Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
This Bears team is starting to remind me of the 2007 team that failed to make the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl the previous season. Would you agree?
Des Moines, Iowa
What’s happening so far this year reminds me more of what transpired in 2002. After the Bears finished in last place in the NFC Central in 2000, they rebounded to win the division in 2001 with a 13-3 record. They were the NFL’s surprise team, winning some amazing games (Google “Mike Brown”) before losing at home to the Eagles in the playoffs (sound familiar?). Expectations were high entering the 2002 season, but the Bears lost their star defensive tackle Ted Washington to an injury early in the year and could never get back on track. I’m not saying they’ll follow the same path this season; the good news is that the Bears are 3-4 and still have time to right the ship. But as we all know that needs to start happening sooner rather than later, beginning Sunday when they visit the Eagles in Philadelphia.
I liked the balance the Bears had on offense against the Chargers. But why did they call a running play on third-and-goal from the 9 instead of throwing into the end zone?
Coach Matt Nagy explained Monday that that Tarik Cohen running play you’re asking about was called based on how the Chargers defense usually lines up in those situations. Said Nagy: “That’s a scheme play for tendencies that they showed with what they do on third-and-goal from the 9. That’s one of the hardest play calls in football is third-and-goal from the 9 to the 15. That’s hard because they just all sit back and they blanket and they zone you out and that’s a tough call. We had that schemed and we liked what we saw. It just didn’t work out for us.” Cohen gained two yards on the play, and Eddy Piñeiro followed by kicking a 25-yard field goal to give the Bears a 6-0 lead.
Why did the Bears run the ball from the 1-yard line late in the first half against the Chargers with no timeouts remaining? When they were stopped short, they had to spike the ball to kill the clock. If they had passed, they would have had another play and another chance to score a touchdown.
I think it had to do with mixing up their run/pass plays inside the 5-yard line. Mitchell Trubisky had thrown passes on the previous three plays; Cordarrelle Patterson was stopped after a 1-yard gain, Allen Robinson II drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone and Trubisky failed to connect with Adam Shaheen in the end zone. Here’s what coach Matt Nagy said when a reporter asked him a similar question to the one you posed: “That’s a very valid point, without a doubt. But we just felt like at that point and time with where we were with the plays that we had and some of the plays we had already used, we felt like that was something we wanted to go with.”