The 2019 NFL opener for the Chicago Bears was supposed to be the next step towards a deeper run in the playoffs. As one sports reporter commented during the walk back from the post game locker room to the press box, “It was the fifth exhibition game.”
Perhaps the blame for that lies in the new trend of starters not playing in the preseason. Aaron Rogers was 18-30 with the only touchdown of the game. Mitch Trubisky went 25-46 with a lot of those attempts late in the fourth quarter, with the resulting interception snared by former Bear Adrian Amos in the end zone.
Aside from Packer fans, the only people excited by the final score would have been the bettors that selected the under. The thirteen total points were fathoms below the 46.5 pregame over/under.
Obviously, I hold myself to a high standard, and I didn’t play great tonight, but to watch a defense like that, man, that gives you a lot of confidence about where this team can go in a game where most people thought we were going to get probably trounced, to have them play that well and to win in a tough environment against the reigning NFC North champs, that’s going to be a fun plane ride.-Aaron Rogers after the game
Neither team surpassed fifty yards rushing. Even though the NFL is becoming a pass first league, those numbers are paltry. It was inevitable that the question of preseason play was going to be brought up after the game. Trubisky addressed it saying, “the snaps in the preseason has nothing to do with the way we execute or the sloppiness of tonight because we weren’t doing that in practice. We were smooth in practice, it was crisp getting in and out of the huddle, getting calls in and just everyone doing their job and executing our plays. So it just seemed a little scattered tonight with all our personnels and just trying to find a rhythm and trying to find our identity on offense, and we just put ourselves in bad situations and shot ourselves in the foot. You could maybe attribute it to that, but I think it’s kind of a stretch.”
It’s just we were uncharacteristic of usually who we were tonight as an offense, and I think we just need to do our job. But we just couldn’t find a rhythm, and I don’t think it’s because we didn’t play in the preseason, because we were rolling in practice, and it just didn’t translate the week of practice we had to the game. We’re going to look at the film and try to find out why and make sure it doesn’t happen again.-Mitch Trubisky
Trubisky found himself in passing situations too often where the pocket was collapsing around him. All-pro offensive lineman Kyle Long echoed the sentiments of his line mates. “We have to clean up some things offensively,” he stated afterwards. “It falls on us. The guys up front will talk about little things you want to do. I’ve said it the last seven years, losses usually come down to [the guys] up front. There are things I wish I would have done better. The guys around me I’m sure would say the same thing. We need to come back and support the special teams and defense with a much better performance next week and it starts tonight with looking at the iPads and getting a feeling of what happened in the game. Being able to move forward and try to make progress.”
The Bears were a very disciplined team in 2018, yet they committed ten penalties, some in the most inopportune times. One such instance occurred early in the fourth quarter, as the Bears had started to gain some momentum. Chicago had the ball on the Green Bay 43, after the Packers unsuccessfully challenged a pass interference call. On three successive plays, the Bears were flagged for holding, illegal use of hands, and offensive pass interference, sending them back to their own 27.
Another crucial mistake inside Packer territory resulted in the Bears getting hit with a delay of game penalty that moved them to the edge of new kicker Eddy Pineiro’s range. Chicago opted to go for it on fourth and ten at the Packer 33, and came up short.
Pineiro, however garnered the only accolades from the crowd when he put the Bears on the board with a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter. “It was an emotional game for me,” he said. “Coming from being injured last year and finally playing my first NFL game, it felt amazing. I’m happy I made my first kick. I felt confident.”
On Monday after the game, Nagy tried to put things into perspective. “I told the players last night that it starts with me. I need to be better. And I will be better. And I’m going to demand that from myself, from our coaches, and from our players. Good coaches figure out the ‘why’ part. They don’t get upset, and start pointing fingers, or get frustrated. Last night, that was tough, and I’m not talking about right after the game. I’m talking the whole night, and even this morning. You still feel it.”
I have this competitiveness in me that I’m not going to let that take away the way I’m going to attack this next week. I’m gonna use this to make me a better coach. And we’re going to use it as a team. I need to be better. There’s no doubt about it.-Matt Nagy
Despite the angst in Chicago over the anemic performance by the offense, it should be remembered the this defense held a health Aaron Rogers and his potent Green Bay offense to just ten points. It doesn’t get any easier next week. The Bears travel to Denver to face the Broncos, coached by their former defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio. Fangio knows these players very well, so the Bears better be much more prepared.
@radiomogul tagged: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, NFL, Mitch Trubisky, Matt Nagy, Aaron Rogers