Film study: Why did Matt Nagy burn two timeouts but hold on to one?
Breaking down three gaffes and the sole bright spot from the Bears’ 24-10 debacle Monday against the Rams.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Breaking down three gaffes and the sole bright spot from the Bears’ 24-10 debacle Monday against the Rams:
More timeout problems
Coach Matt Nagy screwed up another timeout situation. First he used two of them a play apart, then he didn’t use his third.
With about four minutes left in the first half, quarterback Nick Foles called for protection help, moving slot receiver Darnell Mooney into the backfield — first to Foles’ left, then to his right. Amid the confusion, Nagy called a timeout.
After Foles completed a pass to Mooney, the Bears went no-huddle and got to the line of scrimmage but couldn’t line up correctly. Rather than being behind Foles, running back Cordarrelle Patterson was offset left. Nagy called a second timeout.
The Bears continue to struggle with the basics.
‘‘I just wanted to protect our guys and make sure that we didn’t waste a play,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Where [Foles] turns around and goes to hand the ball off and, you know, we’re not there.’’
Nagy said he’s ‘‘a little more lenient’’ with using timeouts in the first half than in the second.That makes what happened next inexplicable.
With 20 seconds left, Nagy let the clock run to halftime rather than using his last timeout to force a punt on fourth down.
That was an indictment of returner Ted Ginn, who has been useless — he has returned five punts for 24 yards and, Nagy said, let two balls fall that he should have caught Monday — since replacing injured Tarik Cohen.
Had he taken the timeout, Nagy said he would have tried to block the punt rather than return it.
So why not try?
‘‘I wasn’t, y’know, too concerned about that decision at the end of the half,’’ he said.
He should be. It was the second consecutive week Nagy bungled a timeout at the end of the first half. Against the Panthers, he took one with 2:07 left rather than lose only seven seconds before the two-minute warning.
‘‘That was a poor, poor decision there,’’ he said last week.
This was, too.
‘That would have been so nice’
On third-and-six from the Bears’ 5 about four minutes into the third quarter, Mooney lined up left and fooled cornerback Jalen Ramsey on a stutter-and-go. He was streaking down the sideline, wide-open, but pressure on Foles led to an overthrown pass and an incompletion.
‘‘If [Foles] probably had just half a tick more, that probably would have been a 95-yard touchdown,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Man, that would have been so nice to hit that and tie the game up at 10-10.’’
The Bears had an empty backfield and five linemen set to block five rushers. The Rams had four down linemen; the Bears had to find the fifth player. Just before the snap, inside linebacker Micah Kiser rushed between left tackle Charles Leno and left guard Rashaad Coward.
Nagy claimed his linemen heard the call the rusher was coming from the left. But when center Cody Whitehair looked right to help with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the left side was playing two-on-three. Leno looked inside to block Kiser, leaving edge rusher Jachai Polite with a run at Foles.
Foles — who was pressured on 37.2% of his dropbacks, according to NFL Next Gen Stats — could have thrown a hot-route pass to receiver Allen Robinson, who ran a slant from the left slot, for a first down. Tight end Jimmy Graham was open in the flat, too. Instead, he took a shot that didn’t work.
‘‘Nick knows he can throw those,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘But he also knows he can go ahead and hit Mooney, too.’’
The end-zone pick
With the Bears at the Rams’ 9 in the third quarter, receiver Anthony Miller ran a five-yard out toward the left sideline, but cornerback Darious Williams crashed down. Rolling left, Foles went to his second read: a corner route to Mooney.
Cornerback Troy Hill had his back turned as he chased Mooney to the back left pylon. As the ball arrived, Hill popped the ball with the back of his left hand to safety Taylor Rapp.
Like a lot of plays this season, it looked better to Nagy in the planning stages than it did on the field. Foles should have thrown the ball away.
‘‘The play design, before you see the play, you like it,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘It’s something that we’ve talked about that we liked. It’s an ability for us to get on the edge with Nick and maybe have a receiver to throw it to. . . .
‘‘When they do cover it like that, Nick would be the first to tell you that you just throw it even further in the back corner of the end zone or just throw the ball away and live to see the next down.’’
The only TD
Safety Eddie Jackson was scared twice. He grabbed his left knee while jumping on a blitz in the third quarter but said he knew it wasn’t a torn ligament. He had that injury in 2014.
‘‘It started to calm down,’’ he said. ‘‘I started to feel much better.’’
After having two touchdowns called back this season, Jackson finally found the end zone — but not before he thought the Bears had been flagged again.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, he picked up a fumble by Robert Woods (forced by outside linebacker Robert Quinn) and ran eight yards for a touchdown. He saw a flag, but it was a hold on tight end Johnny Mundt.