade, free agency or the draft that can be a professional NFL quarterback week to week.
Right now Trubisky is playing like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, honestly how hard could it be to find someone that is better than him. Beyond those two problems, the Bears have depth, talent and consistency issues all over the roster.
Solving all the problems is not realistic and Pace should be held accountable for this mess. But if he is the GM past this season then he must embrace solving the most important issues i.e. quarterback, play calling, defensive regression and accountability.
Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR