The Chicago Bears lose two in a row. The Saints outplayed, outhustled, and outcoached Chicago in two of three phases during a route at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears (3-3) fall flat at home against a hobbled Saints (6-1) squad 36 – 25. No Drew Brees, no problem. Backup Teddy Bridgewater showcased his first-round talents against a stingy Chicago defense. The Bears offense stalled for most of the game until garbage time. It is time to find purpose in the Windy City before it is too late.
Matt Nagy and Company have laid an egg following a bye week for the second straight season. Whatever goes on at Halas Hall during extended time off needs to change. The Bears were favored in this one at home due to a rash of injuries in New Orleans. The offense couldn’t buy a first down while the defense collapsed in the second half. This does not resemble a playoff team. As Chicago searches for answers, Green Bay and Minnesota continue rolling along for consecutive wins.
The Bears are moving in the wrong direction. That was not supposed to be the case after a shocking loss to the Raiders in Oakland. The bye was supposed to offer a combination of reflection and preparation. Nagy’s leadership was a huge let down in this one.
This game showcased the best ran organization in the NFC. Ironically, Ryan Pace has a New Orleans blueprint somewhere laying around his office since he migrated north from NOLA. Do not be surprised if he is making some calls after the season for one player in particular, namely Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater executed a thoughtful attack that kept the Bears on their heals. The balanced game-plan by Sean Payton caught Chicago’s defense off-guard. The ability to execute was the difference between these ball clubs. The Saints were able to execute and the Bears weren’t, simple as that. They did it without a future Hall of Fame QB and a Pro Bowl running back.
This loss reminded Bears fans that last year might just be an anomaly. National pundits picked Chicago as a team to fall back to Earth after a meteoric rise last season. Mitchell Trubisky has clearly regressed. The offensive line is no longer a strength nor is the running game. The defense is not concrete, nor should it be. It is a formidable unit that is capable of making game-changing plays. It cannot make those plays if it is expected to be on the field for the majority of the game.
The loss of Akiem Hicks is proving to be detrimental to the run defense. His presence was last felt when his unit held Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook to under 50 yards. Since his injury in London, his unit has yielded over 125 yards or more. That will not fly in the NFL. Not when the offense sputters along like an old jalopy.
Where is the creativity?
Nagy, the head coach, has a handle on it. Nagy, the play-caller looks like a man that lost his way. For the second time in six games, he has dialed up 15 or less run plays on offense. That is not a recipe for success in this league when the quarterback is inept.
Time of possession is the name of the game when playing a potent New Orleans offense. That is the only way a defense has a chance, even this defense. However, Nagy has gone pass-happy drunk. The only problem is Trubisky may not be the man who can deliver on 45+ attempts a game. He is proving that this season. It must sting Pace since he made the move for “his quarterback” but that pick has not delivered. However, twi quarterbacks chosen after him are in the MVP race
Nagy: "I know we need to run the ball more. I'm not an idiot. We need to do it."
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) October 21, 2019
The Bears were blown out in this one until about five minutes left in the embarrassing affair. The whole game was a mess. The only phase that shows promise is the special teams. In fact, the team MVP right now is Eddie Pineiro. He has gone 20/21 combined on the year. He has kicked while injured. He nearly executed two successful onside kicks (one called back) in one game.
The Bears are now on the outside looking in and no one seems to offer any answers, only more questions. That has to be unsettling for an organization that had such high hopes coming into the season. The locker room seems to be good for now. How long can a crafty Nagy keep his positivity afloat if the losing continues?
Here are comments from Tarik Cohen:
Cohen: "The guys we have in this locker room are high character guys, and we're all ready to find that solution or be that solution."
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 21, 2019
The NFC North is vastly improved and like years past the Bears find themselves on the outside looking in. The Chargers come to town this week. Although the Chicago finds itself within an existential crisis, the Chargers are playing bad football right now. This becomes a “Must-Win” situation for the Bears if they plan to remain in the playoff hunt. Thankfully, this is about the time Chicago made a run last season finishing 9-1 to lock up a No. 3 seed in the NFC.
Anything can happen but “Stella needs to get her groove back.”