QUICK HITS – Bears @ Saints
Ryan Dengel (@bdrdengel)
The Bears lost 21-9 to the New Orleans Saints. Matt Nagy is now 0-2 in the postseason.
Missed Opportunities. The Bears came ready to play the heavily favored Saints, but had too many missed opportunities to eek out a win. It started with the dropped touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky to Javon Wims and it ended with Coach Nagy’s inability to go for it when the game was on the line. The Bears are an 8-9 team, and they lost like it.
Let’s dive in.
The Defense. I have to give credit where credit is due. The Bears defense came to play. Chuck Pagano had a decent game plan (I still think he should be relieved of his coaching duties after this game). Over the past few weeks, the Bears defense has declined rapidly, but they played well enough to stay in this game. They kept the Saints 5th ranked offense to 14 points all the way into the 4th quarter and did an especially good job against Alvin Kamara (his touchdown run came after an incredibly questionable call by the refs) and Michael Thomas.
Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley. Vildor is a rookie and Shelley is a second year player. Neither of them played like inexperienced CBs. This is a good sign, when Jaylon Johnson comes back, the CB position looks like you may be able figure something out with the very limited cap space the Chicago Bears have next year. If you’re reading between the lines, yes, I am saying that more than a few of our favorite Bears on defense won’t be wearing the orange and blue next season.
Mitchell Trubisky. This may have Mitch’s last game in a Bears uniform. He wasn’t the reason the Bears lost. He threw the ball well, including down the field, which isn’t his strong suit. The Bears coaching staff did little to put Mitch into a position to succeed. Mitch had a handful of bad plays (like every QB in the NFL), but losing this one wasn’t his fault.
Tashaun Gipson. The Bears safety had a helluva first half. He outplayed the safety on the other side of the field for the entire game. Eddie Jackson, I’m talking about Eddie. Eddie had an awful game, and played poorly all season long. I think he gets another season with Chicago, but wouldn’t be stunned if they traded Jackson away.
Jimmy Graham. Sure it was in garbage time, but Jimmy scored his NINTH touchdown this season. NINE. I couldn’t have been more wrong when I criticized Ryan Pace for signing the 34 year old tight end. I will talk more about this in my end of season wrap-up.
Matt Nagy. You knew this was coming. It was so clear that Matt has stepped-in to be more involved in the play-calling. Nagy has no rhythm and no confidence in his players. When Nagy decided to punt the ball down 21-3 late in the 4th quarter it was so clear that he needs to be relieved of his coaching duties immediately.
Nagy squandered a great defense for 3 years. Keeping Cody Parkey and Javon Wims, continuing to call plays when he is absolutely abhorrent as a play-caller, benching Trubisky for Foles, and continually mismanaging the clock and his players has proved this guy isn’t the Bears answer at head coach. More and more I look at the weapons that Ryan Pace acquired for Nagy, the more I think that Pace should stay, and Nagy should be removed as soon as possible. The night that Nagy was hired, I said that his hiring would be Marc Trestman 2.0. While it wasn’t that bad, Nagy is pretty terrible.
Two weeks in a row with the season on the line and the Bears managed 16 points, and 9 points respectively. (And lost by 19 points and 12) That’s because your head coach has no idea what he’s doing.
Javon Wims and Anthony Miller. Look, no one is going to accuse CJ Gardner-Johnson of being a good guy, but you can’t let him get under your skin. The Bears couldn’t afford to drop a perfectly thrown touchdown (Wims) or get ejected for fighting (Miller). Both WRs have hopefully played their last games as Chicago Bears.
The Refs. The Saints beat the Bears. This is not a fan complaining that a critical call didn’t go the Bears way. When the ref called an unsportsmanlike penalty on Bears TE Cole Kmet, I was appalled. He was tossing the ball to back the ref after the play was over. When Danny Trevethan was flagged for defensive pass interference in the end zone, I laughed out loud. It’s the playoffs, you have to let these players play.
The Chicago Bears. I hate that I love this team. Sure, I am emotional after two back to back blow-out losses to end the Bears season, but it sure feels like this team has no idea what it’s doing. There is seemingly no direction. Like a Matt Nagy run drive, they are just throwing things at the wall in hopes that something sticks. At every turn, this team makes terrible decisions after other equally terrible decisions. The Bears aren’t a relevant team right now, and it sure doesn’t feel like they’re going to get there any time soon. I was alive for the ‘85 Superbowl victory, but don’t remember it. Right now, I’m doubtful I will see another one in my lifetime.
I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to write/podcast for the Bear Down Report. I am so thankful that so many of you have reached out to me to say “hey dude, I look forward to your write-up every week” or “hey man, the podcast is sounding really good.” All of you who have supported BDR are more amazing than I can put into words. Thank you. I really hope that you will continue to follow, read and listen in 2021-2022. Follow me on Twitter (@bdrdengel), I love following people back and interacting with other Bears fans. The truth is, I am a lifelong fan that was given an amazing opportunity to talk about the team that I love. All of you reading and listening, gave me that opportunity. Thank you.
The Bears played this playoff game like an 8-8 team. The Saints played like a rusty playoff-caliber team ready to make a deep run this year. Good luck to them. I hope Drew Brees’ last season ends with him (or anyone) beating Aaron Rogers.
Please look for some post-season podcasts and write-ups coming your way very soon.
Bear Down my friends.