“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” was a slogan that began in the early 1970’s.
The 2020 Chicago Bears should adopt “A defense is a terrible thing to waste” as their slogan.
Indeed, a defense that held Minnesota’s offense to ten points less than they’ve averaged over the previous six games, had to stand on the sidelines while their paltry offense didn’t even reach the end zone. Cordarrelle Patterson got the team’s lone touchdown on a 104-yard kickoff return to start the second half. Kicker Cairo Santos was Chicago’s leading scorer with two field goals and an extra point.
During this four-game losing streak, it has been a broken record of a defense doing everything possible to keep it’s counterparts in the game, combined with an inept offense. After the game Matt Nagy restated the obvious, “we struggled mightily on offense and having the four three and outs in the second half. We had field position. We couldn’t convert on that in the red zone. So I just, it overshadows how well I thought our defense played and the different sudden changes that they had and how well our special teams played. I was proud of those guys. So two out of the three parts right now are playing well and it’s been a constant theme for us and we, the field position, to me, has been a struggle to us this year. That was not the case tonight.”
So in these type of positions when you get a chance, even at the end of the game there, to go ahead and get a touchdown and with them missing an extra point, an extra point wins it. It’s been the same stuff over and over-Matt Nagy
On that point he’s right. The same stuff over and over. Even as the offensive line regains its composure, this team has no running game. Chicago managed a mere 41 yards on the ground. Teams know this and stack the front line. As Nagy has said recently, his teams are constantly in second and long, and third and long. Even a modest pass rush has been effective at shutting down this team. Foles is trapped in his own pocket, lacking the mobility to scramble out more than a few yards. It was a weapon that has been missing since Mitch Trubisky was benched. Trubisky started three games, all won by the Bears. In contrast, Foles is 2-5 in his seven games since taking the reins.
Nagy was asked about the possibility of Mitch’s return. “I don’t know yet about Mitch,” he says. “I think — I hate to say — I think there’s a possibility, but I don’t know that for sure. I think it’s going to be day by day. I don’t know if he knows that. So we’ll just keep an eye on that. Obviously with Nick’s status, we’ll have to see where that’s at as we go. But we’ll keep an eye on that and we’ll, again, like I said, with the bye week coming at the right time, this is when we would need it to come.”
The fact that the injury Trubisky suffered against New Orleans on his one and only play in the game wasn’t season ending sends a ray of hope. Especially for anyone who thought he had played his last down in a Bears uniform.
In the locker room Eddie Jackson addressed his teammates. “The message was just accountability,” he told the media, “speaking to each other, being that voice on both sides of the ball. We got a lot of guys on both sides of the ball that can speak up that has powerful voice, but I feel like kind of afraid to use it. You can’t be afraid to use your voice. If you’re a leader on this team, guys look up to you. You got to use it. Regardless of what coach think or whatever, whoever thinks, you got to use your voice. You got to the hold each other accountable. Like I said, you see guys coming off the field,
they head down, no one says nothing to them. That has to change. If you see somebody holding his head — we’re a team. It’s not going to go perfect. You see these four weeks, it’s not going to be perfect.”
So if you see a guy with his head down, lift your head up, come on next play. Have that mindset, that next play mentality that no matter how bad it gets, we’re going to continue to fight and that’s what we need to fix right now.-Eddie Jackson
Patterson took his play in stride, giving props to his special teams mates. “Honestly, I just got to give it up to those 10 guys, man, that was blocking for me. They did a heck of a job and we work it every week. Every week at practice, we just, every time we get the ball, we want to go out there on kickoff return and score and them boys did a heck of a job. They had a lane open for me to, no way I could have missed it, so I got through and we got
the touchdown.” After that return, Minnesota did everything they could to direct kicks away from Patterson for the rest of the game.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called it a good team win. “You know, we overcame some things defensively. I thought we played outstanding tonight. Young secondary and really Cousins, I thought he played great. That’s a tough group defensively to run the ball against, but we kept sticking with it. We didn’t have as much production as we hoped, but we had enough. We kept the time of possession really good for us, and I thought we played really hard tonight. Fortunate to come out here with a win.”
Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins first thoughts turned to his counterpart, Nick Foles who was injured late in the game. Then he stated, “[It’s] just great to get a win against a divisional opponent at their place, a tough place to play. It’s a really good defense we played tonight. I felt like they showed it all game long. Yards were tough to come by, points were tough to come by, they were able to contain our run game for the most part, and that is why it was so important to have success in the passing game and have success on third downs. They was also a very good defense, are a very good defense, on third down and in the red zone, so got to give the defense a ton the credit for holding the Bears to only really six points. Just proud of our team for the work we’ve put in the last few weeks and results we’ve been able to get.”
The Bears have a bye week to lick their wounds and as Nagy put it, to do some “self scouting.” Then the Green Bay Packers come calling. Certainly Aaron Rogers is eager to pile onto Chicago’s misery.