The Chicago Bears planned to self scout after a frustrating home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. That coupled with a thirteen day layoff to heal the physical wounds, was supposed to be the recipe for a revitalized and re-energized effort to end their four game skid.
That plan went awry faster than you can say “Ya hey der.” By halftime, the Packers had torched the Bears for more points than any other team had scored on them all season, in a full game. Granted six of those came courtesy of a Mitch Trubisky fumble return for a touchdown. Nonetheless, the vaunted Chicago defense was picked apart by Aaron Rogers, who completed 21 of his 29 attempts for 211 yards without a single sack, interception, or turnover.
Yesterday was flat out embarrassing!-Matt Nagy on Monday after the game
That exclamation point came at the end of a long rambling answer to a question from ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson about whether or not Trubisky had played well enough to earn a start versus Detroit on Sunday. “He made some great third down throws. He made a great fourth down throw. The touchdown at the end of the second quarter was a hell of a decision and a great athletic play,” noted Nagy. “If you’re going to get behind like we did a be in a drop back game for as long as we were in it, it’s hard. It’s not easy, and you can’t play a normal game.” He went on to state that there were going to be errors in a catch up game, but also had praise for the offensive line and David Montgomery’s run game.
“We have to be able to play a game the three phases play together. Our defense knows how important they are to how we’re built. When we go out there on the field, we expect a three-an-out. If not, we expect a punt. That’s just who we are. When that doesn’t happen, it digs us in a hole. So we’re fighting and fighting and you get a deficit like that and it’s hard to overcome. An oh, by the way, it’s even more difficult when you’re playing Aaron Rogers.”
Then, the temperature in the room started to rise as he added, “We better wake our tails up. Every freakin’ coach on the staff. Every player better wake up and start understanding where we’re at. Have some personal pride. Have a freakin’ sense of urgency. Know where we’re at. Have some pride into who we’re playing for and why we doing this. And go find a way to win as a team. That’s my challenge to every single person in the building this week!”
If I had any perspective, not being able to play, or throw, or practice, so just being out there I was grateful for that. Obviously, it went bad for us. For me being out there and playing with them is better than sitting out. That would be the only positive takeaway for me. Just grateful for being healthy again.– Mitch Trubisky
Mitch didn’t spare anyone from critique, including himself. “Overall we were just playing from behind the whole time. Got to take away the turnovers. Got to protect the football. I can’t put the defense in tough spots. I can’t take the offense off the field like that with sudden changes. Putting the ball in harms way. You’re just not going to win game or be in games that way. After a game like that you just got to look in the mirror and see what you can continue to improve on and what can you do as a leader to lift up guys around you.”
Allen Robinson felt that the chemistry with Trubisky back under center was ‘solid.’ He added, “obviously there were some plays that everybody wanted [to have] back. But I can always play better.”
Why has this defense regressed from that of the previous two years? Remember that Eddie Goldman opted out this season due to Covid fears. The Bears let Leonard Floyd go so they wouldn’t be on the hook for $13.2 million in salary. They jettisoned a first round draft choice who was promptly picked up by the Rams. In his eleven games so far, Floyd has recorded seven sacks, equaling his career best season. Lastly, with Akiem Hicks on the sidelines, the team has found itself in another slump, not unlike 2019, when the star defensive lineman missed a slew of games at the end of the season.
Says Nagy, “we know what type of player that Akiem is, and where he’s at and what he’s been for this defense. At the same time it gives other players an opportunity for other guys to step up. Our job as coaches is to coach them as best we can and have them execute it.” Hicks’ replacement Brent Urban brings a lot of bark to the defense, but didn’t not have a lot of bite on Sunday night.
Trubisky seems penciled in at mid-week, but earlier Nagy did not want to commit, deferring to see the progression of Nick Foles’ injury. It’s hard to see how Foles would be an upgrade at the position. The Bears weak offensive line puts any quarterback in danger. At least Trubisky has mobility, and a threat to run. Plus, he’s 3-0 as a starter against the Lions. Detroit is also spiraling out of control, culminating in an Thanksgiving Day shellacking at the hands of the Texans that cost Matt Patricia his job as head coach. Furthermore, after several weeks of tough matchups, the Lions might just be the cure to the five game losing streak.