If you’re reading this, I’d like to extend a sincere and hearty “thank you” for being here.
Thank you for your time, energy, passion, and discourse throughout the year. For your likes, follows, favorites, retweets, replies, shares, and comments. And also for entertaining my brand of silliness online. And most of all, thank you for being there for us (as well as the rest of the Bleacher Nation family) in what was one of the most ridiculous football seasons in the history of the world. This place wouldn’t be here without you.
And with that, we’re on with the rest of the Bullets.
• Everything else we talk about long-term is important and worthwhile. But it’s also important to note this part today: the season was obviously very difficult for players, coaches, teams, etc. They deserve credit for handling it relatively well:
Matt Nagy met with the Bears this morning before players broke to meet with their position coaches. His message to the team commended everyone for handling COVID-19 protocols and making it through this season.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) January 11, 2021
• As for what transpired on the field yesterday … yuck! Getting pushed around on national television by the NFC’s two top seeds in consecutive weeks was certainly sobering. Losing to the Packers and Saints in the way they did the last two Sundays should’ve been a wake-up call to everyone at Halas Hall. At a minimum, it should’ve put things into perspective.
• And if that doesn’t work, re-visiting the nationally televised games and the feelings those efforts brought to us should do the trick:
Bears on national TV this season…
Week 5: 20-19 win (Bucs), 243 total yards
Week 7: 24-10 loss (Rams), 279 yards
Week 10: 19-13 loss (Vikings), 149 yards
Week 12: 41-25 loss (Packers), 350 yards
Wild card: 21-9 loss (Saints), 239 yards
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) January 11, 2021
• Clearly, the solution here is for more noon games. Just as the Football Gods intended.
• The last time the Bears lost a playoff game, Cody Parkey was a convenient scape goat. The double-doink clouded our vision of the future and distracted us from bearing down on some real issues that have been recurring since that playoff game was played. Javon Wims’ woulda-coulda-shoulda-been-a touchdown could have been that for us this year, but there is PLENTY more blame to go around. In other words, the Bears didn’t lose because of Wims’ whiff. Although, it was the most Bears-y thing to happen in an afternoon where Chicago’s football team went full Bears. And you never wanna go full Bears.
• Just when you thought things were going well for the offense, the real Bears offense showed up. There was some good-will built up by bum-slaying in Weeks 13-16, but two weeks of a mostly nothing burger from the offense was a cold reminder of what really fueled that run of competence. Not to take it all away from the Bears. After all, we’ve seen this offense perform poorly against bad defenses. But these last two weeks are why I pushed to keep an honest perspective as to what was unfolding offensively. Particularly at quarterback.
• This can’t be your one offensive highlight:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 10, 2021
• For the record, Sunday’s offensive performance doesn’t all fall on Mitchell Trubisky’s shoulders. Anyone who places the entirety of the blame on Trubisky is foolish. HOWEVER, a Trubisky-led offense scored 3 points in the game’s first 59 minutes and didn’t score a touchdown until time expired. The unit had 140-something yards before that last-gasp drive when the game had already been decided. And the never-ending loop of unnecessary check-downs and 3-and-outs were painful to watch. Again, this isn’t all on Trubisky. But at some point, the quarterback taken second overall (and first in his draft class) in 2017 has to wear it. That’s just life at the most important position in sports.
• The same can be said for the head coach. Remember, Andy Reid said Matt Nagy was the assistant who was most ready to take on a head-coaching position. And because Reid has had dozens of assistants make the great leap, that meant something at the time. Right now? Not so much. Three years into the Nagy regime, and I’m still unsure of what his offense is supposed to do well. Part of that has to do with Nagy leaning more toward being a play-collector than a play-caller. But also, it’s an indictment of sub-par quarterback play. Brett’s thread nails it:
Folks: if your coaching staff is forced to scheme everything short for your quarterback in his fourth year in the NFL, the issue is not the scheme.
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) January 11, 2021
Just to conclude this thread visually so I can avoid further replies by pointing to this: pic.twitter.com/D9QCs1cpOz
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) January 11, 2021
• You can only scheme so much for so long before push comes to shove and the most important player on the field has to do something special. Between the graphic above and the games we watched the last two weeks, I think we’ve learned how much the offensive coaches at Halas Hall trust Trubisky. That is to say, they really don’t.
• The more I watch this play, the more I’m convinced that this pass was intended for DeAndre Carter:
Jimmy Graham caught the TD and left immediately
— PFF (@PFF) January 11, 2021
• Better late than never? Pro Football Focus’ Cornerback Shadow Index showed that Kyle Fuller shadowed Michael Thomas on 47.2 percent of his routes on Sunday. It’s the first time this year in which Fuller is credited for covering a specific player – no matter where he lined up. That was a wrinkle I wasn’t expecting to see. Thomas caught 2 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. I’m torn between wanting Fuller, the team’s best corner, to shadow an opposing team’s best WR at the risk of not playing a player in his most comfortable place and wanting to upgrade at nickel corner, thus nullifying the advantages of lining up a stud in the slot and creating epic mismatches.
• I guess it wasn’t all bad on Sunday:
Tashaun Gipson was the #Bears highest-graded player in the loss to the Saints at 87.4 overall
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) January 11, 2021
BIG MAN INT 😳
It’s the Bears ball
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 10, 2021
• It wasn’t even all bad for Mitchell Trubisky on Sunday:
Congrats to Mitchell Trubisky on adding a new honor to his awards section: the very first Nickelodeon Valuable Player pic.twitter.com/wzLt1fcTCo
— ProFootballReference (@pfref) January 11, 2021
• Watching with two friends, we had the Nickelodeon broadcast on a bit of a delay, but it turned out to be quite entertaining. At minimum, it’s a nice reminder that sports is supposed to be more fun than some make it out to be. I hope it comes back next year:
The @Nickelodeon broadcast of Bears-Saints "was enormously different and challenging and chaotic and fun."
Did you enjoy the non-traditional broadcast?
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) January 11, 2021
• A hearty congratulations to the Browns for their thorough thrashing of the Steelers. Exorcising the demons of a lengthy playoff drought is one thing. But to also do it against your arch rivals in their building is something else.
Baker Mayfield Postgame: “A guy named Blake that I introduced myself to literally right before the game stepped up”
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) January 11, 2021
• The final college football game of the season plays out tonight in Miami, where Alabama and Ohio State square off. Plenty of future pro talent on display. Hopefully, some future Bears, too.