Chicago Bears Get Rammed Out of NFC Playoff Race

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The Chicago Bears (4-6) fell to the Los Angeles Rams (6-4) on Sunday Night Football in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum by a score of 17-7. With six losses already on their resume, the Bears are in danger of being eliminated from the NFC Playoff race with six games to go. The Bears got rammed in essence by two missed field goals, ineffective quarterback play, and inexplosive offensive playmakers.

Chicago Bears Rammed Out of NFC Playoff Race

Should they get hot and win out, Chicago could be 10-6 but possibly still on the outside looking in. Currently, there are nine teams ahead of them in the NFC with two NFC North opponents already at eight wins (Green Bay Packers 8-2 and Minnesota Vikings 8-3). The two current Wild Card leaders are the Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks (8-2). In addition, the Rams (6-4), Philadelphia Eagles (5-5), and Carolina Panthers (5-5) lie ahead of Chicago in their chase for back-to-back playoff appearances.

As a Bears fan, I must admit I am deeply disappointed in the team this year. 2019 was supposed to be Chicago’s year. After finishing 12-4 last year and winning the NFC North Championship, a young Bears team [seventh-youngest team (average age 26.1 years in 2018) according to Football Outsiders Almanac 2019] with a second-year head coach and a third-year quarterback were bound and determined to improve the offense to help out a fantastic defense.

Offensive Struggles Continue

Instead, the offense took a step back. Why? That is one of the hardest questions to answer. There are plenty of reasons. In this sort of thing, there always are, but the bottom line is quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has not improved. In fact, he may have even regressed. His relationship with head coach and play-caller Matt Nagy has worsened. I don’t mean to suggest they are on bad terms. However, it seems like Nagy doesn’t trust his quarterback and Trubisky is overthinking everything. He’s not going out there and playing for fun. He’s paralyzed by his progressions and his thought process that is seemingly putting his feet in quicksand.

The lack of weapons at tight end and receiver is hurting this offense too. Tight end Trey Burton was put on injured reserve (I.R.) to end his lousy season. Plus, the offensive line isn’t blocking well enough. The run/pass ratio is bizarre (10th-highest passing rate at 62 percent pass/run ratio). And why does Tarik Cohen almost always run out of bounds on zero yard patterns? In the words of legendary coach Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is goin’ on out here?”

What’s Wrong With the Defense?

Meanwhile, the defense hasn’t been as dominant either. The three main factors contributing to the Monsters of the Midway’s demise were the injuries to All-Pro Akiem Hicks and Pro Bowler Danny Trevathan, the lack of takeaways (13th this year with 14 takeaways as compared to last year’s Bears who led the NFL with 36 according to The Football Database), and the switch to new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.

The Kicking is… Oh No

In addition, this year’s new kicker Eddy Pineiro has lost one or two games by missing field goals. The bright spot was he did win the game at Denver with a long 53-yard field goal at the gun. Nonetheless, we can’t forget he blew the potential 41-yard game-winner against the Los Angeles Chargers and then missed two this week at the Rams. If he made those field goals maybe the Bears would be 6-4 instead of 4-6.

This year has been a case of “if it can go wrong it will go wrong” bad luck. Things just aren’t meshing. I guess it’s not the Bears year. Sad!

Game Balls

Cohen receives our first Game Ball Award for the Rams game. He ran nine times for 39 yards (4.3 average) with a long of 12 yards. Amazingly, this was Cohen’s season-long carry. 12 yards! He also caught five passes on six targets for 35 yards and one touchdown. I think the Bears would take Cohen’s 74 yards and a score every week if they could. This proves that more playmakers are needed on this struggling offense.

Our second Game Ball goes to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He made seven total tackles, six of which were solo. He also recovered a fumble to give the Bears their second takeaway of the game. In a defensive struggle, two takeaways should have been enough to win but with Chicago’s offensive problems including two missed field goals and a turnover of their own, it was not enough to turn defeat into victory. Nonetheless, a good effort by Clinton-Dix.

Player of the Game

Our Week 11 Player of the Game goes to Roquan Smith. Smith led the Bears in total tackles with 11, six of which were solo stops. He also had a tackle for loss and a pass defended. Plus, Smith made an excellent play to intercept Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Smith was flying around causing havoc in the Rams running game, holding Todd Gurley to 3.9 yards per carry and the Los Angeles team rushing game to just 3.2 yards per carry on 34 total team carries. As mentioned above, in most games Smith’s effort should have been enough to lead to victory, but instead the ‘Bears got Rammed’. That’s the story of the 2019 Chicago Bears.

Next up in Week 12

The New York Giants (2-8) travel to Chicago to face the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. We’ll be back later this week for our Preview and Prediction.

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