Bears film review: All about 'Willy Wonka'


Bears film review: All about 'Willy Wonka'

The first time Chase Daniel trotted out to line up next to Mitch Trubisky — which elicited plenty of “huh" or more profane reactions from the crowd at Soldier Field — we didn’t get to see exactly what bizarreness Matt Nagy had concocted. 

Kyle Long was guilty of a false start on that play, which came early in the second quarter with the Bears facing a first-and-goal from the four-yard line. Trubisky found Tarik Cohen for a nine-yard touchdown on the next play, but Nagy wasn’t ready to punt that strange look just yet. 

“Chase couldn’t get his helmet on soon enough to get in there,” Nagy said. “And I know Kyle wasn’t going to hear the end of it if we didn’t get a second shot at it.”

Added Daniel: “We were trying to run it the first time and (false started), and right when I came off the field (Nagy) said we’re coming right back to it.”

So the next time the Bears got to the right distance from the goal line — about seven minutes of game time later in the second quarter — out again came Daniel to line up next to Trubisky. 

The play was called “Willy Wonka,” which came from a collective brainstorming session in the Bears’ quarterback room. 

“When you can just go ahead and give it a two-word name, they remember that,” Nagy said. “You can sit there and say, ‘Squeeze left, Y left, Zebra right, counter motion, such-and-such, such-and-such – then you look up at the (play) clock and there’s 14 seconds on it. But you go ‘Willy Wonka’ and boom, they know it, they remember it. it’s crazy how they think but it works and when you give them ownership on that kind of stuff, it’s fun for them.”

So how did this play actually work? 

First, Taylor Gabriel (blue arrow) comes in motion from the far sideline and lines up between wide receiver Kevin White and left tackle Charles Leno, about two yards behind the line of scrimmage. Then, Trey Burton (red arrow) comes in motion from the far sideline, stops behind Gabriel, and runs back across the offensive line to get set between right tackle Bobby Massie and wide receiver Allen Robinson. 

“There’s two quarterbacks, you got me going in motion, you have Trey going in motion, it’s just a lot of things going on,” Gabriel said. 

Trubisky completes what’s essentially a touch pass to Gabriel — he barely has the ball for a half-second before popping it to the wide receiver, who’s quickly accelerating to the far sideline as he catches the ball. In the yellow circle, three Tampa Bay defenders are surrounding White, while cornerback M.J. Stewart (white arrow) is slow to read the play. Burton (red circle) seals off defensive end Vinny Curry, while Robinson (green arrow) moves toward engaging cornerback Brent Grimes. 

Meanwhile, Trubisky fakes a zone read mesh point with Daniel only after he’s flipped the ball to Gabriel. 

“(There was) a lot of confusion on the other side of the ball,” Daniel said. 

The alternate viewpoint shows just how rooted Stewart’s feet were when the pass was made. An already depleted and scrambled Tampa Bay defense was going to have a tough time stopping this play, so in that sense, it was an ideal time to use it. 

“Just the misdirection and all the motion, it kind of confuses the defense a little bit,” Gabriel said. “And I think that’s what happened, they kind of got confused and then I came out scot free open and got the touchdown.”

Robinson delivers a strong block on Grimes, and when Gabriel plants and cuts inside, Stewart is too late getting there and can only shoulder-bump the Bears’ receiver as he goes into the end zone for a touchdown. 

Robinson delivers a strong block on Grimes, and Stewart is too late getting to Gabriel when the Bears receiver cuts inside. Stewart can only shoulder-bump Gabriel as he easily gets into the end zone for a touchdown. 

“I think that's why it opened up so much because they know about (Daniel's) run ability and his break tackles and spin moves,” Trubisky said. “Just the running threat he brings to the offense. But that was a really fun play that we had in practice. Chase was a big part of coming up with it, and it opened right up just the way we drew it up.”  


Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said Nagy was the one who came up with the concept for the play — “His mind can go a little with being creative, which was awesome,” he said — while Daniel and the Bears’ other quarterbacks had input on how it was schemed, named and executed. 

There is, of course, a method to Nagy’s madness here. Using a play that has two quarterbacks on the field at the same time is unorthodox, but Gabriel said there wasn’t a lack of trust from players when Willy Wonka was called. Instead, it was the opposite — the thought was, if Nagy is willing to call this play, he trusts us to execute it. 

“I believe in him, and he believes in us,” Gabriel said. 

“Just the swag,” he added when asked why he liked the play call. “The confidence in us to go through with those type of formations and schemes. And that’s what you get when you get coach Nagy, just the swag and confidence.”

But for as cool, or fascinating, or bizarre — whatever adjective you want to use — as this play was, Nagy was still sticking his neck out a bit in calling it. FOX’s television broadcast of the game ripped the play call when it was first used (after Long was flagged for the false start), for example. 

“When they work, they’re awesome,” Nagy said. “When they don’t work, they’re not too awesome.”

The road to Super Bowl LIV filled with plenty of intrigue for Bears fans


The road to Super Bowl LIV filled with plenty of intrigue for Bears fans

Super Bowl LIV is going to have plenty of intrigue for Bears fans. There are many connections in terms of the players in the game and each team's journey to Super Bowl LIV contained plenty of points of interest for the Chicago fan base along the way. With the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers set to faceoff on February 2, 2020, let's take a look at the most important connections for Bears fans to monitor and think back on as they prepare for the big game. 

