After suffering their third straight loss, the Chicago Bears now have to try to save the season. If things don’t get better quickly it may be a lost cause.
When the Chicago Bears lost to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7, the offense looked as bad as we’ve seen it this season. The unit failed to score a touchdown, something the defense did. Things couldn’t get worse, right?
Wrong. The performance the Bears offense put on in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans was worse than that performance in Los Angeles. The Bears lost to the Titans 24-17 so it was a close game, right? Again, wrong. The Bears scored all their points in the fourth quarter, their favorite quarter. Of their 17 points, 14 of them came after they fell down 24-3 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The offense again had trouble moving the ball, and again, when it did move, the players shot themselves in the foot with penalties, bad plays, or lost fumbles. Speaking of the lost fumbles, one of the better aspects of the offense was the fact that the Chicago Bears entered the game without losing any fumbles all season. That ended when they lost two fumbles. The Titans picked one up and took it to the end zone for a touchdown and the other ended a drive in which the Bears moved down the field and could’ve cut into the deficit. The Bears scored two touchdowns late in garbage time that skewed the score.
Standing pat at the trade deadline might seal the Bears’ fate
The NFL’s trade deadline hit last week. The Chicago Bears stayed pat, despite dealing with injuries along the offensive line and at running back. David Montgomery is the only real running back on the roster after Tarik Cohen‘s knee injury knocked him out for the season. The coaching staff continues to use Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield but that experiment isn’t working. Additionally, they have Artavis Pierce and Lamar Miller but have yet to use them.
Now the Bears may have to use one or both of them this upcoming week. Montgomery suffered a concussion near the end of the game and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. If he cannot go this week the coaches need to use the running backs they haven’t used as of yet.
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Matt Nagy also has to figure out a way to include the running game. He called just 20 running plays, a number not nearly enough to get the running backs involved. Of those plays, 14 of them went to Montgomery. If Montgomery isn’t ready to go, does the number of running plays drop even more?
Saying the offensive line is a mess is a nice way of putting it. The line struggled even before injuries and COVID-19 hit. Now, only two of the five original starters are still playing. Even backup center Sam Mustipher, who took over as the starter after Cody Whitehair went down first to a calf injury and then to the COVID virus.
With a patchwork offensive line, quarterback Nick Foles was under pressure the entire game. Statistically, he had a good game. He was 36/52 for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns. Again, most of those completions and the two touchdowns came when the game was already decided. When the game wasn’t in doubt, he felt pressure that wasn’t really there. He’s gotten hit so much he’s expecting it even when it isn’t there. Not making a deal to shore up the offensive line was a failure and a travesty by general manager Ryan Pace.
The season is now on the brink
Now, after being the number one seed in the NFC in Week 7, the Bears are out of the playoff picture. Also, with three consecutive games against NFC North foes, if they don’t fix things quickly they could find themselves back in the basement, a place they took residence from 2014-2017. No one wants to see that, but the way the offense is failing this is what the Bears face.
Seeing how nothing was done to fix things, it’s up to Nagy and his coaching staff to figure something out. They haven’t thus far, however. Nagy’s playcalling is again at the forefront. He did a better job last week against the New Orleans Saints, but again he struggled with calling plays. While Nagy still feels he should continue as the signal-caller, the calls for him to pass that responsibility off to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor are louder each week.
The Chicago Bears players are still playing hard for Nagy. If the losing continues, though, how much longer before that ends? The time might be sooner than we think.