Bears

Why play calling was biggest offender in Bears embarrassing loss

Bears

The Bears offense has been embarrassed by the Rams defense twice in three years now. The team has switched running backs, quarterbacks, o-line coaches and offensive coordinators, but the results have been the same. That’s not to take anything away from the Rams, since they field an elite defense. But when pushed against some of the best in the conference, the Bears offense looks uglier than they usually do on a weekly (and now yearly) basis.

Frustration obviously runs high after a demoralizing loss like the Bears suffered on Monday night, but the Football Aftershow crew didn’t mince words when assessing the problem after the game.

“From the last three years, I mean that’s what we're looking at,” said Alex Brown. “We're looking at the same type of offense. Now the only thing that hasn’t changed is Coach Nagy, and him calling the plays. So if you're calling these plays, and you're only averaging 11 points against this defense, you're the problem. I mean we need to stop beating around the bush here. Him calling the plays is the problem.

“It’s not working for this offense, they’re not getting in position to be successful, honestly.”

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To be fair, Brown recognizes the Bears aren’t executing when things do work as they’re drawn up. But the negatives outweigh the positives.

“It doesn’t help when he makes the right call, and then a guy gets beat by a block or a guy runs a wrong route,” Brown said. “But a lot of times you see it, it's 4th-and-1, it’s 3rd-and-2, and you take your bellcow running back out of the backfield to put a receiver-slash-special teams guru back there.”

 

Brown is referring to Nagy’s frequent decisions to run the ball with Cordarrelle Patterson instead of David Montgomery in high-leverage situations. That decision seems not to work more often than not.

“You don’t have to put a laser pointer up to know what you are dealing with in the Rams defensive line,” said Lance Briggs. “You know, this team, they get after it. You have to have a plan for this type of attack. You know that, like Olin said, your offensive line is above average at best. Now you lost two of your guys, you’ve got to have a plan set in to try and nullify or slow down their biggest asset.”

On the other side of the field, the Rams offense had to deal with a similarly fearsome Bears’ defensive line. But Olin Kreutz thought Sean McVay was more effective at helping his offense slow down the Bears’ pass rush

“They faked jet sweep, then they ran the jet sweep,” Kreutz said. “It got them in trouble once, but at least they’re trying to help their offensive line out with counters and things of this nature.”

“You look at (the Rams’) left tackle and he’s 38 years old,” added Brown. “C’mon. I’m going  with Khalil Mack on him any day of the week. But we just couldn’t seem to get that pressure because they had a tight end there, a running back there, chipping. Somebody all the time was in his face. When they weren’t we got pressure, but the pressure wasn’t enough because once they got the ball off there was somebody running wide open.”

“If you take the game as a whole, I didn’t see a screen pass,” Kreutz said. “If you’re facing a ferocious pass rush, you’ve got to see at least one screen pass out there.”

Brown corrected him saying there was one screen pass late in the game, but said it was too little, too late.

“You’ve got to see that early on,” Brown said. “You’ve got to put that in (the defenses’) head earlier.”

“The thing that frustrates me is that the 49ers put it on film last week,” Kreutz said. “Then you didn’t see any of it today, so that was a little bit frustrating.”

As for Nick Foles’ first interception in the back of the end zone. The guys say you can’t fully blame Foles on that either, even though it was a bad decision to throw that ball.

“It was a horrible call,” said Brown. “You take Kmet off the field, you take Jimmy Graham off the field, and you throw it to the smallest receiver you’ve got in the back of the end zone. I don’t really get that.

 

“I think Foles should have thrown the ball out of bounds. He should’ve known at that point in time in the game you want to get points… so that was a bad play by Foles, but more of this is falling on Nagy to me.

“The quarterback is changing, but the points on the scoreboard aren’t changing.”