Why I’m Not Writing a “How the Bears Beat the Niners” Column

| October 28th, 2021

Let me walk you behind the DBB curtain.

Every Monday, for about 5-6 hours, I watch the Short Cuts presentation of every NFL game played on Sunday through the digital Sunday Ticket package. If you have the time, this makes the exorbitant cost of that package somewhat worth it, as you find many of the national narratives surrounding these games are just wildly inaccurate. (It is amazing how many games are decided by big drops and even bigger penalties but we never hear about those things.)

During these sessions, I take specific notes on all future Bears opponents. I’m not trying to get an advanced degree in this stuff; these are aren’t thorough, multileveled notes. But if I see a team struggle to defend a certain concept Week One, I will note it. If the team struggles with that concept again Week Four, I note it again. Alas, when the Bears play this team, I suggest they involve this concept. It’s that simplistic.

But the Bears never do it.

Any of it.

And it’s exhausting.

Because I am not Nate Tice or Robert Mays or Brian Baldinger. I have made it a point over the years to avoid being too technical when writing about football. How much do people really want to read about sluggo routes and robber technique? Do you really want to read about why dagger concept is more effective against Cover 2 than Cover 1? I value the X and O writers tremendously; they make us all smarter. But I’m just far more interested in the big player, making the big play, in the big moment. That’s what makes me want to write about the sport. (That’s what really, in a sense, makes me wanna write about anything. I’m far more interested in Tevye battling against the crumbling of religious/cultural tradition than in learning how he supports his family selling milk and cheese to poor Russians. Mays would be giggling through his podcast, discussing Tevye’s wagon/mule overhead.)

What do the Bears need to do to beat the Niners?

They need to block them. They need to tackle them. They need to catch the football. They need to hit Garoppolo. The Bears are underdogs at home to a two-win mess of a team. They need to play like they’re embarrassed by that fact. If they do these things, no matter who their coach is, they’ll be 4-4 Sunday afternoon. If they don’t, their season is over.

Yes, I have moved on from Matt Nagy as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. (And hopefully George McCaskey will do the same soon.) The Bears are not going to out-scheme any remaining opponent on their schedule. But they can still outhustle and outwork them. They can still give their fans something to care about on Sunday. They can still win games despite the ineptitude of the fella on their sidelines.

So let’s see it. Because I’ve got a bunch of Steelers notes for next week and I’d like to use them.