Not Quite Ready For Primetime Players: Bears Fall to 3-3 After Losing to Patriots

| October 22nd, 2018

Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/Boston Herald

Not a particularly difficult game to diagnose. So here comes the diagnosis:

  • Two special teams touchdowns. Nobody is beating the New England Patriots if they allow them 14 points on specials. Cody Parkey had been consistently knocking kickoffs through the end zone until Sunday and his failure to do so again cost the Bears dearly. Punt blocks simply can’t happen.
  • But that punt block and the Mitch Trubisky interceptions shared a theme: want to. The Patriots played with more heat, more fire, more passion. They wanted the fifty-fifty throws. They went after the punt. I wrote last week that the Bears needed to match the fever pitch of their fans in the building. They did not.
  • Trubisky had a truly strange game that will be difficult to evaluate until coach tape becomes available. He was harassed in the pocket and that harassment definitely caused accuracy issues. But without his ability to improvise and run, the Bears would have likely been blown out of this game. His scrambling touchdown run is one of the best plays by a Bears QB in decades.
  • The running game is broken. This has been coming all season long but yesterday, officially, it broke. Matt Nagy is still suffering through growing pains as the team’s play caller and utilizing his rushing attack is the biggest pain. Because Jordan Howard is never going to thrive on 12 carries a game. That’s not who he is as a player. Howard wears down the defense with his physicality. He’s a bruiser. And the Bears are using him like he’s T.J. Duckett.
  • Khalil Mack is hurt. And the team needs to sit him down and get him right. Using him as a decoy is not effective.

  • Vic Fangio is a good defensive coach but for years I’ve had the same complaint: stop using the edge rushers in coverage on third downs. Without Mack at 100% the Bears need to give Leonard Floyd and Aaron Lynch every chance possible to get to the quarterback. And they’re not doing that.
  • Trey Burton was unstoppable. This was the game many had been expecting all season long, especially me. Every time the Bears got behind the chains Sunday, Trubisky found Burton tucked beautifully into the Pats zone.
  • Tarik Cohen was a match-up nightmare for Bill Belichick as Nagy is now finding creative ways to involve him in the passing attack.
  • Why was Josh Bellamy so involved in this game plan?
  • First game this season where drops were an actual issue. This, I think, goes back to the desire on the field. Bears didn’t step up in the moment.
  • The Hail Mary had the potential to be the one of the most memorable plays in team history. Alas it was not meant to be. But Nagy and Mark Helfrich need to find a way to get Kevin White involved in their passing attack. He doesn’t need to be featured but why not throw him 2-3 passes a game, even if they’re quick bubble screens?
  • Kyle Fuller is having a great season. Outside of a bad quarter in Green Bay he’s been one of the most reliable corners in the league.

This team is good. But their 3-3 record is a fair one. However, they’ll be touchdown favorites home to the Jets this week and most likely touchdown favorites in Buffalo. Fans should expect this team to hunker down and end the first half 5-3. If they don’t, it’ll be a disappointing start to this campaign.

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