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Film study: Breaking down Bears’ hard hits, ‘dumb’ picks and missed blocks

Four plays that defined the Bears’ admittedly ugly win at the Panthers on Sunday.

Bears quarterback Nick Foles drops back Sunday against the Panthers.
Bears quarterback Nick Foles drops back Sunday against the Panthers.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Four plays that defined the Bears’ ugly victory Sunday at the Panthers:

Foles’ pick

Quarterback Nick Foles called his third-quarter interception ‘‘dumb’’ Sunday. But he wasn’t the only one to blame for the play.

Safety Eddie Jackson had just forced a fumble about five minutes into the second half when Foles lined up with three tight ends right and receiver Allen Robinson split left. He took the snap from under center, began backpedaling and never stopped.

Defensive tackle Derrick Brown clubbed left guard Rashaad Coward with his right arm and ripped through him with a left uppercut. Another defensive tackle, Zach Kerr, lined up over right guard Germain Ifedi, took two steps toward the tackle, then rushed between Ifedi and center Cody Whitehair — and right toward Foles.

Running back David Montgomery, who was responsible for pass blocking only if there was a blitz, released between the left guard and tackle.

By the time Foles threw the ball off his back foot at the 35-yard line, the four closest players to him were Panthers.

Foles lofted an easy interception to Southern Illinois alum Jeremy Chinn at the 9 — an absolutely inexcusable turnover, considering the circumstances. Foles’ offensive line, though, gave him little chance to make a positive play.

‘‘We had a little breakthrough,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘That’s football. That happens in the NFL. It’s one of those deals I think Nick would tell you, ‘Hey, don’t make a bad play worse.’ ’’

Rough start

Unlike last week, Nagy was hesitant to delve into specifics when he was asked about his frustration with the offense. He did offer one play that drove him nuts, however.

About six minutes into the second quarter, the Bears ran on second-and-six from the Panthers’ 10. Foles, who audibled at the line of scrimmage, took the snap under center and handed off to Montgomery, who ran behind two tight ends to the right side.

Brown lined up over Coward, who started Sunday in place of injured James Daniels. Coward pulled right, but Brown caught him by his left shoulder, threw him to the ground and made the tackle.

‘‘That was a play that jumped out to me that we wish we would have been a little better there,’’ Nagy said.

Second-year player Alex Bars replaced Daniels when he was hurt last week. But the Bears turned to Coward, who started 10 times at right guard last season, on Sunday. Nagy said that experience was a factor in the decision.

‘‘There’s a couple of plays here and there that Rashaad had that he probably wants back,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘But I thought there’s a lot of other plays where, all things considered, he did a pretty good job. We’ve just got to keep plugging away.’’

Fuller’s hit

On second-and-10 with 4:35 left in the second quarter, cornerback Kyle Fuller lowered his shoulder to hit receiver Keith Kirkwood just as Teddy Bridgewater delivered him the ball at the Bears’ 14. The pass fell incomplete, but Fuller was flagged for a personal foul, even though replays showed he hit Kirkwood’s shoulder with his own.

Nagy said he joked with Fuller, who sits behind him on the team plane, about the hit.

‘‘There is literally nothing you can do in his position,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He’s just playing football. It’s unfortunate. It’s a bang-bang play. The referees have a tough job there when it is that fast.

‘‘Just one of those games [Sunday] where it felt like we had a few things that went against us — not intentionally or anything like that.’’

Five plays later, Fuller made a tackle that saved the Bears four points. On second-and-goal from the 3, Bridgewater faked a zone-read handoff left, kept the ball and ran right. With the Bears’ defense collapsing toward running back Mike Davis, Fuller was the only person between Bridgewater and the end zone.

Fuller took two steps forward and toppled Bridgewater to the ground at the 2. Bridgewater threw an incompletion on third down, and the Panthers kicked a field goal.

‘‘That open-field tackle, that’s not easy,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He did a good job of getting him down.’’

Details, details

When Nagy railed against the Bears’ lack of attention to offensive details last week, this is what he had in mind: On third-and-three with about 2:30 left in the first quarter, receiver Anthony Miller lined up in the left slot and ran a crossing route along the Panthers’ 45, which was the line to gain the first down.

Three linebackers dropped into zone coverage behind him, and two defensive backs waited on the right side of the field. Safety Trey Boston ran to cover Montgomery in the right flat. Once Boston committed, Foles threw to an open Miller. Boston broke for him as he caught the ball.

Rather than falling forward for a first down, however, Miller took a step back to try to gain more yardage and was tackled short of the sticks. The Bears were forced to punt.