After another embarrassing Bears loss, time for a housecleaning at Halas Hall
General manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy need to go. You can throw in president Ted Phillips, too. Also, anyone want to buy an NFL franchise?
This cannot stand.
The Bears embarrassed themselves Sunday against the lowly Lions, a development that, in and of itself, is nothing new for such an oddball franchise. But this particular embarrassment came a week after the Bears had embarrassed themselves in a blowout loss to the Packers. That led to coach Matt Nagy telling his team, via a video news conference, to show some pride.
I don’t know if pride was in attendance at Soldier Field in the team’s 34-30 loss to Detroit. I do know that Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace shouldn’t be in attendance when the Bears play a game in the next, oh, 50 years. Same with team president Ted Phillips, the Halas Hall equivalent of a college fraternity legacy.
I’d throw in ownership, too, but there is no tool strong enough to remove the McCaskeys from team headquarters. I’d appeal to the family’s sense of pride, but there hasn’t been a Super Bowl title here since the 1985 season. So pride? Good one.
Be gone. The lot of you.
A six-game losing streak isn’t always reason for a housecleaning. Teams sometimes go through rough patches or have injuries. But this losing streak doesn’t come with those convenient alibis. The Bears simply haven’t thrived under Pace and Nagy. There was that nice season in 2018, which ended in the double-doink missed field goal in the playoffs, a metaphor for this organization if there ever was one. Since then, there has been a steady hum of nothing.
I don’t want to say that the Bears reached the low point in their nothingness Sunday. That would be unfair to all the eye-rolling moments that came before. I will say that the Bears deserved every bit of Sunday. What happened didn’t come out of nowhere. It came out of all the interconnected bad decisions and all the misplaced enthusiasm about locker-room “culture’’ during the past five years under Pace. It came out of the cosmos not being able to take anymore.
The Bears had a 30-27 lead and the ball with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left in Sunday’s game. A few first downs and they were set. But short of that, they’d still be in good shape if they didn’t make any dumb mistakes. On third-and-four from the Bears’ 17, quarterback Mitch Trubisky dropped back to pass. Here was the very definition of “dumb mistake.’’ Whoever called that play also needs to leave town immediately. You play it safe in that situation. You run the ball. You don’t give the other team the opportunity to make a game-changing play.
Defensive end Romeo Okwara stripped Trubisky of the football, and teammate John Penisini recovered at the Bears’ 7.
You have got to be kidding.
“We had to stay aggressive there,’’ Nagy said.
No. No, you didn’t. You run the ball and, if you can’t get the first down, you pray that your once-beloved defense makes a stand. Instead, a fumble before an attempted pass.
Two plays later, the Lions led 34-30.
But, wait! There was still 1:37 left in the game! Winning time, for all you Trubisky fans out there. Ah, but then the Bears’ inherent Bearness kicked in. On third-and-five, wide receiver Allen Robinson caught a short pass, but instead of getting the first down, he inexplicably stepped out of bounds a yard short. That, of course, led to running back David Montgomery getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-one. To summarize: Montgomery couldn’t get a yard after Robinson had declined to get one.
Because these are the Bears.
Lions ball with 11 seconds left. Game over. The Lions, a cursed franchise used to unfortunate things happening to them, looked like they were having an out-of-body experience.
It’s time for Pace and Nagy to have a permanent out-of-town experience. It’s impossible to tell what man-of-mystery Phillips does as it pertains to football matters, but if he were loaded into a train’s baggage car, few tears would be shed in Chicago. Somebody else should help the McCaskeys pick the wrong replacements for Pace and Nagy. Off topic: Anyone interested in overpaying for an NFL franchise?
The Bears talk a good game. They don’t play one. They talk about teammates getting along wonderfully. They talk about a happy work environment. These things are to football what a tuxedo is to a warthog. The only thing that matters is if your players are fast and mean, and if your quarterback can throw a 30-yard pass into an area the size of a monocle. Everything else is etiquette class.
After the game, Nagy said he wouldn’t get into any “speculation’’ about his job security. But his coaching and his team’s play the last two seasons had already thrust him into the discussion. Yes, Pace had saddled him with a bad quarterback situation, but that wasn’t the reason for Sunday’s debacle. Trubisky played well enough to beat the Lions.
No, chalk this one up to a franchise that, if there’s a decision to be made, will generally make the wrong one.
There’s an obvious decision to be made now. And that should scare the hell out of Bears fans.