The Chicago Bears fell to 5-2 on the season after a 24-10 to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 7. The loss itself wasn't the worst part, it was more the fashion in which they lost. It never felt like the Bears were truly in this game.
Every phase of the Bears performed poorly against the Rams, leaving more questions than answers. So, who or what is to blame? What can one take away from this game?
Matt Nagy: Play-Calling
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
- Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is onto something... perhaps Matt Nagy is insane. It was a different week but the same story. The Week 7 contest by far Nagy's worst game of the season, perhaps even of his career. He got absolutely outcoached by Sean McVay.
The play-calling comes into question once again, as Nagy's sequence of plays had no rhythm or flow. The game plan to attack the Rams' defense made no sense. The third-year head coach looked like a deer in headlights against the Rams. While it surely didn't help that the execution was dreadful, his decision-making in itself was brutal. Nagy's stubbornness and ego seem to always get the best of him. It might be time for him to relinquish the play-calling duties. If it's not evident yet, perhaps another fourth and one pitch to Cordarrelle Patterson on the short side of the field for a loss might do it. The offense was 4 for 14 on third downs and 1 for 4 on fourth downs. So much for an offensive guru.
To make matters worse, during the broadcast, analyst Brian Griese dropped a bit of a bombshell regarding the disconnect between the coach and his QB.
Matt Nagy: Head Coach
Matt Nagy the head coach wasn't nearly as bad tonight as the play-caller. However, it wasn't pretty. The team came out flat and looked unprepared. The Bears' sloppiness and lack of attention to detail falls on the head honcho. Some of the decisions he made as the head coach were fine. It was the execution and the play-calling that made little sense.
The one truly baffling moment by Nagy was before the end of the first half when the Bears forced the Rams into a fourth-down situation and he just pocketed a timeout to let the second quarter expire into halftime.
To Nagy's credit, he did execute a successful challenge when Anthony Miller was ruled to have dropped a pass. Miller actually made a one-handed catch and the ball popped out as he hit the turf, as replay confirmed.
The offensive line was a mess all night. They got bullied by the Rams defense all night long. Their run blocking was woeful. David Montgomery hardly had any room to run was finding his blockers being pushed back into him. And that's not even getting into the pass protection yet.
Leonard Floyd beat Bobby Massie repeatedly like a drum. The former Bears recorded two sacks on the night. Aaron Donald didn't show up much on the stat sheet, but he was wreaking havoc against an under-matched unit. Rashaad Coward will have Donald in his nightmares for a long time to come.
It was an all-around pathetic performance by the Bears' offensive front, as they surrendered four sacks in total. Juan Castillo isn't the savior of any sort. There's a general lack of talent within the personnel. Rashaad Coward should not be starting anymore. Instead, the Bears need to go forward with Alex Bars or acquire another left guard.
It was a brutal night for the Bears' quarterback. Foles's final stat line read: 28/40, 261 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 66.8 QB Rating. He was clearly the better option over Trubisky, right? That's what most people wanted to believe. His two interceptions were due to awful decisions, he missed a handful of throws, and he forced several throws into double coverage. Since taking over, Foles has recorded six touchdowns and six interceptions. Perhaps he's not the answer after all.
Yikes. That's all. No more. It's Cole Kmet time.
The defense had a rough night. The Rams game-planned and executed well. Several boot-action plays by their offense had the Bears' defense dead to rights. The Rams even went with an uptempo, hurry-up approach. It took a while for the defense to adjust but they ultimately did. The unit recorded one sack on the night, which came from Khalil Mack. The defense did manage a touchdown when Robert Quinn forced a fumble and Eddie Jackson scooped it up to score.
Ted Ginn Jr.
The veteran should no longer be rostered. Ginn hasn't provided anything on offense and after this game it's safe to declare that he's awful as a punt returner. Every punt he let go managed to put the Bears offense in a precarious position.
Starting Field Position
Ginn would have been better off returning the punts. The Bears' average starting field position was the CHI 5.8 (~6).
Hekker was the player of the game, hands down. The Rams' punter flipped field position on the Bears and forced them to go the length of the field on all five of his punts. All five punts were inside the 20, and even then all of them were at the ten or inside of the ten. A lot of this falls on Ted Ginn Jr.'s shoulders for being an inept returner, but even so -- bravo, Mr. Hekker.
There weren't many positives to take away from this game. It was a clunker. The Bears got outplayed in every phase of the game -- coaching, offense, defense, and special teams. They simply have to throw this one away and move onto the next contest.
There were a few minor injuries throughout the game: Eddie Jackson (returned), Khalil Mack (returned), Cody Whitehair (out). They've got to get healthy because the next game won't be any easier.
What's On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears have a short week before their Week 8 opponent. The New Orleans Saints coming marching into Soldier Field on Sunday, November 1st at 3:25 PM CDT. The game will be televised on FOX. The Saints currently sit at 4-2 after a win against their divisional rivals, the Panthers, on Sunday. The Bears will have their hands full with Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas (should he play), Emmanuel Sanders, and the plethora of weapons New Orleans has.
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.