Chicago Bears Week 8 Takeaways: New Opponent, Same Old Mess
The Chicago Bears lost a heartbreaker in overtime against the New Orleans Saints. Despite a stronger performance, there was a lot of ugliness and much more to takeaway from the game.
The Chicago Bears (5-3) fell to the New Orleans Saints (5-2) by a final score of 26-23 in overtime on Sunday. The Bears are now 0-6 in their last six meetings against the Saints. Chicago is now on a two-game skid and they have fallen out of their playoff spot.
The game was a rollercoaster ride of emotions for Bears fans. The Bears had a ten point lead (13-3) vanish and turn into a ten point deficit (23-13). Which then turned into tie (23-23) and ultimately a three point loss (26-23).
The overall feel of the game was just a mess and it had everything imaginable.
Javon Wims Incident
First and foremost…what Javon Wims did and how he behaved is absolutely inexcusable. Wims threw multiple punches at Saints cornerback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the third quarter. A fight ensued and the Bears were not only penalized for a personal foul and set back 15 yards, but Javon Wims was ejected from the game.
There is a backstory for what resulted in emotions bubbling over. When the Bears had played the Saints last year Gardner-Johnson had started the trash talking to Tarik Cohen
That same energy had carried over into this game as Gardner-Johnson had started poking at Anthony Miller’s face.
It should be known that Gardner-Johnson is known for his skirmishes as his own teammate, Michael Thomas, had punched him during practice. He seems like a guy who likes to jaw and get under your skin.
Supposedly, reports have surfaced this morning stating that Gardner-Johnson spit on Wims and that started the tussle.
Nevertheless, Wims should have done a better job controlling his emotions.
Again, it was over a mouthpiece. Not a good look for Javon.
Matt Nagy: The Head Coach
The Javon Wims incident falls, partially, on coaching. The Bears are undisciplined and it’s not just because of what Wims did. The Bears are the most penalized team in the NFL.
There is an obvious lack of attention to detail and accountability issue at Halas Hall. The coaches have to do a much better job and that starts at the top with Matt Nagy. First order of business…cut Javon Wims or at least keep him inactive and play Riley Ridley, who deserves a shot to prove himself.
Matt Nagy: The Play Caller
This has become a reoccurring theme. The criticism of Nagy’s play-calling won’t stop, especially in 2020. To Nagy’s credit, he did throw in a little wrinkle where Mitch Trubisky came in and ran a play out of shotgun/wildcat formation. The play caller can build off this and utilize the 2nd overall pick and his mobility a little more a la the Taysom Hill role. Nagy did call a nice play where he used Cordarrelle Patterson as a decoy in motion that opened up room for David Montgomery.
Matt Nagy did commit more to the running game as they racked up 96 yards total, which is great, especially against a stingy, 4th ranked Saints run defense. Sunday was leaps and bounds better than the previous weeks.
However, his situational play calling is still mind numbing. He had the audacity to call a run play on 3rd and 8 early in the game; only to be bailed out by Montgomery’s effort. Nagy still continues to call run plays to the short side of the field.
Why anyone would call stretch runs or toss plays to the side of the field where there is less room to run and a mess of blockers and defenders is beyond logic.
A little advice to Nagy: any pages in that playbook that have screen plays…just throw them out. The screen game has not worked all year.
The guy deserves some love given what he’s had to go through in this offense. Montgomery had 21 carries for 89 yards. Thats 4.2 yards per attempt. He even added two catches for 16 yards in the passing game.
The Offensive Line
What can anyone say? It’s a disaster. Injuries have decimated the offensive line. They even loss Bobby Massie earlier in the game. Jason Spriggs, who replaced Massie, even got hurt but later returned.
The unit allowed nine tackles for loss and five sacks. Of the five sacks, at least two were Nick Foles’ fault.
Allen Robinson/Darnell Mooney/Anthony Miller
On the second drive of the game the Bears went 80 yards on four plays and scored a touchdown. 74 of those yards came from Darnell Mooney and Allen Robinson.
Foles hits Mooney on this 50-yard strike.
Only to set up this 24-yard TD pass to Robinson.
The Bears didn’t forget about Mooney. He got in on the act too, as he scored a TD late to start the comeback.
Anthony Miller got in on the act and caught a huge 15-yard pass to set up the game-tying field goal.
The three WRs combined for a big day which helped this offense keep pace with the Saints.
The 8th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft continues to prove his worth. Roquan Smith had 11 tackles, nine of the solo variety, and two tackles for a loss. He was all over the field on defense; whether it was defending the run or defending the pass. Smith made huge play after huge play, like this one on 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter.
It’s easy to overlook Roquan with guys like Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson on that side of the ball. He is the heart and soul of the unit, especially with Danny Trevathan’s age starting to catch up to him.
The Defense as a Whole
Their mantra continues to be “bend but don’t break”. The Bears continue to hang around in games thanks to the defense. The only real knock on them is that they need to create game changing takeaways, which have unfortunately been few and far between.
Of the 394 total yards the Saints gained, 272 came through the air and 122 came on the ground. Alvin Kamara was a good portion of those numbers.
Alvin Kamara had 67 yards on 12 carries (5.4 yds/att.) and accounted for 54.9% of the yards.
He also had 96 yards on 9 receptions (10.7 yds/rec) and accounted for 35.3% of the passing yards.
In total, Kamara had 163 all-purpose yards on 21 touches, 7.76 yards per touch. He accounted for 41.4% of the yards the Saints put up on offense.
The soft defense he called that gave the Saints a TD going into halftime was horrendous. Absolutely egregious. Paper soft. That was the turning point in the game that swung the momentum in New Orleans’ favor.
The Bears have found their kicker. Cairo Santos was 3/3 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points. The biggest kick of the night was when Santos drilled a game-tying FG late in the fourth after being iced and making his “practice” kick.
Since Robbie Gould was released after the 2015 season, the Bears have been searching for their kicker. The list of said kickers: Connor Barth (2016-2017), Cairo Santos (2017), Mike Nugent (2017), Cody Parkey (2018), and Eddy Pineiro (2019). Did we give you bad flashbacks?
It wasn’t all bad for the Bears. They came out of the gate strong and spotted the defense a 10 point lead. It quickly got away from them and they had to rally late to tie the game after surrendering 20 straight points. The Bears continue to shoot themselves in the foot with sloppiness and careless mistakes. The offense showed signs of life at times. They have to clean things up. Nagy wasn’t was totally awful. So maybe there’s hope?
What’s On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears head down to Nashville for a Week 9 matchup. They will take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, November 8 at 12:00 P.M. CST. The game will be televised on FOX. The Bears and Titans will both be coming off two game losing streaks. The Titans lost to the Steelers and Bengals, respectively. The Bears will have their hands full with Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, Corey Davis, and Jonnu Smith. Their defense is no slouch either despite recent struggles.
Be sure to tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reactions, updates and analysis throughout the week, and discussions on a variety of other Bears-related topics.