Leonard Floyd

After a night of questionable calls, the Bears are still looking for clarity on roughing calls

After a night of questionable calls, the Bears are still looking for clarity on roughing calls

One of the more under-appreciated aspects of winning an NFL football game is that the conversation that follows typically doesn’t involve the refs. But when you lose a heartbreaker in part because, say, Bradley Chubb was flagged for roughing the passer on a pretty clean-looking hit – that’s when you get reactions like this, from Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe: 

“What I want to know is where did the second come from?,” he said.  “The commissioner needs to review that. That’s our win. Time is gone. They ran out of time.” 

There’s no denying that the Bears benefited from the Chubb miss, which the NFL tepidly defended by calling it ‘a judgement call.’ There’s also no denying that they had their own share of trouble with bad calls – most notably on this QB pressure from Eddie Goldman: 

And this hit courtesy of Leondard Floyd: 

After the game, both seemed at a loss regarding how to avoid those types of calls in the future; Floyd never even got clarification. 

“They haven’t explained it yet,” he said. “I didn’t realize it would be a penalty. That’s my bad.” 

“Sometimes those [calls] can get into that subjectiveness there of how it is, and when they're landing on guys, they're looking for that little extra oomph,” Matt Nagy said on Monday. “So, it's not an easy job by any means for them to see that. I know it's something that they're going to be looking at because it is difficult when you're a D-lineman, or whoever you are, tackling him.” 

Through two games, it hasn’t been the number of penalties they’ve had, but the yardage they’ve lost that’s hurt them the most.  The Bears have been flagged 17 this season – tied for 4th-most in football – though 11 NFL teams already have at least 17, so that’s not as bad as it sounds. What is a bit more concerning, though, is how only two teams (Minnesota, Cleveland) have had more yards taken away through flags than the Bears (176). 

“That’s football, man,” Akiem Hicks said. “You’re going to get good calls, you’re going to get those calls, you’re going to do whatever you have to do to come out on the right side. You can’t let that stuff slow you down.” 

So then how, as a diving 300-pound lineman, do you manage to avoid showing that ‘extra oomph’ when literal physics are working against you? Is there some secret solution? 

“Yeah,” deadpanned Eddie Goldman, “not [landing] on him.” 

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

Even when they weren't at their best, the Bears' defense found ways to keep them in the game

Even when they weren't at their best, the Bears' defense found ways to keep them in the game

DENVER – Over the last 18 months or so, the Bears’ defense has grown accustomed to having great performances overshadowed by the team’s kicker. When they get bailed out with a game-winning 53-yarder as time expires, however, it’s a spotlight they’re more than happy to share. 

“I knew it was good as soon as he pointed up to the sky,” Leonard Floyd said. “I knew he was going to make the kick.”

“You think about everything, all those games last year – especially that playoff game,” Khalil Mack added. You put pressure on that guy. Eddy P, birthday man. 

“He came out and nailed that mother f –.” 

Piñeiro’s coronation will certainly win the headline battles, but it was once again the Bears’ defense that kept them in the driver’s seat for three and a half quarters. The Broncos’ stats (372 total yards – 292 of them passing and 90 coming on the ground) are probably gaudier than Chuck Pagano’s unit would like, but they’ve now gone back-to-back games allowing just one touchdown. 

“There were some times there that they were tired,” Matt Nagy said. “Even at the end, you saw [Khalil Mack] come out on the fourth-down and so I just wanted to call a time out. I felt like it was more important for him to be out there on that fourth-down. He was tired. Those guys, you could feel it.” 

The game had shades of the 2018’s Week 5 loss in Miami, where scorching temperatures took a huge toll through the second half and into overtime. Between the thin air and unseasonably warm weather (the thermometer read 87 at kickoff), you could see why the Broncos have been astoundingly great in early-season home games. And while most of the players admitted that they felt the altitude in some way or another, no one was making excuses for the Broncos’ 12-play, 62-yard drive that would give them the lead with 30 seconds left. 

“Football is a tiring game,” Akiem Hicks said. “You play a lot of football and you just try to have the best results you can.” 

If anyone was happier about the win than Piñeiro, it was cornerback Buster Skrine. After the Broncos scored to make it a 13-12 game, kicker Brandon McManus missed the PAT. Skrine was flagged for being offside, however, and the Broncos got another chance from the one-yard line. Given new life and pretty advantageous field position, Denver went for two and converted, seemingly giving them a win. 

30 seconds and 53 yards later, the Bears were 1-1 – and now Piñero may not have to pay for his pregame steaks any time soon. 

“I was about to come in here and say I lost the game …” Skrine said. “ … “I’m about to post on my Instagram [taking my teammates] out to dinner and everything.” 

“Woo, hot darnit. We got it done – we needed that,” quipped Hicks, in his best country drawl. “It’s good to be 1-1. We’re going to go forward, we’re going to do what we need to do.”  

 

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

(Too) Bold Predictions: Leonard Floyd scores the 1st Bears touchdown of the season

(Too) Bold Predictions: Leonard Floyd scores the 1st Bears touchdown of the season

(Too) Bold Predictions aims to take nuanced, well-researched information and use it to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis! 

J.J. Stankevitz: 
1. The Bears' first touchdown of 2019 will be scored by...Leonard Floyd.
The thought here: Denver's offense is not designed to get the ball out quick, and Joe Flacco is generally immobile in the pocket. As long as the Bears' downfield coverage is as good as it was last week (save for one play-action bomb Aaron Rodgers hit), Floyd and Khalil Mack will have plenty of chances to tee off on Flacco. So one of those chances will lead to a strip-sack deep in Broncos territory, with Floyd scooping it up and jogging into the end zone. 

2. Mitch Trubisky will have a passer rating of 95.4.
That was Trubisky's passer rating in 2018...which was 33.3 points higher than his rating in Week 1. Generally speaking, it's hard to imagine Trubisky being significantly worse in 2019 than he was in 2018, even in light of how bad things were against the Packers. So even against a Vic Fangio defense, Trubisky will put up numbers close to or matching his per-game averages in 2018: 66.6 completion percentage, one touchdown, one interception, 230 yards, two sacks. And that'll be good enough for the Bears to win. 

Cam Ellis
1. The Bears will double their season touchdown total in the 1st quarter
This is, admittedly, just a round-about way of saying the Bears will actually get into the end zone this week, which would typically not be very bold. And yet, here we are. After 10 days of having to hear about the run game issues in Week 1, the bet here is that Nagy goes to David Montgomery early and often. Even with Vic Fangio at the helm, the Broncos' defense doesn't yet look like the intimidating sides he's been synonymous with. Let's say Montgomery gets in first from 10-15 and then Trubisky hits Anthony Miller for the 2nd. 

2. Eddy Pineiro will hit his first NFL field goal from 50+ yards
This game has Pineiro's name all over it. Consider: 

a. The way the offense played in Week 1 
b. The thin air
c. How frequently Nagy's decision to not try Pineiro from distance in Week 1 was questioned. 

The Bears spent all summer talking about the 'leg talent' Pineiro had, and while that alone didn't win him the job, it certainly didn't hurt (*Elliot Fry nods sadly*). They also frequently talk about getting Pineiro in a rhythm, and what better place to let him rip some than Denver in September? Since (Too) Bold Predictions are really just thinly-veiled optimism, let's say he sneaks one in from 53.