Just when we thought the Chicago Bears’ spiral couldn’t get any more embarrassing, they lose to the Detroit Lions in a game they led throughout.
The Chicago Bears‘ spiral continues. They lost their sixth consecutive game, this time to the Detroit Lions playing under an interim coach in his first game. Despite leading throughout the game and seeing an improved offense, they found a way to give the game away.
The Bears looked like two completely different teams in the game. In the first half, they had a very good offense. The running game was involved, gaining 106 yards in that first half. David Montgomery was on his way to having one of the best games in his career. He gained 62 yards on 11 carries and 2 touchdowns. Cordarrelle Patterson was a great backup, gaining 41 yards on 7 carries and a touchdown himself. Those three rushing touchdowns were more than the two rushing touchdowns the team had all season.
Additionally, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was on point with his mechanics and made some good throws. He was 11-15 for 147 yards. Also, after committing three turnovers against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12, he had none in the first half. As bad as things were against the Packers, the offense’s success revived hopes in some fans of the team making a renewed playoff run.
Then the second half happened.
Back to the same struggling offense in the second half
The Bears continued their third-quarter struggles. For the 11th time in their 12 games this season, the offense failed to score in the quarter. The only offensive score for the Bears offense was in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers. The special teams scored a touchdown on a kickoff to begin the third quarter in Week 10 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Bears faced only three third downs in the first half, converting one. In the second half, however, they had eight of them, converting just three. Their 4/11 on third downs was a 36 percent conversion percentage, just slightly higher than their 32 percent for the season (ranking 31st in the league).
After running the ball 19 times in the first half, the Bears ran it 11 times in the second half. Three of those runs were by Trubisky. Instead of running the ball and taking time off the clock, the Bears had Trubisky drop back 20 times. The more you have him drop back the higher the chances are that he does something to hurt the team. With the defense struggling again (they gave up 464 yards of total offense), the offense needed to bleed the clock to keep Matthew Stafford on the bench and not on the field killing the defense.
Stafford kept scorching the defense with his pinpoint accuracy, especially on a key drive in the fourth quarter. Bears punter Pat O’Donnell pinned the Lions on their own four. Stafford took the Lions 96 yards on just seven plays and ended it on a touchdown. In the process, he took just 2:15 off the clock. With three timeouts and the two-minute warning, the 2:18 left in the game was plenty if the Lions defense made a stop.
Trubisky helped the Lions get that stop. On third and four deep in Bears territory, the Lions sacked Trubisky and he lost the ball. The Lions recovered the ball on the Bears’ seven. Two plays later, the Lions punched it into the end zone and they had their first and only lead in the game.
Trubisky wasn’t the only one with a huge mistake
The Chicago Bears weren’t through with their blunders, however. They had a timeout and 1:37 to go for the win. They drove 51 yards on four plays. Trubisky missed a pass and it was third and four. He completed a pass to Allen Robinson near the first down marker. Robinson inexplicably ran out of bounds a yard short of getting the first down. Montgomery tried to run for the first down but the Lions stuffed him short.
The Lions ended up doing to the Bears what Chicago did to them in Detroit in Week 1. They had no business winning this game the same way the Bears had no business winning in Detroit.
Now the Bears find themselves tied for last place. Their conference record of 5-5 is half a game better than Detroit’s 4-5 so they’re hanging by the skin of their teeth from finishing in the cellar of the NFC North for the fifth time in seven seasons. Despite having a very easy schedule for the last four weeks of the season, it’s difficult to see them win a game besides their matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16.
This is a team in shambles. Losing the way they did before this game is one thing — the offense struggled to move the ball. To have them lose a game in which they controlled throughout and seeing the offense play so well really has to be a punch in the gut for the team. As good as a cheerleader head coach Matt Nagy is, it’ll be very difficult to come back from this loss.
Time to break up the team
If the McCaskeys were undecided about what to do after the season this game pretty much convinces them to break up this team. I wrote last week that things won’t change if the Chicago Bears keep President and CEO Ted Phillips in the same position. The franchise has just three playoff wins in five appearances during his 21-year tenure. He continues to put in the wrong people to build the roster as general managers. Those general managers hire the wrong coaches to lead the players.
It seems that there are signals that big changes are coming. ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan reported that Phillips likely retires at the end of the season.
I got a text from a good friend who’s wildly connected in that building known as Halas Hall. You know what he said to me? I’m gonna throw it out there. I’m not gonna throw his name out there, but this guy has given me tips before. He texted me and said: “You didn’t get this from me, don’t be shocked if Ted Phillips announces he’s retiring at the end of the season.
If the report ends up being true, that is a great first step. The owners could then hire a football person to run the franchise. The McCaskey’s like Phillips, especially since he did a good job of making money for the team. Their fondness of Phillips probably kept them from firing him years ago.
General manager Ryan Pace took a huge chance by moving up in the 2017 draft to pick Trubisky. Watching two other quarterbacks picked after him, Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, play well makes it even worse. That, and not making the proper moves to build an adequate offense really sealed his fate. It’s time for him to go.
If the team hires a good football person, then a good rebuilding process could take place. The right general manager hires the right coach and makes the tough decisions on roster moves. Then the Bears could be on their way to returning to their glory days of being consistent title contenders. Chicago Bears Nation needs this.