Film Study: Five takeaways from the Bears’ 24-23 loss to the Packers
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Bears coach Matt Nagy had plenty of messages for his players Monday after watching film of their 24-23 loss Sunday to the Packers:
‘‘We’ve got to really have that finish mentality.’’
‘‘Close isn’t good enough.’’
‘‘It stings, but we need to use this.’’
‘‘If you have the negative, pessimistic approach to it, then that’s all wrong.’’
All of that said, here are five takeaways after watching the film:
Nagy’s play-calling should be scrutinized, but there are three plays that should bother quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Nagy appeared to make good calls; Trubisky had to execute them better.
The first came during the Bears’ second possession. Trubisky missed receiver Allen Robinson in the corner of the end zone on second-and-goal from the Packers’ 3. Robinson beat cornerback Kevin King in single coverage, but Trubisky overthrew him.
‘‘He’ll tell you he needs to make that throw,’’ Nagy said.
On the next play, tight end Trey Burton appeared to be wide-open against zone coverage in the end zone, but Trubisky hesitated as he rolled to his right. It allowed safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix to close on Burton’s route. Trubisky then threw back to his left to receiver Taylor Gabriel, who was tackled for a five-yard loss.
The Bears’ struggles continued in the red zone in the fourth quarter. On third-and-two from the Packers’ 14, Trubisky threw an incomplete pass over the middle to rookie Anthony Miller, whose route was short of the first-down marker.
By targeting Miller, Trubisky missed a favorable matchup. Running back Tarik Cohen beat outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert on a wheel route.
Overall, Nagy said Trubisky’s poise in the pocket was ‘‘good,’’ but ‘‘his clock was ticking a little too fast’’ on some plays. That should improve with more experience.
‘‘He made some plays,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Now we left some out there, too, but that’s going to happen.’’
Playing things out
The momentum swung completely in the Packers’ favor after they forced the Bears into a three-and-out late in the third quarter. The drive included failed screens to Cohen (first down) and Burton (second down).
‘‘I didn’t like those calls,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘I told the guys those were on me.’’
The Bears ran five screens in the third quarter and gained only 12 yards. It was part of a trend, too. According to Pro Football Focus, Gabriel, Cohen and Miller were targeted only once each beyond the line of scrimmage.
‘‘Yeah, they played the screens well,’’ Nagy said ‘‘That’s a credit to them.’’
Igniting Mack’s attack
The Bears’ decision to start outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, was the result of certain packages the Packers used. But the Bears also did so with Khalil Mack in mind.
‘‘Starting out, we wanted to make sure that Khalil had the energy in the second half that we needed,’’ outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley said.
Mack’s impressive debut included a sack, strip and fumble recovery and a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half, but he also played 42 of the Bears’ 60 defensive snaps.
‘‘Each day [in practice], you just had this sense that [Mack] could go probably a lot more than we thought,’’ Staley said. ‘‘During the game, we just wanted to make sure that he got into a rhythm and then just see how it went.’’
It went well, and the Bears expect Mack to improve as his conditioning improves. He missed camp and the preseason because of his contract dispute with the Raiders.
But seeing Mack nearly chase down receiver Randall Cobb on his 75-yard touchdown stood out to Staley.
‘‘From the second we sat down, you just knew this guy’s got a lot higher standard for himself than anybody else,’’ Staley said.
Fitting right in
Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith was on the field for eight plays, but he was noticeable. He started by sacking Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer after Mack missed. Inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires said the Bears got the blitz matchup they wanted with Smith against running back Ty Montgomery.
As far as more playing time, Pires said trust is ‘‘always the key.’’ But Smith appears to be on the right path. He replaced linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter and the Bears clinging to a 23-17 lead. Kwiatkoski had problems in coverage throughout the game.
‘‘We just had a good feel,’’ Pires said. ‘‘He was in tune with what was going on. He was great on the sideline, so we gave him a little bit more.’’
Focusing on Fuller
Cornerback Kyle Fuller’s drop of an interception shouldn’t be forgotten.
On first-and-10 from Packers’ 25 with 2:39 left, Rodgers’ throw hit Fuller in the numbers. The pass was intended for receiver Davante Adams, who fell after colliding with nickel back Bryce Callahan.
‘‘I’ve got to catch it,’’ Fuller said. ‘‘I was out where I had an opportunity. I’ve just got to make the play.’’
It was part of a tough night for Fuller, whom the Packers signed to a four-year, $56 million offer sheet the Bears matched in March.
Packers receiver Geronimo Allison beat Fuller for a 39-yard touchdown on what Nagy described as ‘‘a special throw’’ from Rodgers.
Fuller dived at the pass in the end zone, nearly getting his left hand on it. Allison, though, got away with a shove on his go route.
‘‘Kyle played that about as well as he could,’’ Nagy said.