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Matt Nagy on Bears’ run struggles: Not even ‘Sweetness’ could help on some plays

Bears quarterback Chase Daniel loses the ball while pitching it to running back Jordan Howard. | Bill Kostroun/AP photo

Bears quarterback Chase Daniel loses the ball while pitching it to running back Jordan Howard. | Bill Kostroun/AP photo

Despite Jordan Howard rushing for 76 yards Sunday, his most since Oct. 28, the Bears are still “trying to massage our identity, conceptually, of where we’re at with the run game,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday.

Translation: They have to find a way to stop losing yards.

Seven times Sunday, Howard ran for two yards or fewer.

“In some instances, there are some mental errors, execution-wise,” Nagy said. “And there are some times where we could have Walter Payton back there and he’s not getting any yards. But there are other times where the line blocks just phenomenally and, for whatever reason, it doesn’t hit.”

Howard hit on runs for 25 and 22 yards, but the threat of a negative play is affecting the Bears’ play-calling. Their season-long struggles are a team problem — from blocking troubles to, earlier this season, Howard being less decisive on runs. Nagy reiterated Monday that no one single player was to blame.

“There’s a lot more to it. I wish you could just hit Controller A and say, ‘Run this play,’ ” Nagy said. “It’s not that. There’s a lot to it.”

Nagy repeated he won’t run the ball simply because football convention dictates it.

“I don’t care about that,” he said.

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No takers for Hunt

Unsurprisingly, former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt went unclaimed on waivers Monday and is now a free agent. He was cut Friday after video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman in February. Once he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list Friday, he became unlikely to play another snap this year and is likely facing a suspension.

Hunt played for Nagy in Kansas City last year and knows Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Nagy said Sunday the “entire situation is unfortunate for everybody involved.”

Nagy on that timeout

Nagy again defended his decision to call a timeout with 17 seconds left in the first half Sunday. Rather than trot off the field, the Giants ran the ball for 22 yards on third-and-23, then threw a nine-yard pass. That put them in range for Aldrick Rosas to make a franchise-record 57-yard field goal as time expired.

Nagy said he took the timeout after waiting almost 30 seconds because he wanted to try to block an eventual punt.

“I’m OK with that,” he said. “What I’m not OK with is the play that happened after that, and the play that happened after that, OK?”

Louisville connections

Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said he did not talk to his alma mater, Louisville, about its head coaching vacancy. The Courier-Journal reported later Monday that the job will go to Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield.

Louisville first pursued Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, a Louisville alum who decided to stay put. Brohm will be Ragone’s guest Sunday night at the Bears’ game against the Rams. Ragone joked he didn’t rescind his tickets despite Brohm deciding to stay at Purdue.