With eight minutes and 48 seconds left in Sunday’s game, Bears’ punter Pat O’Donnell pinned the Eagles on their own 11-yard line. All of Philly’s first half momentum was gone, and Chicago’s offense was back from the dead, having scored two unanswered touchdowns. All the Bears needed to do was rely on one of the league's stingiest defenses to get the ball back in Trubisky’s hands, like they have so many times before.
Trubisky never touched the ball again. In fact, the only offensive player to touch it was tight end Adam Shaheen, when he fumbled away the Eagles’ squib kick with 23 seconds on the clock. By that time, though, the damage was done; Philadelphia had put the game on ice with a 17-play, eight-minute drive.
“It’s very uncharacteristic of us,” Prince Amukamara said after the Bears’ 22-14 loss. “Just with how everything went in that game, out of everything that happened, we were still in it. For us to not get off the field, we have to go back to the board and change. I feel like that’s kind of how it’s been the whole year – just not being able to get off the field.”
There have been plenty of dejected locker rooms in the Bears’ 2019 season, but Sunday’s had the distinct feeling of something more. The team’s offensive struggles are nothing new, and Chicago’s history with kicks at the buzzer doesn’t need relitigation. But watching any realistic playoff berth be all-but-buried because the defense couldn’t get off the field hits a particularly sensitive nerve.
“It sucks man,” Leonard Floyd said. “You want to win every game you go out there and play. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to refocus and get ready for next game.
“Last year was last year. This is a whole new team. We’ve just got to execute man, finish the game the right way.”
What makes Sunday’s final drive tough to swallow for the Bears is the fact that Philadelphia managed to convert on four separate 3rd downs – three of which were from seven yards or more. First, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery for 13 yards on 3rd-and-3. Then there was a 15-yard screen on 3rd-and-12 to Miles Sanders.
Linebacker Danny Trevathan, who was matched on Sanders for the play, said he just lost the rookie running back, calling it a case of “bad eyes.”
“It’s a play I’ve got to make,” he said. “It’s a play I always make, I just have to make it. It’s easy to say from the outside world, it’s easy to bring it up, but you’ve just got to do it. I’ve got to be better at my job just like a lot of people need to be better at their jobs.”
“I feel like they were kind of guessing through the game,” Sanders said. “... We got them on a boot and got the first down on one of those third-down conversions.”
The final two conversions both came on tight end screens – one to Zach Ertz (3rd and 4) and the other (3rd and 9) to Dallas Goedert.
“We just weren’t able to finish,” Khalil Mack said. “You want to get those plays back. Impressive plays.”
Last year, the Bears continually relied on the defense to bail them out of games like the one played on Sunday. Whether it was Eddie Jackson running back a pick-six against Minnesota, Akiem Hicks forcing a fumble at the 1-yard line in Miami, or Kyle Fuller sealing a Thanksgiving win with a red zone interception, last year’s play-makers did just that.
Halfway through 2019, they’re 3-5 without a notable turnover to their name. And if there’s one thing the Bears’ offense is farther ahead on than the defense, it’s dealing with adversity.
“I love adversity,” Mack said. “It shows who you are, it shows you who everyone around you is as well. It’s one of those things where you have to look in the mirror and get ready for the next one. I love this game, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got when I’m on the field.”
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