Bears

At least he can laugh about it: Taylor Gabriel apologizes to fantasy owners after getting one reception vs. Saints

At least he can laugh about it: Taylor Gabriel apologizes to fantasy owners after getting one reception vs. Saints

The Bears offense is struggling, which means any unfortunate fantasy owners putting stock into Bears offensive players were hurting on Sunday.

Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel had some fun with it at least. Gabriel and Tarik Cohen went to O’Hare for a promotional event where they scanned tickets and called in boarding groups at the airport.

Gabriel had just one catch for six yards in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. He went on the loudspeaker and apologized to his fantasy owners.

“Hopefully you guys got me on the bench last night,” Gabriel said. “I apologize.”

One young fan told him he had him in his lineup. Gabriel responded with “I owe you a hug,” and went over and hugged the kid.

Watch the interaction in the video above.

Gabriel was targeted just twice. His six receiving yards were a season low.

The 28-year-old had a huge game Week 3 against the Redskins (6 receptions for 75 yards and three touchdowns), but suffered a concussion in that game. Sunday’s game against the Saints was Gabriel’s first game action since.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Nagy took hard look at his duties as Bears offensive play-caller, opts to retain that role

Nagy took hard look at his duties as Bears offensive play-caller, opts to retain that role

During the Bears’ 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, quarterback Mitch Trubisky suffered a hip pointer, an injury that involved monitoring by the coaching and medical staffs from halftime on. Kicker Eddy Pineiro was missing field goals to the point of appearing to affect his coach’s decision-making. The offense was sputtering – again – and the defense, after some early takeaway success, appeared to be sagging emotionally. There were issues at tight end. Aaron Donald had to be accounted for and blocked.

All of which and more was on the head of Matt Nagy, now all of 27 games into being an NFL head coach, and who late in the game needed to stop and have a heart-to-heart, heads-together talk with his quarterback about how he was feeling.

The “and more” on Nagy’s head continues to include calling the individual plays for his bad-and-getting-worse offense.

So Nagy spent a chunk of his morning taking a hard look at whether defenses are on to him, presumably personally as well as schematically. And some of that hard look was whether he indeed should continue being the play-caller in the wake of the offense running 74 plays, netting 7 points and failing to gain 300 total yards for the ninth time in 10 games.

For now, after that look in the mirror, Nagy will remain in control of the play sheet.

“What I would say is this,” he said, acknowledging that if he felt he was the problem, “I’ll be the first to tell you, then we need to be better or if there’s a rhythm to something.

“I have zero ego and I have zero care of giving play-call duties to somebody else. I really do not care about that, and if that’s what we feel like from going through it that that’s what we need to do, then I would do that, I really would.

“But when you go through the tape and you look at things and you know schematically where we’re at and what we’re calling and when we’re calling it…. There’s without a doubt a few plays in that game that I would go back and say, ‘You know what, that’s our fault. We didn’t scheme it right,’ and that starts with me. And I need to be able to accept that and know how do I fix that. But we’ll do everything we can … we’re turning over every stone to get this thing right.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Bears grades: Trubisky down with a hip pointer and poor showing against Rams

Bears grades: Trubisky down with a hip pointer and poor showing against Rams

QUARTERBACKS: D

Mitch Trubisky was victimized by some less-than-crisp play by his wide receivers early in the game, and his interception looked to be the product of him not being on the same page with Anthony Miller. He did well to make some good throws in rhythm and in the face of pressure, especially early in the game — and the touchdown he threw to Tarik Cohen was a well-placed ball on the running back’s wheel route.

But while Trubisky wasn’t given much help from his supporting cast, gaining 190 yards on 43 passes still represents a disappointing night for him. He missed an open Ben Braunecker on a well-scheme play-action shot, and checked down to Cohen on a play on which the Rams were offsides. He averaged 4.4 yards per attempt, bringing his season total to an NFL-low 5.6 yards per attempt.

Trubisky’s execution of a speed option on third-and-one led to the play being blown up for a loss — he pitched the ball too early to David Montgomery, and had he waited and baited a little bit longer, the play would’ve at least gone for a first down, if not a chunk gain. Coach Matt Nagy said he did not believe Trubisky’s hip injury impacted his decision-making on that play.

Chase Daniel didn’t do anything to provide a spark with the Bears facing a 10-point deficit about 60 seconds before the two-minute warning.

RUNNING BACKS: B-

Cohen’s route setup on linebacker Corey Littleton for his touchdown was superb, and he had a nice 17-yard catch-and-run gain in the first half, too. His 12-yard run was the Bears’ longest of the game.

