The Philadelphia Eagles were playing a “meaningless” game. The Cowboys won, which means that their NFC East Title Game is in primetime next week. Though, if they win out they could get the 3-seed. Chip Kelly said that resting his players was never in his mindset.
The Bears, however, came into this game with a win and they win the NFC North and make it back to the postseason. Well, they fell flat on their faces into a gargantuan mud puddle. Poor execution and a seemingly lack of urgency in a phases of the game put questions of “Can they rebound?”, “Wasn’t this supposed to be for the Division Title?” square in social media, fans mouths, and back into the heads and mouths of the sports media worlds.
The New York Giants eeked out an OT victory over the Lions, eliminating them from the playoffs and putting Head Coach Jim Schwartz on the hot-seat. The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a goaline stand in the Frozen-Tundra of Lambeau Field to beat the Packers, setting the stage for the Bears.
The Bears received the opening kickoff, went three-and-out, and the Adam Podlesh booted a 25-yard punt of the side of his foot. Chip Kelly and his offense are too good for that mistake. Easy 7 points. Then, Devin Hester, fumbled the kickoff. Easy 14-0. Another three-and-out. And then a 10 play drive. Before you could say, “Josh McCown”, the Bears were down 21-0. The Bears have stopped the Eagles twice, and could have made it a game, but nope, the 2nd highest scoring offense in the league looked like the Bears of old.
The Bears Defense has had a season’s worth of injuries to key players. Henry Melton, a pro-bowler, tore his ACL in week 3. Stephen Paea has been in-and-out, Lance Briggs broke his shoulder, and Brian Urlacher retired. Peanut Tillman has not been 100% and is on IR. Even more d-lineman have been injured. And the once “Monsters of the Midway” cannot force turnovers, pressure the QB, and stop the run. But the offense has flourished. The Defense has is last in the league in points and rushing yards, the first time in 93 seasons. And the offense is the highest they have been since the Sid Luckman days in 1943. It is a reversal of the “norm”
Mark Trestman has had success with QB’s his whole career, and is considered an “offensive genius”. Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer was with the high-octane New Orleans Saints. But against a mediocre Eagles defense, they could only muster 11 points. I am not saying the Bears should or even could win this game, but everyone thought that is would have been a shootout. An awesome, Oregon-esque scorefest. Instead, it was an Oregon game in the first-four weeks of the season. Marcus Mariota could have been on the sidelines at halftime, same with D’Anothony Thomas.
You hear coaches at blowout loses say the same types of media cliches: “We did not prepare well”, “We did not come ready to play”, “We are going to see how we rebound/deal with adversity”, and “We at least fought to the end.” Looking through Twitter, Facebook, and other media outlets, I hear the gamut of fandom: “Put in McCown!”, “Isn’t this for the titile?”, “Someone on the staff deserves to be fired!”
Chip Kelly’s scheme is a matchup nightmare. LeSean McCoy makes the LB’s and corners respect the play-action and read option. DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper are threats in all three-levels of the passing game. Nick Foles is a nearly flawless passer, with a 117 QBR. Their offensive line and wideouts block. It makes the defense have to respect and take that extra second to read the play, however, people have always been able to stop it. Dallas held the Eagles to 3 points, and the Eagles have lost five other games. Chicago Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker should have found something they could have used in game film. Lance Briggs should have found something as well. Jay Cutler did throw an INT, down 40-11 though,
Josh McCown would have not made a difference, neither would have a QB like Nick Foles or even Tom Brady in THIS game. The Bears offensive line could not stop the defense stunts, twists, and blitzes. It left Matt Forte to attempt to block Trent Cole. The Bears defense could not stop air. And now it is back to the drawing board to see if the Bears can beat the Packers, again, in an NFC North Title Game. Win, and this game fades slightly. Lose, and the Bears fans will rightfully question everything.