The Chicago Bears were defeated by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday by the score of 26-6. Now, the Bears return home with a 1-2 record tied for second place with the Minnesota Vikings as the Green Bay Packers sit atop the division with a 2-1 record. Once again, Aaron Rodgers pulled a rabbit out his hat on Sunday Night Football against the 49ers. However, the results and standings aren't what's making Bears fans' blood boil these days. It's the team's performance week in and week out, namely on the offensive side of the ball.
But, brace yourselves this week's takeaways is going to be heavy on Matt Nagy slander.
Nevertheless, here it is. The takeaways from a Week Three loss to the Browns.
Matt Nagy: Play-Caller (Big Picture)
First of all, this isn't going to be about stats and numbers. This segment will be strictly about Matt Nagy, the so-called "offensive guru". Fact of the matter is, his offense stinks and has stunk since 2018. Nagy's offense has yet to click and figure it out despite having gone through five quarterbacks:
His play-calling is dreadful and still doesn't have any rhythm or flow to it. Rather than stacking and building a play off one another and having a plan, it feels like he's a deer caught in headlights just calling plays at random. Let's call it what it is. Nagy isn't any good, he just isn't. His offensive scheme and play-calling is woeful and he doesn't know when or how to utilize the talent he has nor does he devise a gameplan to attack the opposing defense. On top of that, he lacks the ability to adjust in-game or in-season. In fact, the league figured out Nagy's offense in mid-2018 and he hasn't countered since.
Matt Nagy: Play-Caller (Against the Browns)
Now, fast forward to this game against the Browns. Nagy had his rookie QB starting for the first time in the NFL. Justin Fields is a QB who is physically gifted and has resume coming out of college. He's the same QB who seems destined for stardom. Yet, Nagy was calling the game as if it were catered for Andy Dalton. He simply did not put Fields in a position to succeed and play to his strengths. For instance, on the first drive he called a pitch play on third-and-2 to the short side of the field. The play went nowhere and resulted in kicking a field goal on fourth down. All game long from that point forward, Nagy called a miserable game that put Fields in harms way. The offense never got any momentum after the first drive of the game.
Per Laurence Holmes, of 670 The Score, here is one of Matt Nagy's plays and scheme. The lack of awareness and proper game planning from the coaches is baffling. How did Nagy not see this?
Offense: The Numbers
As a result of Nagy's offense, the Bears put up pathetic numbers and that's putting it lightly. Matt Nagy and his offense had the following numbers, by the half and in total, against the Browns.
The most telling part of this is the fact the Bears offense could only muster 47 total yards. In fact, the team averaged 1.1 yards per play by the end of the game. That was historic in itself because only one other team had done it.
Additionally, of the 47 yards only ONE yard came through the air. Yes, you read that correctly. The Bears had one net passing yard. Of course, the sacks took 67 yards off that number. Nonetheless, that is an insanely low number. However, despite that all the Bears were only down 10-3 at halftime.
This offensive barrage of yards and points was historical. Historically bad, that is. Our guy @ButkusStats provided an entire thread on how embarrassingly bad it was for Nagy and his offense.
Even Marc Trestman and John Fox never had an offense this pitiful. If Nagy had any pride he'd be ashamed of himself as an offensive guy, as a play-caller, and especially as a head coach of a NFL franchise.
Here is where the Bears offenses stands in terms of yards per play in comparison to the rest of the league.
Offense: More Bad News
Since the offense was dreadful, it's only fair to provide a little more context and perspective. The Bears offense was outgained by the Browns 418 to 47. Now, that's roughly 8.89 times more yards. However, that's not all. The Bears offense had eleven total drives. Consequently, six of those drives ended with negative yards.
End of Half
Turnover on Downs
Insult to Insult
Normally, the saying goes "insult to injury" but there were no injuries here unless you were a viewer of this game because it was painful to watch. Nevertheless, old friend (or foe) Mitchell Trubisky entered the game for his new team and guess what he did? He threw for exactly the same amount of yards the Bears had passing.
Now, the hilarious part of this is that he did it on only one pass. For the Bears, it took twenty pass attempts to get one net yard through the air.
Matt Nagy: Head Coach (Big Picture)
Obviously, there's no difference between the head coach and the play-caller. Both do their job with the same cowardice, arrogance, and ego. Although, there are a group of people who believe that if he simply gave up play-calling he could focus more on his strengths as a leader. However, that ship has sailed. Matt Nagy the head coach failed at his job as much as the play-caller did. During every press conference or media session, all he does is provide everyone with tons and tons of word salad. Then on game days, he continues to tie his shoelaces together and trips himself up only to tell the world the he was set it. All Nagy has done in the four years he's been here is blame others for his faults. He's fired coaches, gone through five QBs, and deflected blame.
Occasionally, he will tell the fan base and higher ups in the organization that it's his fault and he has to do better because that's what they want to hear. But, he doesn't believe that and never changes. Who remembers the infamous "I'm not an idiot" quote when pressed on why he refused to commit to the run?