Aaron Rodgers' big dud:

Aaron Rodgers, who has otherwise had a great season (4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns), laid an absolute dud in the first half against the 49ers, resulting in the Packers entering the half down 27-0. In Rodgers' first-half performance he threw for under 70 yards, had one interception, and two fumbles, losing one of them. 

There is no shame in playing poorly against the San Francisco defense, which is No. 1 in the league in postseason total defense (yards per game) but that being said, Rodgers and the Packers were thoroughly dominated. Rodgers pick was to Emmanuel Moseley on what appeared to be a miscommunication and his fumble was a result of a bad handoff exchange between him and center Corey Linsley. 

Rodgers capped off the game with his final turnover, an interception to Richard Sherman, as the Packers fell 37-20 to the 49ers.

Welcome to "The Show" Raheem Mostert (Remember him?)

For the most diligent of Bears fans, the name Raheem Mostert may ring a bell. For those who are drawing a blank when it comes to the connection between the explosive Mostert and the Bears, you need to go back to 2016, when Mostert was a running back on the Bears practice squad. The Bears signed Mostert in Septemeber 2016 and he actually was elevated to the Bears active roster at some point that season. Mostert appeared in two games for the Bears in 2016, not seeing much action in either contest. The Bears released the running back out of Purdue on November 24, 2016. He landed on the 49ers practice squad in 2016 and was used sparingly over the years before his big break in the 2019 season. 

Mostert lit up the Packers' defense to the tune of 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He had touchdown runs of 36, 9, 18, and 22 yards.

The San Francisco rushing attack is extremely potent. evidenced by the fact that they had three different players rush for over 500 yards in the 2019 regular season. Mostert led the way with eight rushing touchdowns in the regular season but Matt Breida (6) wasn't too far behind. When the Bears had Mostert, he likely wasn't running the way he is now. But the 49ers are tops in the league in postseason rushing yards per game and Mostert's play is obviously a big reason, leaving Bears fans to wonder what could have been. 

The local kid vs the 2018 NFL MVP 

He didn't have to do much on Sunday but local product Jimmy Garoppolo will be making his Super Bowl debut after going

Graoppolo, who grew up in Arlington Heights, went to Rolling Meadows High School, where he performed well enough to end up at Eastern Illinois. In his three years with the Panthers, Garoppolo broke the pass completions record that was held by former Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo on his way to becoming a New England Patriot and one of the hottest trade chips in the NFL. The Pats eventually traded Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in a move that many fans are still wishing the Bears would've or could've made. 

The 49ers' handpicked franchise QB had a solid 2019 regular season, throwing for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Similar to Mitchell Trubisky in 2018, "Jimmy G" is backed by a great defense that allows him to operate as stress-free as possible. While Bears fans are surely intrigued about the idea of Garoppolo as a Bear, it is no doubt Patrick Mahomes who induces the longest sighs. 

Mahomes, who the Bears and a bunch of other NFL teams now infamously passed up on in the 2017 draft, is already a league MVP who is now getting ready to play in his first Super Bowl all before the age of 25. Mahomes lit up a very physical Tennesse Titans defense, throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 53 yards and another touchdown. For a team that has had no trouble scoring as is, Mahomes' recent surge in rushing yards adds another dimension to an already potent attack.

Garoppolo-Trubisky comparisons could be interesting depending on how the rest of the season shakes out. But it was already unfair to compare Trubisky's solid career to what has been a meteoric rise for Mahomes in KC, and will be an even tougher comparison should Mahomes rack up some additional hardware in February. 

The Bears REALLY made an impact in this one 

We mentioned that running back Mostert was a former Chicago Bear, but with Chicago-favorite Robbie Gould still acting as the kicker for the 49ers, former Bears scored all 37 of the 49ers points on Sunday.

We told you the Bears had a strong presence in this one! Super Bowl LIV will kick off on February 2, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

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Tom Brady to meet with other teams in 2020 free agency

Tom Brady to meet with other teams in 2020 free agency

Let the games begin! After spending his entire NFL career at Gillette Stadium with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady is entering free agency. Per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Brady is open to talks with other teams for what is to be the last contract of his playing career.

Brady has been a staple of the Patriots franchise for 19 years. There are young New England fans who haven’t ever been alive during a time without Brady under center. The Patriots are certain to undergo changes in the future, with many wondering how much longer Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick will be at the helm of the organization, so it is understandable to see Brady ready to explore his options.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

At 42-years-old, Brady has been telling those close to him that, unless he is sidelined by injury, he anticipates playing until age 45. Brady is also excited at the prospect of mentoring a young quarterback so that whatever organization he plays with during his final NFL stint, it is set for success after he retires. The question for Bears fans is, could that young quarterback be Mitch Trubisky?

After an uninspiring season, there is much talk about creating some competition at QB for the three-year Bears starter. Some healthy competition could drive Trubisky to play like the draft pick that Ryan Pace hoped he would be. The Bears are currently in the bottom-five of salary cap space in the NFL, meaning they would have to do some serious budgeting to be able to afford Brady, but fans will have to wait and see what Pace intends to do this off-season after a disappointing 2019 campaign.

La Canfora reports that it would “extremely surprising” if Brady were to agree to a new deal with the Patriots before free agency begins in March. There have been other reports of the Brady family moving to Connecticut (still technically in New England, but a move nonetheless) and a deep clean of Giselle Bündchen’s suite at Gillette Stadium, indicating that Brady is indeed ready to move on. We will all just have to wait and see where Brady will end up in 2020. 

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