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Did you see Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen stopping to ask his offensive coordinator for a play call as the clock ticked below 40 seconds remaining yesterday? He could not have looked further over his head. He then threw a pick six that was negated by a penalty but that didn't save him. It wasn't long before the Bears ended the game perfectly - with one final sack.
Cardinals starter Sam Bradford may have struggled mightily in the second half, throwing interceptions, losing a critical fumble, but you can't bring in a rookie for his first NFL action with just over two minutes remaining and your team down by two.
Say what you will about Matt Nagy, and he had a rough day for the Bears despite the 16-14 victory, but acknowledge he's got fellow rookie head coach Steve Wilks beat. And be thankful the Cardinals made just enough mistakes to give the Bears the victory and the lead in the NFC North.
Not a good sign that Nagy seemed completely overmatched on several occasions in the second half. In just the sort of game where having three timeouts remaining in the final two minutes can make the difference (the Cardinals had them and used them to earn one final possession), the Bears coach squandered them right and left.
First suggestion: if you are going to be the play-caller, coach, you need an assistant whose job it is to tell you what to do in critical game situations, particularly fourth-and-shorts. Then you need to do what that assistant tells you.
Second, don't make things too complicated, for goodness sake. Nagy squandered his second, second-half timeout in a situation that should have been an easy call. Kick the field goal in the fourth quarter to take the lead. Yikes.
In general terms, this game looked like a classic trap. The Bears were facing a team that hadn't just lost its first two games, it had been embarrassed. The Cardinals didn't just struggle offensively last Sunday, they didn't take their first snap in opposing territory until the last play of the game. It felt as though if they were going to make anything positive happen this season, it had to start on Sunday.
The Cardinals were so bad in those first two games one wondered if the team had adopted a tanking mentality. If that was the case, no one told offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He was ready for the Bears with several plays in the first 10 minutes that sprung receivers wide open. Before you knew it, the Bears trailed 14-0.
We will be subject to another week of Mitch Trubisky analysis and the shame of it all is that his status should still be viewed as transitional. He has now played three games with extremely inexperienced head coach (never was that more apparent than Sunday) and it takes longer than that for this sort of partnership to come together - a lot longer.
However, so many local sports commentators spent the entire preseason telling us how smart Nagy is and how much potential Trubisky has that it isn't surprising expectations are way out of whack. I'm not sure who was the first to call days like this "Overreaction Mondays," but whoever it was is a genius.
So next up are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at noon. We can all settle in and scout what has been the most surprising offense in the league tonight, when the Bucs battle the Steelers on ESPN with people other than Jon Gruden on the call. Hallelujah.
The Bears clearly are a work in progress. The game yesterday was ugly but not nearly as ugly as the losses suffered by the Vikings and Packers earlier in the day.
Hang in there.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
Someone's about to earn this column's first moratorium.Continue reading "The Ex-Cub Factor" »
Posted on Apr 16, 2019