The Bears had no business losing to the Packers Sunday night. The team knows it. Their fans know it. Hell, even the folks in Green Bay would admit it if you asked them. It required a perfect storm of fine play (Rodgers) and horrible mistakes (Bears). That storm came. And it bloweth the club from Chicago to an 0-1 record to start their 2018 campaign.
Now they must rebound. Mitch Trubisky must rebound from the shaky mess that was his late-game performance. Kyle Fuller must rebound from dropping an interception that would have (a) been the easiest of his career and (b) won the football game. Matt Nagy must rebound from some head-scratching decisions on the sideline. (Those decisions have led to the coach receiving his first dose of criticism in Chicago.)
Next up is a “rebuilding” Seattle at Soldier Field. Followed by a road trip to a bad Arizona team – where half the building will be Chicago transplants – and a home affair with Ryan Fitzmagic. If the Bears finish the first quarter of their season at 2-2 there will be little conversation about the opening night collapse at Lambeau. If they finish the first quarter 3-1, the opener will be little more than an aberration, an isolated storm cloud in an otherwise clear blue sky. For those of you thinking this is a “pie in the sky” approach, you should take note the Bears will likely be favored in all three of these games.
Adversity defines character. And while a team would prefer not facing much of it over the course of their season, it is inevitable. Injuries. Bad penalties. Missed chip shots. Blown leads. These things happen. The Bears blew a game against their oldest rival on the national stage of Sunday Night Football. It sucked. But it’s also presented them with an opportunity to prove their mettle. To show one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports this is not “the same old Bears”.
That starts Monday night. Against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. The Nagy Bears have an opportunity to change the conversation. But only one thing achieves that goal: winning.
Greetings, Bears fans! Happy to be back!
A lot has happened since I went on hiatus. Some free agency moves have been made, the draft is done, and guess what? I’m officially excited about football again!
Truly, I don’t know how anyone, besides those who thrive on constant negativity (or those aiming to write for the Tribune), could consider this offseason anything short of a huge success for Chicago. The only move Ryan Pace made that I even slightly disagreed with was not matching the Saints offer for Cam Meredith, but honestly letting him walk is small potatoes compared to all the great additions made in 2018.
Of course there’s still the potential for roster moves and shake-ups (and God forbid, serious injuries) between now and the start of the season. Still, we have a much clearer idea of who the Bears are and what they’re going to look like, and damn it if they aren’t looking pretty, pretty good.
I figured I’d put all this unbridled enthusiasm to good use by making my return to DBB to discuss the four games I’m most looking forward to in 2018:
Now onto the worst games…
Honestly this was a lot harder to narrow down because the John Fox era has sucked something fierce. There are many, many games that you could make a case for, but after careful consideration I present to you the three worst games under John Fox.
#3. November 13th, 2016
Chicago @ Tampa Bay: Buccaneers 36, Bears 10
You remember that really dominant win against the Vikings I discussed yesterday? How the Bears had a bye week, and therefore plenty of time to get healthy and plan for a Tampa Bay team that was mediocre at best? Yeah, they ended up getting the crap kicked out of them in what was possibly Cutler’s worst performance as a Bear. He turned the ball over four times, including both a pick six and a fumble in the end zone that led to a safety. Jordan Howard also lost a fumble making it five turnovers on the day against a team that had previously struggled at getting takeaways.
The defense didn’t fare much better, allowing Jameis Winston to throw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Oh and this was also the game that Kyle Long tore up his ankle and was lost for the rest of the season (not to mention a good chunk of this one). A lot of the blame for this loss falls on Cutler, but the Bears had two weeks to prepare a game plan to beat the freaking Buccaneers and maybe turn the second half of their season into something worth watching. Instead they come out and lay a giant goddamn egg, spoiling whatever bit of goodwill they had built up in beating Minnesota two weeks before.
#2. September 28th, 2017
Chicago @ Green Bay: Packers 35, Bears 14
You didn’t really think we were going to get through this without mentioning the Mike Glennon era, did you? While it only lasted four games, it felt like four lifetimes.
The John Fox era is coming to an end in Chicago. All those “what-if” scenarios about the Bears winning out after dominating the Bengals can be put to bed after Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of the Lions. So for my first post on DBB I’m going to look back and reflect on the three best and three worst games of the John Fox era.
Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom, I’ll start with the good. As of writing this John Fox only has 13 wins as Bears coach; three of which came when Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley were under center. So really I’m looking at 10 games here. Slim pickings, but you work with what you’ve got.
#3. November 15th, 2015
Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams: Chicago 37, St. Louis 13.
This win marks the second biggest margin of victory of any Bears win under Fox. It followed a thrilling comeback win in San Diego against the Chargers the previous week, making it the second time that season the Bears managed to string two wins together in a row. (They have never managed three in a row under Fox.) Jay Cutler went 19/24 with 3 TDs, no turnovers, and a career high passer rating of 151.0. It was decisive, dominant, and damn fun to watch. It put the Bears at 4-5, which after a 0-3 start was a happy surprise. You could see the improvement in the team, and more importantly, you could see that they were buying into John Fox’s message and methodology. It felt like it could be the beginning of more good things to come.
#2. October 31st, 2016
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: Chicago 20, Minnesota 10.
Coming into this game things weren’t great for the Bears or John Fox. Rumors that week circulated that Ryan Pace had hired outside consultants to evaluate day-to-day operations and that Fox was potentially one bad game away from being fired. Jay Cutler was returning from a thumb injury with many under the opinion he had fallen out of favor with Fox, and had Brian Hoyer not gotten hurt the previous week against the Packers, might not have returned as a starter at all.
If Sunday’s horrendous performance against an undermanned Green Bay Packers, at home, in an empty stadium, didn’t seal John Fox’s fate with the Chicago Bears…what could? That is the question every single Bears fan can fairly ask this Monday morning. Because what happened at Soldier Field yesterday was inexcusable. The Bears, coming off the bye week, were out-coached and outplayed in all three phases of the game. And they were beaten by Brett Hundley.
The reasons to fire Fox all surfaced yesterday.
There were positives in this game. Mitch Trubisky. Dontrelle Inman. Adam Shaheen made a big play. Connor Barth looked like a pro kicker. But the Bears aren’t in the business of moral victories any longer. John Fox and this coaching staff need to show their program and approach will yield results. And yesterday was a game they HAD to win. That’s not hyperbolic. That’s a fact.
Where’s John Fox’s left hand?
I always like the Chicago Bears. And it’s goddamn Packers Week!
This has been an ongoing Twitter conversation, picked up by Jahns and I on the podcast midweek. But it’s worth restating what I know as the Bears embark upon the second half of their schedule.
94% of Americans (93% of gun owners) want background checks on every gun sale. Retweet if you do too.
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 6, 2017
On this week’s EARLY episode: