Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Breaking down Week 7 loss to Saints

Two weeks of self-scouting, retooling and wearing out dry-erase boards in Halas Hall got coach Matt Nagy nowhere.

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Mitch Trubisky’s body language says it all.

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The good: Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. 

The bad: Just about everything else for the Bears.

The ugly: Two weeks of self-scouting, retooling and wearing out dry-erase boards in Halas Hall got coach Matt Nagy nowhere. And it has hit a point where no one can claim that getting QB Mitch Trubisky back on the field is helpful.

Let’s get to it ...

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Offense: Don’t let garbage time fool you

The return of starting QB Mitch Trubisky did little, if anything, to help an offense that’s struggled all season. The third-year quarterback couldn’t hit passes downfield and didn’t use his legs to contribute to a lifeless running game. Coach Matt Nagy’s play-calling left a lot to be desired. Someone needed to give this unit a spark, and for all of Allen Robinson’s best efforts early, it wasn’t enough until garbage time. As Rick Morrissey asks: Nagy had two weeks to fix the Bears’ offense and this is what he came up with?

By the numbers:
  • 235 PASSING YARDS: A huge portion of that production came late in the fourth quarter after the Saints opened a 36-10 lead. Trubisky threw a career-high 54 passes, and averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt.
  • 17 RUSHING YARDS: It’s officially a worrisome trend that the Bears’ running game won’t come to life. RB David Montgomery fumbled one of his two carries and didn’t do much damage on the other.
Offensive play of the game:

Defense: Vaunted ‘D’ bends and breaks

Bears defensive players were at a loss to explain the second consecutive game in which the unit fell flat. “Words really can’t explain it now,” S Eddie Jackson said. That might have been as accurate as any statement in the aftermath of the biggest regular-season loss of the Matt Nagy era. Several key players were unavailable to talk to reporters after the game, including LB Khalil Mack, who left the explaining to his teammates, reports Mark Potash.

By the numbers:
  • 419 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED: 273 passing, 146 rushing
  • 0 SACKS: Bilal Nichols, Abdullah Anderson
  • 0 TAKEAWAYS: And they really could’ve used one.

Special Teams: Patterson delivers; punt blocking doesn’t

What a roller-coaster ride by the Bears’ special-team group. There was the stunning Cordarelle Patterson kick return for a touchdown, but the Saints also got hands on two punts, including one that led to a safety after the game’s opening possession. You have to love Patterson’s big-play ability — and the kickoff team’s onside kick recovery — but they merely salvaged an otherwise rough afternoon.

By the numbers:
  • Eddy Pineiro: 1-of-1 FG; 1-of-1 XP.
  • Pineiro is now 9-for-10 on FG’s this season and 11-for-11 on extra-point attempts.
  • WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD. It was the first KO return for a TD by the Bears since Chris Williams returned a KO 101 yards for a TD at Green Bay (11/9/2014). It also marked the first KO return for a TD by a Bears player at Soldier Field since Devin Hester against the Vikings on 10/16/2011.

Here’s Patterson’s kick return, which is also arguably the team’s best offensive play of the game, too.

What They’re Saying

Coach Matt Nagy: “Something has got to change, and I’ll say this, something will change. I don’t know what it is, and you guys may not know, maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but something will change because it’s not good enough right now.”

QB Mitch Trubisky: “I mean, right now we have no identity. We’re just searching. We don’t have any rhythm. We’re not the offense we were last year.” 

QB Teddy Bridgewater: “We knew how tough their defense was. We had heard about it all week. We just knew that we had to play a physical game and we did just that.”

From Our Notebooks

  • Coach Matt Nagy spoke for everyone when he said: “I really thought our run game would be better.” What went wrong? Patrick Finley has the details.
  • Tarik Cohen caught nine passes for 19 yards. Cohen has caught at least one pass from his running-back position in all 38 career regular-season games.
  • WR Allen Robinson tied a career high with 10 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Here are even more game highlights.

What’s Next?

The Bears remain at home next Sunday for a Week 8 noon matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers at Soldier Field. The last time these teams played, the Bears rallied for a 22-19 victory on Nov. 9, 2015 in San Diego.

View From New Orleans

  • No Alvin Kamara? No problem for the Saints. Latavius Murray put on a show — against the Bears’ feared defense — that will be talked about all week in New Orleans, Luke Johnson of nola.com reports.
  • After this victory with a patched-up offense — missing a Hall of Fame quarterback, superstar running back and feared tight end — nola.com’s Rod Walker says Sean Payton should be Coach of the Year.

On the Podcast

As the fog rolled into Soldier Field late Sunday night, Patrick Finley, Mark Potash, Jason Lieser and special guest Tony Gill of The Score bring you the latest episode of Halas Intrigue. It was a rough one for the Bears, who sit 3-3 after a brutal game against the Saints. But there’s a ray of light in the Pot-cast when we discover that Mark has a bag of candy in his pocket.

Listen here.

Also, got any questions for the Bears? Email us or tweet at @suntimes_sports and we’ll see if we can get them answered in one of our next newsletters.

This Week’s Question

Dear Reader: Is the Bears’ defense overrated or was this a blip involving jet lag?

Email us at sports@suntimes.com, name and location, and we’ll include the best responses (and our thoughts!) in our next newsletter.

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