The Chicago Bears’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday clinched the team’s fourth consecutive losing season and placed John Fox at the top of a list no coach wants to be on.
Fox’s winning percentage has now dropped to .273 – below Abe Gibron, who coached the Bears to an 11-30-1 record from 1972 to 1974 – and is the new mark of futility for Bears coaches. Yikes.
- One of the things that has led Fox down past Gibron is decision-making. For example, his decision to not allow the 49ers to score a touchdown because he believed in his special teams unit’s chances at blocking a 24-yard field goal. Statistically speaking, that wasn’t a winning bet:
As for John Fox's comment yesterday that Bears didn't let Niners score TD because Chicago felt good about their chances to block Robbie Gould's final FG — there have been 2,431 FG attempts from inside 25 yards since 2001…..only 20 have been blocked (0.82%), per @ESPNStatsInfo
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) December 4, 2017
- And let’s be honest: although losing was probably in the Bears’ best long-term interest, I sincerely doubt that’s what Fox was thinking when he made this call.
- Fueling the FireFox campaign (well, other than us, I guess) has been regression on the offensive side of the ball. Fox’s teams have never put crazy points on the board (save for those Manning years) but the lack of creativity (from a guy who takes some credit for bringing the Wildcat to the NFL) has been damning. And his inability to get Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard more involved in the offense is even more painful. You can make sense of Howard getting seven carries against the league’s top rushing defense in a 28-point loss, but you can’t do the same when he gets just 13 attempts against the league’s 30th-ranked rushing defense.
- Play calling and predictability seem to go hand-in-hand with Fox and Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains. In 2017, Howard has averaged 4.2 yards per carry on rushing attempts when under center. But on Sunday, the Bears were in shotgun formation on 22 of 37 offensive plays. Mitch Trubisky dropped back to pass on 18 of the 22 plays in which the Bears were in shotgun. Rinse. Repeat. Always repeat.
- The Bears had 1st-and-10 on 14 occasions on Sunday. On nine of those plays, Howard was running the football. On seven of those nine Howard running plays, he ran to the left side of the line. Howard gained three yards or less on eight of those nine first-down runs. Predictable and unproductive.
- Questions in carving out playing time aren’t limited to the offensive side of the ball. Safety Chris Prosinski, who signed with the team late in the week, played on each of the defense’s 75 snaps. It’s a bit surprising that a player who hasn’t been with the team since the preseason received as much playing time as he did. Meanwhile, safety Deiondre’ Hall returned to the active roster and played nine special teams snaps. Why a player who hasn’t been with the team all year received more playing time on defense than a second-year fourth-round draft pick who has been with you all year is something worth asking when player development should be a top priority.
- Hub Arkush, who’s long been hesitant to ask for rolling heads, has changed his tune recently: “The thing I hate the most about my job is talking and writing about other people who should lose their jobs. None of us should ever want to see that happen to anyone – with the possible exception of politicians. (Ed. note: Zing!) But here’s the thing: Fox, Dowell Loggains or someone on the Bears needs to be fired.”
- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that there’s nothing left to evaluate for the Bears, adding that Fox’s dismissal is inevitable. And yet, Pace persists. “Every one of these games is an important evaluation,” Pace said during his weekly pregame appearance on WBBM-AM (780). “We look at these next five weeks as an opportunity to respond to adversity and an opportunity to finish our season strong and finish it the right way.”
- Meanwhile at the Chicago Tribune, Brad Biggs writes that the Bears aren’t responding to adversity – but instead are creating more of it with their recent performances. That’s so Bears.
- Creating adversity isn’t quite the situation you want to put your rookie quarterback in. And as Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times reminds us, it’s causing the Bears to muck up their top priority in providing an atmosphere in which Trubisky can grow into the quarterback he needs to become to lead this team out of its pit of misery.
- Speaking of adversity, wide receiver Josh Bellamy played on 30 of the 37 offensive snaps (81 percent) on Sunday. This is notable not because Bellamy missed Week 12’s game against the Eagles with a concussion, but instead because he is less than a week removed from engaging in a verbal altercation with then-teammate Tre McBride, which led to McBride’s release. So much for accountability in the building.
- And finally, sometimes change is going back to something familiar:
Giants are going back to Eli Manning as their starting quarterback, per @JordanRaanan.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2017
- Or, a little too familiar:
John Fox thinks Mitch Trubisky had his best game. Though, Trubisky didn’t really throw the ball or move it down the field. And that Adam Shaheen has a bright future. Which is strange, considering his playing time has slipped the last 2 weeks.
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) December 4, 2017