Bears

Week 9 Overreactions: Will Bears even make the playoffs?

Bears

Reader, woof. Bottoming out as one of the league's worst offenses by October probably isn't one of the year-over-year trends that the Bears had in mind when they hired Matt Nagy back before the 2018 season. But here we are, careening towards another optically acceptable season that still finds a way to enrage everyone. In the Before Times, Bears bars all across the country would serve angry round after angry round as fans in gently-worn Mitch Trubisky jerseys decide that they might as well stick around for the late slate of games because they already got more drunk than they expected to and those errands aren't getting done today. But for now, all we have are The Tweets. And here they are: 

VERDICT: This Is Not An Overreaction Or Really Any Type Of Reaction It's Just More Of A General Thought 

I do! And that's because it was exactly three weeks ago, which is probably a very bad thing but could also be framed, if you crave optimism, as such: life moves fast in the NFL. Three weeks ago the 2020 Bears were two parts 2018 Bears and one part 2017 Eagles. Now the 2020 Bears are just different brand of 2019 Bears. If they can take two of the next three – against Minnesota, Green Bay, and Detroit – they'd be at 7-5 heading into the final quarter of the season which, all in all, isn't the worst spot to be in. It helps that the NFC is *wide* open; one game separates the 1 seed (New Orleans) and the 7 seed (LA Rams). And since we're basically already there, I'll just be dumb and say it: the 5 seed, which Chicago's currently one game out of, looks awfully cozy – even as a road playoff game. 

 

5-1 may have been a mirage, but it bought the Bears the ability to play a pretty terrible month of football while remaining in these types of conversations. If they can keep beating inferior teams, there's 3-4 wins left on the schedule. If they can figure *anything* on the line out, they have enough talent to squeak out a couple more. Pessimism fits a Bears fan better than any parka ever could, but I still see a path that Nagy and co. can use to tumble into the playoffs. The problem (among others, which I promise I'm very aware of) is that said path probably requires beating Green Bay at least once. 

VERDICT: This Is An Overreaction But It's A Funny One And Whatever, The Point Lands Just As Well 

Nick Foles has been one of the NFL's worst QBs this season. His 23.7 EPA (expected points added) is the NFC's third worst  and NFL's fifth worst – mark. He ranks 27th in ESPN's QBR, and according to NFL Next Gen stats, his passer rating (83.8) is four points worse than Mitch Trubisky's (87.4). I understand the desire to go back to Trubisky – the grass is always greener, and Trubisky can actually run on it, etc – but it's not happening. If the Bears have any hope of fixing an offense that's been broken for three years, it's going to be because Foles understands how to make it work just well enough, not because Mitch Trubisky can better escape a collapsing pocket and scramble for four yards on 2nd-and-13. That being said, some sort of wildcat package with Trubisky, especially in the red zone, would be awesome – not to mention deeply cathartic for Bears fans if it were even halfway successful. But Foles is going to be QB1 unless he's not physically able to. 

VERDICT: This Is Interesting Because It's Probably Not An Overreaction Which Is Kinda Scary To Think About 

Ryan Pace is in a pickle this winter. In fact, it's one he planted as a seed, watered diligently in 3-6 hours of direct sunlight, and pickled using a special blend of vinegar, ginger, and peppercorn. He can leave it in the back of the fridge if he really wants to, but it can't stay there forever. There's a LOT of money tied up on defense, and you may have noticed that the Bears actually have a few adjustments to make on the other side of the ball. Has Jaylon Johnson made Kyle Fuller and his $11 million salary expendable? Does Jay Rodgers' black magic on the defensive line make Pace give a long, hard look at Akiem Hicks' contract? The GM's done a commendable job building a talented defense, but we're all seeing what that gets you in 2020. If the organization truly believes in Pace and Nagy's ability to scout and develop players, it makes you wonder whether the former has some creative moves (and hard conversations) on deck this winter. 

 

VERDICT: I'm Not The Person To Speak Definitively On This But I'm Fairly Confident This Is Not Only An Overreaction But A Total Falsity 

 VERDICT: This Is Not An Overreaction But It IS A Good Gif Of Wayne Brady

VERDICT: I Don't Know What This Means But Allen Robinson Is A Top-3 Bears Tweeter So It Definitely Means Something

3. Tarik Cohen hype tweets 2. Allen Robinson subtweets 1. Akeim Hicks Gladiator tweets