There’s an old adage regarding hindsight being 20/20 and it’s never been more applicable to Chicago Bears head coach John Fox:
John Fox on the bad challenge: "It’s a fair question. Unfortunately I can’t really respond exactly how I’d like to. Obviously in those situations, hindsight is 20/20. I probably would not challenge that if I was given that opportunity again. I’m going to leave it at that."
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) November 13, 2017
Fox declined to go deeper into the controversial topic that took a scoring chance off the board for the Bears, who lost by a touchdown at home to a short-handed Packers team coming off a short week and three straight losses. Had Fox not challenged the call, Chicago would have had the ball in a 1st-and-goal situation inside the 5-yard-line.
What would have happened from there is anyone’s guess, but it’s worth noting the Bears have scored on 56.3 percent of their red zone possessions – which is the 11th highest scoring percentage in the NFL. It should also be pointed out the Bears hasn’t committed a red zone turnover all year. No interceptions from Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky and no fumbles from Jordan Howard or Tarik Cohen. So much has gone wrong for the Bears offense, at least that is going OK.
Just based on the odds at our disposal, that challenged cost a Bears team with a razor-thin margin for error some precious points. Yeah, that one is going to sting for a while.
- And to think, Fox believes every indication the team had showed running back Benny Cunningham scored a touchdown on the play. “Maybe you can see [the fumble] after looking at it 50 times, like some people are able to do,” Fox said in Patrick Finley’s Chicago Sun-Times postgame piece. “But during our look, during the game, that wasn’t even discussed.” To be fair to Fox and the team’s review staff, they had a finite amount of time to review the play and make a decision whether or not to ask for a challenge. That the possibility of the review resulting in a fumble/touchback call didn’t come up among the review team is concerning, considering that it was brought up as a possibility by FOX’s broadcast team.
- WGN Bears insider Adam Hoge describes what might have been the biggest game of the John Fox Era as a flop. Week 10 against the Packers was the latest example of a disturbing trend of the Bears coming out of the bye flat and playing sloppy football. It’s not a great look when a team has two weeks to prepare for an opponent and it comes out lifeless on the offense’s first possession, committing a slew of penalties throughout a close game. All facets of the team looked to have taken a step back, thus nullifying a lot of the good vibes earned heading into the bye.
- Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly piles on and describes the Bears’ efforts against the Packers as “sloppy” and “ill-prepared” … which are two pretty damning terms. Arkush had a good look at Green Bay during its loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football and saw a team that didn’t look prepared to beat anyone. And while the Packers still enjoyed an advantage with better skill position players on the outside than the Bears, Sunday’s game was winnable for Chicago. This missed opportunity could be one that haunt Fox and his staff, especially if they are sent packing at season’s end. Remember, Fox has only one year left on his four-year deal and GM Ryan Pace has two on his. It’s rare to see coaches enter the final year of their deals with “lame duck” status, so we’ll see how Fox and his bunch bounce back.
- Speaking of bouncing back, Kyle Long didn’t get a chance to do so on Sunday as he was relegated to backup duty because Fox didn’t feel he was prepared to play a full game as an offensive lineman and doesn’t seem to have an idea of when he’ll return. Long’s injury troubles in recent years are well-documented, though, it’s troubling to think about how the Bears’ offensive line situation where an injured Long is the team’s only reliable reserve.
- Long isn’t the only Bears starter who was relegated to special teams duty in Week 10. Cornerback Marcus Cooper, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason with the idea of solidifying the secondary played more special teams snaps (14) than he did on defense (1). This is the fourth straight week in which Cooper has played more on special teams than he has on defense. Cooper has played a grand total of 14 defensive snaps in his last four games and is a non-factor on that side of the ball eight games into his Bears career.
- It’s understandable if you wanted to start looking elsewhere for hope. For those of you who are the biggest dreamers, look no further to the land of Hollywood stories and let your imagination run wild. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times believes the Los Angeles Rams’ situation is worth watching for inspiration, as their coaching hire (Sean McVay) has done wonders to develop Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft who looked lost as a rookie last season.
- It’s OK to dream on Trubisky taking the next step in his development with a new coach and coordinator. Especially if it’s one with a background in working with and developing young quarterbacks. ESPN tracked the best rookie performances of Week 10, where you’ll find Trubisky’s 21-of-35, 297-yard performance among the best of the bunch. If you’ll recall, Trubisky excelled when facing blitzers. But as Jeff Dickerson points out, Trubisky still has some growing to do when facing a stacked secondary. Trubisky has no touchdowns and two interceptions when seven players are in coverage. He’ll need to improve on that in order to make real progress before this season ends.