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This one is on the defense. It isn't even close.
Yes, the offense had two brutal red-zone turnovers and another killer fumble late in regulation of the Bears' 31-28 loss to the Dolphins. And yes, Matt Nagy did some strange things at the end of the Bears' final possession.
Oh, and the refs sucked, what with the "Brushing the Passer" (thank you, Steve) call on Leonard Floyd and the infuriatingly ridiculous offensive pass interference on Trey Burton in the end zone. The zebras capped it all off with a crushing unwillingness to flag obvious holding down the stretch as Dolphins obviously grabbed Bear pass-rushers Khalil Mack continuously and Aaron Lynch on one huge play in particular.
But this was a supposed better-than-average defense against a back-up quarterback with limited arm strength. And that unit stunk it up all day long. Just like the Packers game when the Bears completely failed to take advantage of a hobbled Aaron Rodgers, Vic Fangio's unit failed to take advantage of an obvious, extended mismatch.
Come on, Vic! When the quarterback can't throw a pass of more than 25 yards with any accuracy you have your defensive backs move up and attack. Why is that so difficult for you? It is as though the man is so in love with his game plan (which this week was designed to counter strong-armed starter Ryan Tannehill rather than Brock Osweiler) that he will not change it no matter what.
Also, the tackling. I mean, are you kidding me? That was the most miserable display of tackling from the Bears since the atrocious one-two punch of huge losses to the Patriots and Packers in 2014 that sealed Marc Trestman's doom.
Albert Wilson, superstar! Except the Dolphins' until-now fringe receiver isn't that guy. Not even close. And yet the Bears defense treated him like he was freaking Barry Sanders at his absolute best.
One guy who does not wear goat horns in any way, shape or form? Mitch Trubisky. Yes the end zone interception was brutal, and if the second-year quarterback heaves up another wounded duck way back to the left after he rolls right (like he did twice on Sunday), we will have to stage an intervention.
But Trubisky did way more than enough to win. And when he had a chance to drive the Bears to decisive scores late, he was thwarted by Tarik Cohen's brutal fumble near midfield at the end of regulation and by Nagy's weird play-calling in OT.
After Akiem Hicks' miraculous forced fumble at the one and Eddie Goldman's fortuitous recovery on the goal line rather than even a couple inches further forward, the Bears took over on the 20 and Jordan Howard went to work.
Howard blasted forward for gains of 19 and 15 yards to take the Bears to the verge of field goal range (the Miami 41). Unfortunately, that apparently was all Howard could muster because coach "Ultimate Whiteboard" Nagy first brought in Tarik Cohen for a run up the middle (two yards) and then Bennie Cunningham (three) before finally going back to Howard, who was stuffed for no gain on third down.
It was as though Nagy thought the Bears were on the 31 rather than the 41 when they started that series of downs. Hopefully going forward, the coach will know that you don't go completely conservative when you are still looking at an eventual field goal attempt of more than 50 yards.
You also don't go completely conservative with Cohen and Cunningham! If you have those guys in the game you don't call plays that are obviously made for a bruiser like Howard. I'm guessing Howard was in good enough shape to do something that shouldn't have been that hard - run the ball for a third consecutive time. But the Bears rotated in other backs without calling plays for them - or for their quarterback who has shown he can run the football - or for anyone else doing anything else.
Cody Parkey came in for a much longer than necessary 53-yard field goal attempt, tried to give it a little extra oomph and lost it out to the right. Then the Bears defense failed one final time.
All of that being said, a loss on the road against a non-conference foe is not going to make or break this season. The Bears still have five games left against division opponents. Three of those will be at home. The contests against the Vikings, Packers and Lions are going to be what matters.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
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Posted on May 13, 2021