A victory over the Texans is a loss if it stops the McCaskeys from making changes
A blowout over a bad team doesn’t mean Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy should keep their jobs.
Would you be OK with the Bears making the playoffs if it meant that general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy kept their jobs? I didn’t think so.
And, yet, were some of you cheering the Bears’ 36-7 victory over the sorely depleted Texans on Sunday? I’ll pretend I didn’t see that.
For the perceptive Bears fan, the concern coming out of the game is that the McCaskeys are letting out a collective sigh of relief that could blow into the offseason.
The family is usually loath to make changes, change being the work of the devil and/or sportswriters, so the worry among the faithful is that ownership will look at this game and declare Pace, Nagy and possibly even quarterback Mitch Trubisky worth keeping.
But the victory, although easy on the eyes, doesn’t change the six straight losses that preceded it or the ineptitude that has dogged this franchise for years. The TV announcers kept talking about the Bears’ playoff chances, which is a function of the fact that somebody has to make the playoffs. The Bears’ 6-7 record is a function of their being mediocre, at best.
This isn’t good, folks. Sunday doesn’t push the Bears in the direction of full-blown change, which is what they dearly need. New owners are in order, too, but with the chances of that happening being south of zero, we’ll have to agitate for change on the football side of things.
I know I’m supposed to be on board the parade float after a decisive victory like this. There’s no quit in these Bears! David Montgomery had an 80-yard touchdown run on his team’s first play of the game! Trubisky “outplayed” Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, whom the Bears infamously passed on to take Mitch in the 2017 draft! The Bears sacked Watson six times! But what does saying “yay” to any of that do? It takes pressure off ownership to do something about the mess it has made for the better part of four decades.
If you think this Bears team would do anything in the playoffs, you need to go lie down.
If you really, really care about this franchise, you’re not looking at the remaining schedule (at Vikings, at Jaguars, vs. Packers) and thinking, “Where’s the Super Bowl being played this season?” You’re thinking that what you saw against the Texans was a mirage or sleight of hand.
Houston, without a boatload of players because of injuries, suspensions and illness, was horrible. Trubisky’s numbers (24-for-33, 267 yards, three touchdown passes) were excellent, helped along perhaps by Houston’s refusal to cover receivers. A decent-sized eggplant could have completed some of those passes. No offense, Mitch.
“Today my goal was to go out there and be present, just play each play as its own entity,’’ he said.
It helps when the Texans are present.
“Offensively, like I’ve been saying for the last three weeks, I think we’re starting to create an identity,’’ Nagy said. “You’re feeling it. We’re starting to see it on the scoreboard.’’
I worry that Bears chairman George McCaskey will read that Nagy quote and say, “You know, he’s right. Who needs a new coach? As for Ryan Pace, let the person who hasn’t whiffed on two franchise quarterbacks cast the first stone.’’
I’m reminded of the emotion that Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman showed last year after the Illini’s massive comeback victory over Michigan State. He hugged coach Lovie Smith as if he were a soldier returning from war. The victory clinched a bowl bid, but I believe Whitman was relieved he wouldn’t have to fire his coach, even if that was the right thing to do for the program. Instead, he waited until Sunday to can Smith, who went 17-39 in five seasons at Illinois.
A victory over a bad Houston team doesn’t change anything, no matter how often the CBS announcers talked about the “energy’’ on the Bears’ sideline.
Where was that energy when the Packers were clobbering them two weeks ago?
I’ve never been a fan of the company line, and maybe that’s a weakness. If I were, I’d be gushing about Trubisky’s accuracy in this game. But I keep coming back to an uncomfortable truth: the Houston Texans. They seemed stunned that Allen Robinson, Trubisky’s favorite target, was Trubisky’s favorite target.
At halftime, with the Bears leading 30-7, Trubisky was 18-for-21 for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He is very good against teams like Houston.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time in terms of the big picture for the Bears, the only picture that matters.