Bears

John Fox says Eddy Pineiro's Bears career was on the line in Week 2

John Fox says Eddy Pineiro's Bears career was on the line in Week 2

Former Bears coach John Fox knows a thing or two about getting run out of Chicago. He won just 14 games during his three seasons with the Bears and was fired following the 2017 season when Chicago finished 5-11.

Now an analyst with ESPN, Fox was like every Bears fan watching Week 2's game against the Broncos. And he had a pretty strong opinion about the ramifications of Eddy Pineiro's game-winning 53-yard kick moments before the ball split the uprights.

According to Adam Schefter, Fox said Pineiro's Bears career was on the line.

“I’m watching [Bears vs. Broncos] with John Fox later in the day,” Schefter told ESPN Radio on Monday. “He goes ‘Do you realize how massive this kick is for this one individual and the team?’ He said this before the kick, ‘If this guy misses this kick, he probably can’t kick in Chicago again. If he makes it, he’s a hero with confidence and momentum.’ So that’s all that’s riding on this one kick at the end of the game.”

That seems like a pretty extreme hot take. A 53-yard field goal is hardly a layup, especially for a young kicker who before the game-winner had never been in a situation like that. Would it have been another gut-wrenching loss because of a missed kick? Sure. And would it have magnified the kicker drama Chicago's been living with since last January? Of course. But it's highly unlikely the Bears would've cut Pineiro loose had he missed.

Fortunately, we'll never know. Pineiro's clutch performance not only has his confidence at an all-time high, but it's also put to rest any concerns about Chicago's kicking situation. In fact, an argument can be made that Pineiro has been the NFL's best kicker through two weeks.

Pineiro and the Bears will have a fantastic opportunity to build off of Week 2's momentum when they travel to Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 3's Monday night showdown.

 

Rams 17, Bears 7: Whose arrows are up and down after Bears loss to Rams

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USA TODAY

Rams 17, Bears 7: Whose arrows are up and down after Bears loss to Rams

LOS ANGELES — It’s good news that, generally speaking, Bears’ losses this season are already being met with apathy, because this particular one, being played in front of a national audience, was hard to watch. The Bears had more first downs than the Rams, ran over 20 more offensive plays, and scored once in a 17-7 loss. In case you did something else – literally anything else – with your night, all you need to know is that the game ended with a presumably-healthy, cap-wearing Mitch Trubisky watching the Bears’ final three minutes from the sideline. Here’s where the arrows are pointing on one of the bleaker nights of the Bears’ 2019 season:

ARROW DOWN – Mitch Trubisky 

Yeah. 

ARROW DOWN – Eddy Pineiro 

The Denver game feels like it happened in a different universe at this point. It’s hard to defend multiple first half misses when you’re kicking in 80 degree weather without even a slight breeze. Pineiro hooked his first attempt, from 48, wide left. He then proceeded to miss the next one, from 47, to the right. The latter was clearly the end of his leash, as Nagy would proceed to either go for it on 4th down or punt any time the Bears would get into Rams’ territory for the rest of the half.

Pineiro's now 12-for-17 on the season, and even though field goal percentage is down across the league, his job doesn’t really feel all that safe anymore. Everyone around Halas Hall has loved how the kicker bounces back after tough misses, but at a certain point it’s less about perseverance and more about making kicks. 

ARROW UP – Roquan Smith 

Sunday was Smith’s best game in 2019 and it’s not close. The second-year linebacker started things off with the easiest interception of his life in the first quarter: 

It was his second career interception, with both coming off Goff. Stop throwing Roquan the ball, Jared! Smith hasn’t had the year that many expected after a strong training camp, but he certainly played like the 8th overall pick on Sunday night. With Danny Trevathan’s status (somewhat curiously) remaining up in the air, games like that from Smith are all the more vital as the Bears try and find a way back into the playoff picture. 

