I used Monday as a palate cleanser and stayed away from the ol’ sports-a-roo. So Tuesday was my big return to the sports world. Unfortunately, my alma mater’s basketball team didn’t return the love. Southern Illinois basketball lost by 12 in a game where they were down by as many as 20 in the first half. So much for sports being nice to me after Sunday’s soul-crushing loss. Sigh. Let’s move on.
- In a sense, the season ended the way it began, wondering whether or not Jordan Howard should have received more carries (let alone Tarik Cohen). Ten rushes for 35 yards is hardly what you would expect out of a back who is built for grind-it-out games in cold weather, but that’s how it goes some times. At least Howard had fun along the way:
Hell of a season we had! This was definitely the most fun I’ve had playing football in a while! Thank You Chicago for the unbelievable support this year 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/55EZLguYGd
— Jordan Howard (@JHowardx24) January 8, 2019
- Few Bears players publicly celebrated the arrival of Head Coach Matt Nagy like Howard. The Nagy hire helped inspire Howard to predict an NFC North championship and dream about the big numbers he could post on the season ahead. And while Howard’s NFC North prognostication came true, he fell short of the statistical expectations set before him. We’ll dive deeper into the numbers and Howard’s future later, but his tweet expressing the fun he had this year shouldn’t be lost on us. Because while his stats took a hit, he was part of a winning culture for the first time in his pro career and that seems to have left a mark on him.
- I would enjoy this graphic more if Mitch Trubisky was preparing to face the Los Angeles Rams this week:
2018 Wild Card Round Passing Leaders!
— NFL (@NFL) January 9, 2019
- Two of the three leading passers this weekend were on losing teams. Both were selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. You’re up, Patrick Mahomes.
Taking this one step further: Since 2013, QBs are 4-15 in their first playoff start. https://t.co/C02ZHCaySD
— trey wingo (@wingoz) January 9, 2019
- Khalil Mack had six tackles, two quarterback hits, and a tackle for loss against the Eagles, but didn’t pick up any sacks. He did provide this highlight for us:
Impressive display of power late in the rep by Mack here to toss aside Peters: pic.twitter.com/TbYio3sMuW
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 8, 2019
- One way to keep Mack off the stat sheet is by sending three blockers his way:
Peters is one of the better LTs In The league and gets to his “spot” as good as anyone. But this is what blocking Mack” 1 on 1 “ looks like. Outside help from the RB and inside help from the LG. pic.twitter.com/ekXvxSAGpz
— Olin kreutz (@olin_kreutz) January 9, 2019
- Yep, the Bears missed Eddie Jackson:
Sure the season didn't end they way they had hoped – but Bears fans were treated to a very special season from Eddie Jackson. pic.twitter.com/fAwJQ6WF1b
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 9, 2019
The highest-graded safeties so far this postseason, after the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs pic.twitter.com/uG4mcjX7V6
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 9, 2019
- This one stings:
3rd-and-6. Adrian Amos closing in.@ShowtimeTate made an INCREDIBLE catch over the middle😤
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 9, 2019
- Maybe it’s because the Bears have run this play well rolling right and sprinting left. Or perhaps it’s because it’s the play that ended Chicago’s magical run in 2018. In the end, re-watching this still hurts:
Sprint right option, sometimes known as Q8, for the Eagles' win over the Bears
This play — and variations of it — is generations old, an old Bill Walsh staple
Often used as a 2-point conversion … pic.twitter.com/nELwSHJXOQ
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 8, 2019
- The Bears could have used someone like Cre’von LeBlanc holding down the slot corner position in the wake of Bryce Callahan’s season ending injury. Eagles DC Jim Schwartz has got to love his former NFC North rival:
Jim Schwartz said adding Cre’von LeBlanc was one of the keys to the season. Gushes about the job the scouting staff did to claim him.
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) January 8, 2019
- Who would have thought Marcus Cooper Sr. beating out Cre’von LeBlanc in August would have impacted the Bears in January. Football, man. You just can’t predict it.
- This is kinda deep. Maybe too deep for a football thought:
“We allow golfers to choke in a different way…they’re all going to choke. Place kicking…nobody else on the team can do your job, but they be judging you.”
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) January 8, 2019
- The support for Parkey has been surprisingly strong and it’s no surprise it’s coming from team leaders:
— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2019
Kyle Long on Cody Parkey: We lost as a team https://t.co/1fLlLroZtE
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 8, 2019
Tarik Cohen defending Cody Parkey. pic.twitter.com/qPDXQVEEoY
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) January 7, 2019
- And while surely some of it could be guys simply saying the right thing, I would argue this is part of the culture Nagy and the Bears built this year. You can’t claim to be “family” only when things are going well. And you definitely can’t be there for someone only when they’re acing everything. What kind of culture would that be? What type of message would that send? Sometimes, “the family” (or members of the family) disappoint you. That’s when they need your support the most.
- Some views from That Team in Wisconsin. The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino takes a deeper look at new Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleuer, while long-time scribe-turned-independent-website-operator Bob McGinn turned his eyes to the coaches Green Bay didn’t interview.