In the waning moments of a game in which the Chicago Bears held a two-point lead, the team entered “Let them score!” territory. If you’re unfamiliar, we’ll be brief.
“Let them score!” territory comes when a defensive team’s best odds of winning the game are to allow the offensive team to score on purpose in order to get the ball back with enough time to put together a game-winning drive on offense. It’s a risky strategy, but it’s a strategy.
However, it’s a strategy John Fox refused to employ on Sunday and instead allowed Robbie Gould to kick a game-winning field goal that left the Bears with just four seconds to make a special teams miracle.
Here is Fox’s explanation:
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 5, 2017
Every time you think you’ve heard it all, Fox pulls another rabbit from out of his hat.
Only four more weeks of rabbits left, I suppose.
- If you were looking for some accountability from Fox, good luck with that. John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago writes accountability and identity are non-existent for a team that is currently a mess. Remember when defense and the running game were staples of the Bears offense? Fun times. The Bears’ defense is hanging on by a thread as it rotates through bench players to fill gaps, while the rushing offense has been stuck in neutral when things have gone backwards more often than one would like in the last two weeks.
- Mullin recalls a time in a high leverage spot when Mike Holmgren’s Packers allowed John Elway to score a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXII that would allow for Green Bay to try a game-winning drive. And while Mullin points out it didn’t work despite Holmgren having Favre, it’s not like the 49ers defense had Keith Traylor, Bill Romanowski, and Steve Atwater. It would have been worth a shot to see what Trubisky could have done in a late-game spot, just as he did against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in Week 10 and 11.
- Also at NBC Sports Chicago, JJ Stankevitz hands out his post-game grades. So while the defensive backs, running backs, defensive line, tight end, wide receivers, and offensive line didn’t receive passing grades, the coaching grade (F) stands out the most. Stankevitz believes the coaching staff’s game plan, conservative in-game decisions, and personnel groupings were worth questioning for a three-win team playing with nothing to lose and a lot to gain in the development area.
- Speaking of questionable in-game decisions, this play call on 2nd-and-7 from the 49ers 44-yard-line with 6:50 left in the fourth-quarter is a head-scratcher:
2nd & 7 from the SF 44-yard line with 6:50 to go in the fourth quarter.
Lotta moving parts and with nine guys in the box? I still don’t get this call. pic.twitter.com/mqL3gLpiqK
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) December 4, 2017
- There are nine guys in the box and a bunch of moving parts on the Bears side of things, not to mention a backup right guard. I’m not opposed to misdirection or gadget plays, but that wasn’t the time for it.
- And I don’t think Jordan Howard thought it was time for it either:
I don’t think Jordan Howard gets it either, tbh. pic.twitter.com/kCCSumYuR6
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) December 4, 2017
- From a fantasy perspective, ESPN’s Matthew Berry doesn’t think Howard is an option to be considered at RB1. That isn’t to say there isn’t value in Howard, but he has dropped a tier despite being on pace for an 1,180-yard rushing season.
- Howard’s production has dropped in 2017 and it probably deserves a deeper dive than a bullet … but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Let’s note that Howard’s usage still isn’t where it needs to be. He averages 19.1 touches per game, which is up slightly from the 18.7 touches he averaged in his rookie season – but far below scrimmage yards leaders like Le’Veon Bell (28) or Todd Gurley (22.6).
- HOWEVER, if your team is in the playoffs, Howard is definitely worth starting against a Bengals team that allows the eighth most fantasy points and next week against a Lions team that allows the fourth most, per Yahoo’s (PPR) scoring).
- Some broadcasting notes:
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) December 5, 2017
- Not only is the December 16 game between the Bears and Lions a Saturday special, it will come with analysis from a Hall of Fame broadcaster. Scheduling conflicts will push Cris Collinsworth out of the booth for the game, but will be replaced by Kurt Warner. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, Warner has served as an analyst for NFL Network since 2010 and has some experience working Monday Night Football games on the radio since 2014. Hearing his thoughts on Trubisky, the offense, and what the future holds for the Bears could be quite interesting.
- P.S.: We already know how much Warner likes Tarik Cohen.
- Even though Jim Harbaugh is still a hot coaching candidate in the eyes of NFL executives, he is still handling business (via Twitter, natch) at Michigan with a long-time rival:
Saw Coach D comments on continuing to "focus" on how "he" can beat Michigan. Congrats on turning around a 3-9 team, plagued with off field issues. Good for BIG to have him back.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) December 4, 2017
For all Spartans, “it’s not over, it’ll never be over, it’s just getting started” #SpartansWill
— Mark Dantonio (@DantonioMark) December 4, 2017
- I don’t know why Rob Gronkowski received a one-game suspension for injuring a player on a non-football play, but Danny Trevathan’s was worthy of a two-game slap on the wrist:
Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for 1 game for violation of unnecessary roughness rules pic.twitter.com/ySlimskMdh
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 4, 2017
- Speaking of suspensions, Bengals safety George Iloka gets a game for “violations of safety-related playing rules” stemming from a violent Monday Night Football game against the Steelers. Unless Iloka appeals and wins, he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Bears.