This seems relevant now more than ever. Matt Nagy has been more of a motivational speaker than he is a head coach. He knows how to get the players and organization to buy in and hyped up. Until they all realize he has no actual substance behind his words. He's charmed and conned his way into the job. The McCaskey family, Ted Phillips, and Ryan Pace were all impressed by his personality and his words. But the proof is in the pudding. Nagy has been carried by his defense since 2018 and had one decent offensive year. Ever since, it's been a broken record. A bottom ten offense.
Matt Nagy: Head Coach (Against the Browns)
Once the ball kicked off on Sunday, bad Matt Nagy showed up. There were a litany of bad decisions from Nagy. It was an early fourth-and-2 decision where Nagy decided to kick a field goal. Despite David Montgomery and Justin Fields being able to pick up chunks of yards, he elected to kick. Then again, late in the game down 13-3, Nagy and his offense received a gift. When the referees called defensive pass interference on the Browns, it allowed the offense to pick up 48 yards. However, three plays later on fourth-and-2 from the Browns 4-yard line, Nagy chose to take the field goal once again. Two blatant acts of cowardice and a sign that he had zero faith in his players.
Now, those weren't the most egregious instances, although having a game plan like he did and not adjusting to what the Browns were doing was truly head scratching. For instance, having a 39-year-old Jason Peters block Myles Garrett one-on-one with no help whatsoever is downright asinine. There were hardly moments where anyone remembers a running back and/or tight end helping chip Garrett. Additionally, knowing Fields was under duress all game, Nagy never had a plan to move the pocket or roll the QB out. Nagy also didn't call a quick pass or screen to handle the heat at Fields' feet. It's almost as if Nagy set up Fields to fail. Now, this is a tinfoil hat moment, but did Nagy do so to justify going back to Andy Dalton? Despite knowing the defense was having a good game, Nagy continued to double down with his idiosyncrasies.
The entire game on Sunday looked and felt like sabotage. Nagy continues to let his team down. He failed them and has been doing so since 2019.
Offensive Line/Juan Castillo
Another coach, Juan Castillo, and his unit looked woeful against the Browns. The Bears offensive line got absolutely massacred by the Browns defensive line. Myles Garrett and the Browns defense had themselves quite a day. Cleveland racked up nine sacks in total.
Half of those nine sacks came from Garrett.
Additionally, Justin Fields has the highest rate of sacks per pass attempt in 2021.
Interestingly, this is not the firs time the Bears offensive has given up this many sacks. In 2010 against the New York Giants, the Bears allowed nine in the first half.
Those nine sacks in the first half knocked Jay Cutler out of the game. However, unlike with Nagy, good coaching and adjustments saw the Bears only give up one sack in the second half.
Meanwhile, lost in all of the Matt Nagy slander was Justin Fields' first career start at QB, which happened to be less than ideal. Fields posted the following stat line in his first game as starting QB: 6/20, 68 yards (3.4 avg), 0 TD, 0 INT and a QB Rating of 41.3. In addition, as mentioned, he was sacked nine times for 67 yards. In addition, Fields picked up twelve yards on three rushes.
Now, tying the Fields and Nagy component together, here is a look at how Fields' debut as starting QB went and how Nagy handled it.
Likewise, here is a look at the average depth of throws Fields had on Sunday. A majority of them were within ten yards of the line of scrimmage.
After the game, Fields didn't mince words. He let everyone know how he felt about his performance and the end result.
Defense: First Half
Ok, enough of being a wet blanket. There were some positives to takeaway from this game, notably the defense. The unit had a heck of a start to the game. On the Browns' first two possessions, the Bears defense forced two turnovers on downs. The first drive was aided by a questionable defensive holding call on Jaylon Johnson. Ultimately, the drive came to an end on fourth-and-5 when Robert Quinn and Angelo Blackson teamed up for the sack on Baker Mayfield.
Then, on the second drive, Cleveland marched 44 yards on seven plays, which was aided by a ridiculous roughing the passer call on Khyiris Tonga. Tonga made a clean tackle on the play.
Nonetheless, another fourth down gamble by Kevin Stefanski backfired as Khalil Mack swarmed Mayfield and netted himself a sack.
Despite the ineptitude of the offense, Sean Desai's unit only saw themselves down seven at the half. Although, they did give up a twelve-play, 89-yard TD drive just as the second quarter came to an end.
At halftime, the Bears had allowed 224 total yards (137 passing, 87 rushing). Of course, this was skewed by the 89-yard drive to close the half. The defense dominated most of the first half. So much so, that the Browns deviated from what they do best because of the Bears defense.
Still, they held the Browns to ten points and kept the team in the game.