ARROW DOWN – Khalil Mack 

It’s never quite Mack’s fault when he shows up on this list, but he was quiet again on Sunday again (though so was Aaron Donald, for what it's worth). Here’s all you need to know: 

ARROW DOWN – The WR Group 

A bad night all around. Allen Robinson? Four catches for 15 yards; Jalen Ramsey is a stud. Taylor Gabriel? Seven for 57. Anthony Miller had six catches for 54 yards and was directly involved in the Rams’ only interception of the night. They all had at least one drop, too. Even Cordarrelle Patterson –who doesn’t really play on offense anymore and certainly not as a wide receiver – cost the Bears 15 yards on a punt with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after taking his helmet off on the field.

Patterson almost cost them again when he ran into a Rams’ punt returner late in the third quarter, but the flag was called off. There were a half-dozen times on Sunday when it seemed like the Bears’ wideouts weren’t running the routes that Trubisky thought they would. 

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Three takeaways: Did the Bears just bench Mitch Trubisky?

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USA TODAY

Three takeaways: Did the Bears just bench Mitch Trubisky?

LOS ANGELES -- Immediate reaction from the Bears' 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night:

The quarterback change happened…maybe.

Mitch Trubisky completed seven of nine passes and flipped a well-placed throw to Tarik Cohen for a touchdown on the Bears’ first drive of the second half, bringing the score to 10-7 in favor of the Rams.

The Bears’ defense forced four consecutive punts after that touchdown, including three three-and-outs. The Bears’ offense did not deliver at all, gaining 30 yards on their next 14 plays and punting four times.

And then, Chase Daniel led the Bears’ offense back on the field after the Rams opened up a 17-7 lead. The Bears announced Trubisky had a hip injury, so they can say the 2017 No. 2 overall pick was not benched.

Trubisky, though, was seen on the sidelines in a baseball cap and did not appear to be taken into the blue medical tent on the Bears’ sideline. We’ll have plenty of questions for coach Matt Nagy after the game about why the change was made, because before the Bears announced Trubisky’s injury, it looked like a move of desperation to save a season on life support.

The Bears’ season is effectively over, though, with a 4-6 record too much to overcome for a football team that might just be lucky to finish with seven wins in 2019. If the Bears were to bench Trubisky, it would be because both coach and team lost faith in their quarterback, who did have some good moments on Sunday, for what it’s worth (but still wasn’t anything special).

Plenty more to come on this. But to more takeaways:

Roquan Smith was at his best

The Bears did not place Danny Trevathan on injured reserve this week, indicating team and player believe the veteran inside linebacker has a chance of returning at some point during the regular season. But the Bears can expect to be without Trevathan for a little while, which made Roquan Smith’s performance on Sunday all that more important.

Smith played his best game of 2019 and has been building to this for a few weeks. He picked off Jared Goff in the first quarter and stopped Todd Gurley twice on third and short carries, leading to the Rams punting. The physicality and sideline to sideline speed that led the Bears to pick Smith with the eighth overall pick in 2018’s draft was more than evident.

Smith has played better as he’s got farther and farther from his mysterious absence in Week 4. If this Bears’ defense is able to hold together over the rest of the season — without Trevathan and Akiem Hicks for most, if not all, of it — it’s going to need players like Smith to continue playing at a high level.

Eddie Jackson, it should be noted, had one of his better games of 2019 on Sunday as well.

Kicking tryouts, anyone?

Eddy Pineiro missed kicks from 47 and 48 yards in the first half, leaving six points on the board and dooming the Bears to a scoreless first 30 minutes. Matt Nagy looked like he lost confidence in his kicker — again — in going for it on fourth-and-long deep in Rams territory in between those misses (Trubisky threw an incomplete pass).

Pineiro is now 12 of 17 this season and is two months removed from his game-winning kick in Denver. He missed a PAT last week, too.

The Bears should take a look at a few kickers this week at Halas Hall, but at this point — with the 2019 season devoid of hope — maybe seeing if Pineiro can work through his recent rough patch isn’t the worst idea. After all, if not — or if he were to be cut this week — the Bears still would have a kicking problem in 2020.

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