The Chicago Bears finally ran out of luck falling 19-11 to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. This after two fourth-quarter comebacks and two red-zone stands in the previous weeks. Their offense that showed up for one quarter, then two, then one again showed up for none. Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Bears either so let’s look at what went wrong in Week 4.
Luck Runs Out For Bears vs. Colts
Offense Stayed in Atlanta
Don’t be fooled by the final score, Bears fans. Chicago basically scored three points in this one, picking up a touchdown to Allen Robinson (7-101-1) and two-point conversion in very late garbage time. The field goal came on their lone drive with any semblance of rhythm and even that was undone by a botched play. The Bears struggled to do anything as they limped to fewer than 300 yards of total offense for the first time this season.
Facing the Andy Reid coaching tree has seemed to be an issue for Matt Nagy. He’s now 0-4 against the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, and Kansas City Chiefs with his offense only scoring four touchdowns, just two of which have been passing. Granted he has had the short end of the talent stick with regards to quarterbacks in these matchups and Sunday proved no different. What it really showed, though, was Nagy too has been part of the offense’s issues.
The Bears ran only nine times in the first half. One of those was a handoff to rookie Darnell Mooney and another was a Nick Foles Scramble. Only six carries went to David Montgomery (13 touches, 57 yards) as Nagy looked to get Cordarrelle Patterson involved early and often. For the game, Montgomery had just 13 touches for 57 yards. Nagy said in his day after presser that the Bears have to be able to run the ball, but 16 carries in a game isn’t going to get the job done, no matter how dominant the Colts line, especially Justin Houston and DeForest Buckner, looked.
Bears coach Matt Nagy says holding an opponent to 19 points should win you a game.
NFL teams that allowed 19 points or fewer have won 82% of their games in 2019 & '20 . The Bears have now lost four times when holding the opponent to 19 or fewer.
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) October 5, 2020
Chicago seemed intent on getting the ball to Mooney (5-52) early on. Perhaps that was due to some comfort between him and Foles in practice, but either way, the offense looked much better when they started getting the ball to Robinson and Jimmy Graham (4-33). The rookie still came in second to Robinson in targets; an interesting development with Anthony Miller (3-16) being so inconsistent.
Nagy also seemed intent on getting Patterson some totes in the wake of Tarik Cohen’s season-ending injury. Most assumed that would mean more work for Montgomery but to think it would mean less is ridiculous. The 10 carries were the fewest were the third-fewest he’s had in a game in his young career. Gameflow could be an explanation but the Bears were never more than two scores down. With Foles’ mobility nowhere near Mitchell Trubisky’s the Bears need to establish the run now more than ever.
Cole Kmet got one target in this one, which he failed to bring in. That brings him up to a grand total of three targets over four games with just one catch and 12 yards to show for it. Comparatively, free-agent signee Demetrius Harris, who was touted for his blocking prowess, has seven targets and four catches with five targets in the last two weeks. This includes three targets in the rally at Atlanta; a game in which Kmet wasn’t targeted. A pick that was questioned at the time is looking even more suspect as the year has gone on.
The #Bears are the only team in the NFL without a rushing touchdown.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) October 5, 2020
Hol(e)y Defense, Batman!
The defense got picked apart without the gifts of dropped passes at the goal line or interceptions from the opposing quarterback. Grated they had their opportunities for takeaways but couldn’t seal the deal. Khalil Mack’s near pick of Philip Rivers and Roquan Smith’s pick off of Tashaun Gipson’s deflection that got overturned could have turned the tides of this one. Instead, the Bears watched as the Rivers and the Colts did just enough to put up some points as their defense held Chicago in check.
Colts rookie Jonathan Taylor didn’t have a great day on the ground, but he did get above his per-carry average for the season (3.8) picking up yards at a 4.0 clip. Nyheim Hines added 24 yards in relief but the good note is the Bears contained him as a receiver out of the backfield. There were still too many gashing runs highlighting the need for a real replacement for Eddie Goldman in the middle. Snacks Harrison should be at Halas Hall immediately.
Zach Pascal ate rookie Jaylon Johnson up on a deep ball on the Colts touchdown drive. But it was Kyle Fuller who was seen jogging behind Mo Alie-Cox on the score itself. The Bears managed to hold Rivers to 55 percent completion, his worst of the season. But their coverage of tight ends is a big issue. It starts with the linebackers as Danny Trevathan has become a part-time player. Chicago has allowed just three passing touchdowns this season. All three have been by tight ends.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 5, 2020
Doing too Much
This has been a theme of the franchise as a whole. But this regime headed by Ryan Pace seems to be a case study in doing too much. From hiring John Fox over Bruce Arians over control of the coaching staff to then freezing Fox out of the discussion on drafting Trubisky, to the drafting of Trubisky over…well, you know. There was even talk Pace got the job as Bears general manager over Chris Ballard because they feared the latter was “too close” to the organization.
So Nagy’s pulling of Trubisky in last week’s game wasn’t necessarily rushed. It might still prove to be the right decision. The entire process has felt mishandled. All the way back to the trade for Foles as opposed to some of the options that signed cheaper deals and are performing better so far. But all of this is how the Bears have operated for some time. These Bears won’t get long to sulk, they face the red hot Tampa Bay Buccanneers and Tom Brady on Thursday.
Penalties are becoming a problem too. Chicago is currently fifth in the league in calls against them and had eight more on Sunday. The defense has been the more egregious of the three phases. They have the second-most defensive holding and roughing the passer penalties called against them.
Short Memory, Week for Out of Luck Bears
At 3-0 the Bears were a deeply-flawed team that was in the driver’s seat nonetheless. At 3-1, they are right back where they were in a 2019 season worth forgetting. This in the wake of a franchise-altering quarterback change, Chicago is now under the microscope. Pace, Nagy, the entire roster, and even those above Pace, have to face intense scrutiny over what happens next. Will this team rollover, proving their hot start a fluke? Or will they justify Pace’s spending on Robert Quinn and Nagy’s decision to move on from Trubisky? Those are questions that might not get answered against Tampa.
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