Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Breaking down Week 8 loss to Chargers

Kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a potential game-winner as the Bears lost 17-16 to the Chargers for their third straight loss, dropping them into last place in the NFC North.

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Mitch Trubisky struggled again Sunday in the Bears’ Week 8 loss.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

The good: RB David Montgomery broke out with a career-high 135 rushing yards to breathe life into a running game that barely existed a week before.

The bad: QB Mitch Trubisky continued his shaky performance under center with two crucial turnovers and coach Matt Nagy’s play-calling was widely ridiculed.

The ugly: K Eddy Pineiro missed a potential game-winner as the Bears lost 17-16 to the Chargers for their third straight loss, dropping them into last place in the NFC North.

Let’s get to it ...

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Offense: Trubisky’s mistakes too much to overcome

The offense’s most balanced performance in weeks came undone because of questionable play-calling and poor execution in the red zone, plus a pair of back-breaking turnovers by Trubisky in the fourth quarter. When you get nearly 400 yards of offense, you should score more than one touchdown. Our Rick Morrissey writes that it’s clear Nagy simply doesn’t trust his offense to do, well, anything.

By the numbers:
  • 226 PASSING YARDS: Trubisky completed 23 of 35 passes for 253 yards, but turned the ball over twice and got sacked four times
  • 162 RUSHING YARDS: Montgomery finally had his breakout day with 147 total yards, including 55 on a big run in the second quarter that you can watch below.
  • 100 RECEPTIONS: WR Allen Robinson II caught five passes for 62 yards, surpassing the 100-catch mark since joining the Bears. He joins Brandon Marshall as the only two pass-catchers in Bears history with 100-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards in their first 20 games with the team.
Offensive play of the game:

Defense: Defensive slide continues

For the third consecutive week, the Bears’ defense disappointed. The Chargers dropped passes, stumbled on routes but still managed to score enough against a defense that shouldn’t have allowed a single touchdown. “We were at the point where we wanted to have a goose egg,” LB Danny Trevathan said. The Bears’ defense continues to raise questions, Patrick Finley reports.

By the numbers:
  • 231 TOTAL YARDS ALLOWED: 195 passing, 36 rushing
  • 1 SACK: Khalil Mack ended his sack drought, but it didn’t come until late in the game.
  • 1 TAKEAWAYS: Kyle Fuller picked off his third pass of the season.

Special Teams: Kicker can’t save the day

Pineiro had a chance to play hero again but his 41-yard potential game-winner drifted wide left as time expired. That was the second time he missed a kick in the game after a previous attempt hit the upright. He rebounded from that early mistake to make a trio of short kicks, but that’s not what will be remembered from this game.

By the numbers:
  • Pineiro: 3-for-5 FG
  • Tarik Cohen ripped off a pair of quality punt returns, including a 17-yarder that gave the Bears strong field position before the last drive of the game.

What They’re Saying

A: Coach Matt Nagy on his decision to take a knee with 43 seconds left — despite having first-and-10 at the Chargers’ 23-yard line and a timeout — to set up an ill-fated last-second field-goal try: “I’ll just be brutally clear: Zero thought of throwing the football, zero thought of running the football. You understand me? That’s exactly what it was. It’s as simple as that.”

B: QB Mitch Trubisky on his play: “I’m going to go back and watch the film, continue to be critical of myself, and I’ve got to continue to get better. I mean, I feel like there was a lot of plays out there where I could have been better and helped my team.”

C: K Eddy Pineiro: “It’s a bad feeling. I lost the game for the team. I put that one on me. I have to bounce back.”

From Our Notebooks

  • All-pro cornerback Kyle Fuller did his best to spark the Bears’ offense when he intercepted a Philip Rivers pass in the first quarter and returned it to the Chargers’ 4-yard line. The Bears couldn’t make any headway toward the end zone, but took a 3-0 lead a few plays later. It was Fuller’s third interception this season and 18th of his career. Since the Bears drafted him No. 14 overall in 2014, the only players with more picks are Marcus Peters with 25 and seemingly retired safety Reggie Nelson with 20.
  • Despite Mitch Trubisky’s turnovers and the Bears struggling on third down, they lightened their defense’s workload by holding on to the ball a season-high 38 minutes. It was the fourth-highest mark in the NFL this season.
  • The Chargers felt they kept Trubisky rattled for much of the game. “Yes sir, yes sir,” DE Melvin Ingram III said. “You could feel it all game. We’re going to rush no matter what’s going on. We’re going to keep rushing, keep rushing, and sooner or later we’re going to get there. We had a couple sacks today, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about just sacks. It’s about him feeling us, and I felt like he felt our presence today.”

Here are even more game highlights.

What’s Next?

The Bears hit the road to Philadelphia next Sunday for a rematch of last season’s Wild Card matchup against the Eagles. The last time these two teams played ... well, you know (rhymes with bubble-oink).

View From Los Angeles

  • After all their mistakes, all their self-inflicted shortcomings, all their gut-twisting failures, the Chargers won in the most unlikely of ways Sunday. The Chargers are used to being on the other end of failed kicks deciding their fate, as Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times notes.
  • How did the Chargers’ view Pineiro’s game-deciding wayward kick? Gilbert Manzano of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that many of the Chargers saw it sailing wide soon after Pineiro connected: “The ball never went through the uprights as the “Ed-dy! Ed-dy!” chants turned into groans at Soldier Field.”

On the Podcast

In the latest Halas Intrigue, Patrick Finley, Jason Lieser and Mark Potash debate a wild 17-16 loss to the Chargers. Should Bears coach Matt Nagy have taken a knee before Eddy Pineiro’s miss? Is Mitch Trubisky a lost cause? Will the Bears’ locker room hang together? In the Pot-Cast, Mark talks about McDonald’s French fries ain’t what they used to be.

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: Did coach Matt Nagy blow it by taking a knee with a first-and-10 and 43 seconds left before trying a potential winning field goal?

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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