Defense: Second Half
Ultimately, the defense faltered down the stretch as the offense provided no sustained drives. Heading into the fourth quarter, the defense contained the Browns offense to 13 points. However, the Browns broke the game open in the final quarter by adding another touchdown and two field goals. All in all, the Bears defense hung on as long as they could, but the offense faultering put tremendous stress on them.
At the end of the day, they allowed 203 yards through at the air and 215 on the ground for 417 in total.
Not lost in the shuffle is the fact Coach Desai's guys recorded five sacks.
- Khalil Mack: 2 sacks
- Robert Quinn: 1.5 sacks
- Mario Edwards Jr: 1 sack
- Angelo Blackson: 0.5 sack
Cairo Santos was busy providing the Bears their only points on the day, but he extended his streak. Santos went 2-for-2 on his field goal attempts. Following his first field goal, Santos had made 30 in a row–31 including the Wild Card game last year.
Notably, Jason Myers of the Seahawks missed a FG against the Vikings to end his streak. After Santos' second FG, he extended his streak to 31 straight made kicks.
As far as individual performances go, Jaylon Johnson deserves some praise. He was rock solid again and nearly had another interception. The second-year corner shadowed Odell Beckham Jr. for a large portion of the game. Likewise, he was mostly on lockdown with whoever he lined up against.
In contrast, Duke Shelley usually gets eaten alive by opposing wide receivers. However against the Browns, he made a very nice open field tackle on third down that set up a sack on the following play on fourth down.
The notable injuries suffered against the Browns were Khalil Mack and apparently Justin Fields. Mack happened to leave the game and went into the locker room for a brief time with a foot injury. Despite being listed as questionable, he ultimately came back and still made his presence felt.
However, the surprising injury was Justin Fields. After the game, Matt Nagy said that Fields sustained a hand injury. In fact, it seems that Fields had X-rays taken but they came back negative.
David Montgomery appreciation never goes out of style, unless you're Matt Nagy. Montgomery carried the ball seven times for 26 yards including a 16-yard on his first run. In contrast, the second half was a much different story. Montgomery rushed the ball only three times for eight yards. In total, he had 10 carries for 34 yards, which is criminal if you're Matt Nagy. How can you not feature a player like Montgomery more? How about that promise of 20 carries a game?
- at Rams: 16 carries, 108 yards
- vs. Bengals: 20 carries, 61 yards
- at Browns: 10 carries, 34 yards.
In conclusion, Montgomery is averaging 15.33 carries a game but has touched the football twenty times only once so far.
Jimmy Graham Drama?
After the game, @NFLonCBS tweeted out a stat about the inefficient, joke of an offense the Bears put on display. Just as well, it caught the attention of one Bears player who retweeted it.
The local and national media were all over Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears, and rightfully so. That performance was historically bad. Here are some of the reactions:
Jarrett Payton, son of Bears legend and Super Bowl Champion Walter Payton:
Mike Florio, of @ProFootballTalk, on his conversation with Myles Garrett:
Drew Brees, who is now an analyst for @SNFonNBC:
Ryan Clark and Rex Ryan during ESPN's Get Up:
Need we say more?
Lies from Matt Nagy?
Stacey Dales reported this nugget, from Nagy himself, pregame about the gameplan for Justin Fields. None of it was true.
No So Fun Fact
Matt Nagy's offense has problems scoring points:
This Bears game was putrid. The offense might as well have not showed up to Cleveland. One net passing yard is inexcusable especially coming from a guy who is referred to as an "offensive genius". How could Andy Reid have possibly vouched for this guy? As a result of the non-functioning offense, not only did they put Fields in harms way and potentially set him back, but they put the defense in a lose-lose situation. The Bears were "technically" in this game until halfway through the third quarter but they were never really in this game. At least not with Matt Nagy at the helm.
If theres one thing that came from this game its that it's absolutely clear Matt Nagy is in over his head and his "well of excuses" is bone dry at this point. Nagy is a self-centered, selfish, egotistic coach who wants to run his offense at all costs and doesn't care about what's best for the team. He seems to care more about making his offense work rather than actually adapting and succeeding with what he has. The Bears offense will continue to be stagnant and dull until he relinquishes play-calling duties and completely stays out of the way. But, don't hold your breath.
What's best for the Bears is to move on from the fourth-year head coach and bring in someone who knows what they're doing and will help Fields develop, rather than trying to sabotage a rookie QB. There are options out there. Let's be honest, Ryan Pace is complicit too in this mess.
What's On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears take their 1-2 record to Soldier Field and face the 0-3 Detroit Lions on Sunday, October 3. The game will be broadcasted on FOX at 12:00 p.m. CDT. Despite being 0-3, don't be fooled by this Lions team. They're gritty and fight to the end, which may pose to be an issue for the Bears. The Lions game feels like a trap game and could be determined by who makes the fewest mistakes. Right now, it's not a great feeling heading into that matchup.
Be sure to tune into the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reaction, updates and analysis throughout the week in addition to discussions on a variety of Bears-related topics.