Sunday’s loss to the Eagles is going to be discussed for a long time and Cody Parkey will remain the centerpiece of that conversation. But here are five (I think) unique observations from inside the building.
- The crowd wanted to be the loudest and most intense crowd at Soldier Field in thirty years. But oddly, the defense deflated them constantly. The Eagles converted way too many third downs, and converted them with relative ease, with Foles throwing to wide open receivers under little pressure. Third down is when the lakefront faithful reached fever pitch. Building back up to that level, on a cold windy night, was not easy.
- There was a distinct change in Mitch Trubisky after completing the 3rd-and-11 late. His confidence seemed shaken. His receivers were not winning on the outside. He wasn’t able to create with his legs because he was clearly nursing an injury. But after he completed that pass, he took control of the game. He was brilliant down the stretch and would have been the story of the game if…well, you know.
- When the Bears spread the Eagles out, the Eagles had no answer. I wrote last week this was not a game the Bears should plan to win on the ground. That’s a great Eagles front. When Nagy spread them out, Trubisky had open receivers everywhere. Why didn’t the Bears change their approach in the second half? Why didn’t they recognize those mismatches? This was not a banner day for the coaching staff on either side of the ball.
- Khalil Mack was close to making a few big plays but by-and-large the Eagles offensive line were the stars of the game. I spent about a dozen plays watching Mack exclusively and he tried every move in the book on both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. I was surprised how soft the coverage was on the outside, especially by Kyle Fuller. The All Pro corner was giving so much space to the Philly wideouts he made it easy on Foles early.
- Here’s my Cody Parkey bit. Maybe the tip of the ball had an influence on its direction. Maybe it didn’t. But I will tell you no one in that building believed Cody Parkey was going to make a 43-yard field goal to win a playoff game. Nobody. And if your fans don’t believe your kicker can make a chip shot to win a playoff game, the guy shouldn’t be your kicker. Parkey didn’t need a loving locker room a few months ago. He needed competition.