David Montgomery didn’t have much anywhere to go with Aaron Donald bossing the line of scrimmage, gaining just 31 yards on 14 carries. His 19-yard reception on a swing pass was the Bears’ longest passing play of the game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: F

Miller and Allen Robinson were credited with drops by Pro Football Focus, and it looked like Taylor Gabriel was guilty of a drop, too, after the Bears recovered Todd Gurley’s fumble in the first quarter.

Gabriel and Miller had a few moments and combined to pick up five first downs, but Robinson was smothered by his ex-Jaguars teammate Jalen Ramsay, catching four passes on six targets for just 15 yards.

No fault, though, goes to Miller for streaking open in the first quarter, only to have Rams safety Marqui Christian make an excellent play to break up what would’ve been an 83-yard touchdown.

TIGHT ENDS: F

Braunecker wasn’t given an opportunity to haul in what would’ve been a chunk play off play action in the second quarter, with Trubisky sailing the pass over him as he seemed to find a soft spot in the Rams’ zone. Otherwise, Braunecker, J.P. Hotlz and Bradley Sowell (who played only two snaps) were non-factors both in the run game and pass game.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D

Both Rashaad Coward and James Daniels were punished by Donald, who had two sacks and four quarterback hits in a dominant performance. The bar was set high for this group after they muted Donald’s impact last year at Soldier Field, but they fell short of it on Sunday. Trubisky was under pressure for a little under 33 percent of his drop backs, and there weren’t many holes for Montgomery or Cohen to hit, again.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B-

Credit this group for rebounding after being pushed around a bit in the first half, in which Gurley ran for 64 of his 97 yards on 12 carries (5.3 yards/attempt). Gurley managed only 35 yards on 13 carries in the final 30 minutes, which felt more in like with the talent on the Bears’ front (even without Akiem Hicks) going against a depleted Rams offensive line.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: C-

Leonard Floyd played well against the run and had the Bears’ only quarterback hit of the game. But even though the Rams did everything they could to scheme Khalil Mack out of making an impact — with Goff rarely dropping back and extra players committed to blocking Mack when he did — it was jarring to not see the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history not even show up on the box score on Sunday.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS: A

Roquan Smith was all over the field and played his best game of 2019, notching a team-high 11 tackles while picking off Goff in the first quarter (it was his second career interception, and both have been on throws by Goff). His sideline-to-sideline speed and physicality were awfully welcome sights as the Bears played their first game without Danny Trevathan since 2017. Smith, notably, was key in stuffing Gurley short of the line to gain on two third-and-shorts.

CORNERBACKS: C

Without Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks lining up across from them, the Bears still allowed chunk plays to Cooper Kupp (50 yards) and Josh Reynolds (26 yards) that set up the Rams’ only two touchdowns of the game, though siloing off the cornerbacks here may not be totally fair given they might’ve expected safety help over the top.

Kyle Fuller dropped what would’ve been a go-ahead pick-six late in the third quarter, a play that felt like one the 2018 Bears would’ve made, but not the 2019 Bears.

SAFETIES: B

Eddie Jackson had his most impactful game of 2019, forcing a fumble (recovered by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) and hitting as hard as we’ve seen him hit in 2019. He stuck his nose in on a third-and-two run stuff of Gurley midway through the second quarter.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F

Nagy said the Bears will not consider bringing in kickers for a tryout at Halas Hall this week, though it’s clear the Bears have a problem at that position with Eddy Pineiro. Pineiro sandwiched misses from 48 and 47 yards around Nagy’s decision to try to convert a fourth-and-nine instead of having him kick a 49-yard field goal, indicating the Bears’ coach is right back to where he was a year ago in not being able to trust his kicker.

Cordarrellle Patterson was bottled up on kick returns and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct while covering a punt.

COACHING: F

There were plenty of questions here that were overshadowed by Nagy’s decision to pull Trubisky from the end of Sunday’s game. Why did he decline a running into the kicker penalty on fourth and a long five that would’ve set up fourth and inches in the second quarter? The Bears were in their own territory, but Nagy was aggressive in that spot against the Detroit Lions last week and declined to be so again on Sunday (Donald probably had something to do with it, though).

Nagy’s decision to punt with 27 seconds left registered pretty high on the surrender index:

And while it’s understandable why Nagy’s trust in Pineiro appears low, the chance his rookie kicker were to make a 49-yard field goal were still higher than the chance his sputtering offense were to convert a fourth-and-long.

Nagy’s run-pass balance wasn’t the problem, nor were any glaringly-bad playcalls (the third-and-one option can be debated given Trubisky’s injury, but if he does his job on the play it’s likely successful). But ultimately, this game came down to the Bears finding another way to lose: They ran 22 more plays than the Rams, won the turnover battle, committed only two penalties and still managed to lose by 10 points. ‘

This is what a bad football team looks like. And ultimately, games like this do fall on the coach. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.