With Bears eliminated from playoffs, attention shifts to GM and coach’s future – Chicago Bears blog
The lament crossed the ESPN show on Monday night. As Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy considered challenging an appeal in the second half of his team’s 17-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, a Soldier Field fan spoke for many.
“Upon closer examination,” the fan could be heard shouting, “we suck!”
It was that sort of night for the Bears, who lost a relatively solid defensive performance in a mistake-filled loss to rival NFC North. In the process, the Bears became the fifth NFL team to be eliminated from the playoffs, a long-awaited outcome that will shift attention to the future of general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.
Nagy called the games offensive on Monday night, with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor on the COVID-19 list. He received one of the Bears’ five personal fouls for arguing with an official and later admitted it was an “emotional game.” He took responsibility for the Bears ‘offensive woes – “It starts with me and it ends with me,” he said – but insisted he appreciated his players’ investment in the game. .
âIt would be one thing if our guys came out and said, ‘You know, we’ve got four wins and we’reâ¦ at a point where we’re going to check,'” he said. “And our guys don’t do that.”
The NFL instituted a new rule that allows teams to begin interviewing 2022 coaching candidates on Monday. Would that encourage President George McCaskey to take a step in the coming days? The Bears have had two playoff seasons since hiring Pace in 2015, one under coaches John Fox and Nagy.
McCaskey has some decisions to make, and now – if he didn’t know before – he won’t have to factor in a late-season playoff run.
Promising trend: After replacing their entire defensive secondary due to COVID-19 absences, the Bears kept Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins ââat his lowest overall assists in 118 career starts. Cousins ââhad 87 yards on 24 attempts, of which he completed 12. While the high school held firm, the Bears were successful mainly because their pass rush harassed Cousins ââall night. They’ve sacked him four times, including two by defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and two by rusher Robert Quinn, the most Cousins ââhave been sacked this season. As they prepare for the seasons to come, no matter who the GM or coach is, the Bears need to know there are some aspects of their defenses that they can rely on.
QB distribution: Quarterback Justin Fields produced effective passing numbers, completing 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards and a touchdown on the last play of the game. But he couldn’t get the Bears into the end zone on four trips to the red zone, the team’s worst performance in the red zone since 2010. Fields added two more fumbles to his tally of 12, topped the NFL, losing one and took a total of three sacks – two of which dropped 14 yards. He’s had some worse starts this season, but it’s hard to imagine anyone watching his performance Monday night and thought he was set to be one of the NFL’s next big quarterbacks.
Pivot game: There were two, and both were penalties. The first came when the Vikings faced the third and -18 in the third quarter. Bears cornerback Teez Tabor was penalized for a low block as he faced Vikings defenseman Dalvin Cook for a 5-yard gain. The 15-yard penalty gave the Vikings a first try. The second came later in practice, when Bears defensive lineman Tashaun Gipson pushed Vikings tight end Luke Stocker after Cook lost two yards on the third and third. Those two penalties totaled 30 yards, converted two third downs, and gave the Vikings their second touchdown and a 17-3 lead.