Bears show all their flaws in 17-7 loss to Rams as QB Mitch Trubisky exits late
The Bears fell to 4-6 and did little right in another deflating defeat. It was a comprehensive showcase of everything that’s wrong with them.
LOS ANGELES —What was once imagined to be a clash of NFC juggernauts deteriorated into a scuffle between two teams that have little to no shot at making the playoffs.
And even though the floundering Rams got past the even worse Bears 17-7 on Sunday night, they aren’t catching the Vikings or Seahawks for a wild-card spot. The Bears have been a playoff long shot since October and will keep insisting they’re alive until they’re mathematically eliminated, but they can’t hide from the reality that there is no salvaging this season.
The game was an exposé of everything that’s gone backward or stayed stagnant for a team that believed itself to be a Super Bowl contender.
“It’s a pretty [expletive] feeling,” wide receiver Allen Robinson said. “We’ve gotta play better.”
But can they?
There are 10 games’ worth of evidence suggesting — if not stating definitively — that this is the best this group can do.
That body of work is conclusive for the offense, in particular. The Bears have scored 16 or fewer points in 6 of 10 games and failed to crack 300 yards of total offense in all but one. Twenty-seven NFL teams are averaging more than 300 per game for the season.
The boiling point came when Matt Nagy infamously ran the ball seven times in Week 7 and declared himself “not an idiot” the next day. The truth is, as alarmingly bad as that game was, nothing has been fixed since.
“It’s been challenging,” he said. “In general, offensively, I know we have the pieces and everything. We just haven’t had that one game where it’s been four quarters of fireworks. It hasn’t happened.”
Fireworks? Is he serious? The Bears can’t even get a flicker.
The Bears sputtered to 16 points in a loss to the Chargers, played their worst first half of offense in the modern era at the Eagles and managed a three-touchdown interruption to a puntfest against the atrocious Lions’ defense.
It’s been unwatchable, yet for some reason the NFL and NBC insisted on leaving them in the Sunday night showcase so all of America could endure what Bears fans have sat through all season.
“It had nothing to do with effort,” Nagy said. “It’s just that seven points isn’t enough. You’ve gotta score more than that.”
There are glaring, smoldering failures on offense — all of which the Bears somehow never saw coming.
Mitch Trubisky dropped from being just OK to producing some of the worst quarterback play in the league.
And with the team down 10 with 3:24 remaining, Chase Daniel took over for him. Though the Bears announced Trubisky had a hip injury, he was not being attended to while standing on the sideline.
Trubisky finished 24-for-43 for 190 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 65.1 rating.
He’s the biggest problem, but there are others. The offensive line is perpetually in question. And the issue at tight end is, well, they don’t have one.
The defense is still good, but nothing like it was last season. Solid, but neither dominant nor intimidating. The Bears have slipped toward the middle of the pack in takeaways and run stopping.
“They’ve been playing extremely well all year,” Robinson said. “That’s the most frustrating part.”
Oh, one more thing: Kicker stress is back.
In one of the many regressions of the 2019 Bears, they’re right back where they started when they cut Cody Parkey in January. The feel-good story of Eddy Pineiro’s rise is over after a wide left and a wide right in the first quarter on a picturesque night brought him to five missed kicks in his last four games.
Pineiro was a buzzkill on the opening drive, when the offense rolled to the Rams’ 30-yard line before he missed a 48-yarder. Nagy bypassed that option the next time and opted to go for it on fourth-and-nine at the Rams’ 31. Pineiro missed again from 47 yards at the end of the quarter.
It’ll be interesting to see how much longer the Bears are willing to ride out Pineiro’s struggles this season and whether he can do enough in the final six games to solidify the spot going into next season.
There are several situations like that, sitting in uncertainty, and that’s not at all where the Bears thought they’d be. In a matter of months they went from dynasty-in-the-making to a long, concerning list of questions about their future.