The Chicago Bears get embarrassed on primetime, losing 24-10 to the Los Angeles Rams. The struggling offense becomes a bigger worry and could prevent the team from making the playoffs.
Well, the Chicago Bears spent a great 24 hours as the top seed in the NFC. Once their game against the Los Angeles Rams began, everything came crashing down. The offense struggled once again and the team as a whole was undisciplined. As a result, the Bears suffered an embarrassing loss by a score of 24-10, a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.
This was perhaps the second-worst game the Bears played in head coach Matt Nagy’s tenure so far (the game against the Kansas City Chiefs last season was the worst). The offense could not sustain many drives and when they did have good ones those drives stalled and ended up in an interception or a turnover on downs.
Things were bad right from the start. The Bears had a nice drive to open up the game but a holding penalty by Germain Ifedi killed the drive. Penalties really hurt the Bears in this game. It wasn’t the number of them that hurt — they only committed six. It was when they occurred that really hurt. In addition to that holding call, Rashaad Coward committed a false start on a fourth-down play in which the Bears looked like they converted. They then had to punt.
On defense, Akiem Hicks had a completely undisciplined game. He committed four penalties by himself (and should have been five when the officials missed an obvious roughing the passer penalty). He helped the Rams continue their drives and get closer so they could score touchdowns instead of field goals. The Bears defense the best in preventing red zone touchdowns but not against the Rams. Los Angeles hit the red zone four times and came away with three touchdowns.
The offensive line woes continue
The offensive line continues to struggle. Coward just doesn’t look comfortable out there. Maybe it’s time to give Alex Bars a chance with a full week of work instead of evaluating him based on throwing him to the wolves after a James Daniels injury. The Rams’ Aaron Donald only recorded a half-sack, but he pressured quarterback Nick Foles all game long and attracted double teams that freed up his teammates. Foles was unable to step into his passes because of the pressure and missed a number of big-play opportunity as a result. Foles was harassed all game long. The Rams sacked him four times and intercepted two passes.
The running game again didn’t have many holes to run through. David Montgomery ran for 48 yards on 14 carries. The average was up to 3.4 yards per rush, but that still isn’t good enough. The Bears were a one-dimensional offense and the Rams took advantage of that. The Bears couldn’t gain yards on simple sweeps.
In order for the Chicago Bears to make a serious playoff run something needs to be done about the offensive line. The unit isn’t opening up holes for the running game and isn’t giving Foles enough time to throw. If this continues Chicago could be on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
Nagy says the running game is important but actions speak louder than words
Head coach Matt Nagy shouldn’t be let off the hook himself. He continually preaches about the importance of the running game. When the game starts, however, he goes completely against that. Yes, the offensive line was bad. Giving the ball to Montgomery seven times each half doesn’t help. We’ve pointed it out earlier in the season but it continues. When the Bears run the ball more they have more success.
- Weeks 1-3 —> 85 carries, 414 yards, 4.87 yards per rush
- Weeks 4-7 —> 72 carries, 175 yards, 2.43 yards per rush
As you see above, the success of the running game is better when there are more running plays. There is no way for the line and Montgomery to get into a rhythm In his four starts, Foles averages over 40 passes per game, while the offense averages 18 carries in those same games. They don’t have to become an “all pass, all the time” offense, but there needs to be a better balance. Nagy keeps preaching that but somehow forgets it once the game starts.
Let’s not forget his play-calling. There were numerous times when, even with rushing difficulty, he called plays to run directly to Donald. That is not a winning strategy. Donald is one of the best defenders in the history of this game and sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. Run a couple of plays and see what happens. If it doesn’t work try going somewhere else.
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Nagy is stubbornly refusing to give up calling plays. It seems that he isn’t even consulting the offensive coordinator, Bill Lazor. Hr keeps making the same mistakes over and over. He’s on a passing island by himself and it’s hurting the offense. He continually refuses to involve the running game more, he makes curious calls throughout the game, and he has trouble managing the clock at the end of halves and games.
Yes, this is his system but he doesn’t have to run it all by himself. He can share the load with Lazor. Sometimes another set of eyes can help you see what you might miss. This, as well as the offensive line, are stumbling blocks the Chicago Bears need to get through if they want to make the playoffs. After being on top for 24 hours, they are now the fifth seed. If they cannot get things corrected, this might be a wasted opportunity.