The Bears lost to
Robbie Gould, the San Francisco 49ers, karma inevitability in a battle that basically proved to everyone but those who matter that John Fox’s coaching career needs to be put down like some sort of spavined horse. To offer refuge in this difficult time, Windy City Gridiron is going to offer some strong reactions in order to save fans the effort. Robert is (somehow) going to find bright spots while Josh is going to dwell on the negative. Whether or not you’re ready, here’s the Week 13 Bears Overreaction (They Lost to Five Field Goals Edition).
Robert Zeglinski: While, yes, the Bears are in the midst of a five-game tailspin that doesn’t seem like it’s ending any time soon, I do think it’s important to note what they’ve still been able to accomplish.
Let’s take a moment to consider that every current Bear on the roster was able to make it to Soldier Field on time on Sunday. Not one man late or ill-prepared for the noon kickoff. That’s commendable responsibility. No one was fashionably late. It seems like everyone had a nutritious breakfast and made their way to work like the professionals they are.
The Bears, in turn, also were able to fit their pads and helmets on properly to be ready for the game against San Francisco. Don’t laugh. Being able to get dressed on your own is something many adults sometimes struggle with, after all. That’s not even mentioning having all of their equipment ready. Safety comes first and foremost in football, remember that.
We in no way, shape, or form can take lightly that the Bears as a team are still bothering to show up to the field and get suited up at this stage in the season. That takes heart.
Josh Sunderbruch: Heart? The offense scored seven points. Seven. A quarterback with a passer rating of 117.2 and no lost fumbles directed an offense that only scored seven points. That’s mind-boggling. It would be one thing if Mitchell Trubisky had a handful of passes. It’s another thing to realize that this game was so horrifically conservative, so stagnant, that the Bears managed to do the unthinkable: they made the quarterback irrelevant. That’s great if you’re in charge of a defense going up against Aaron Rodgers. It’s bad when you’re an offense taking on one of the worst defenses (28th coming in) in the NFL.
No real learning or teaching moment came out of this game. There was no useful experience to be gained. The tight end of the future in Adam Shaheen was on the bench and the franchise quarterback was learning how to make conservative plays.
Robert: Yes, but I think simply saying Shaheen was on the bench underscores the exact value of him sitting on the bench. While on the sideline, all of his natural athletic ability as a superior receiver and being the best tight end on the roster doesn’t have to be wasted for a meaningless four games. Sure, now is the time to develop your young players, set the table for the future, etc. That’s what any normal cohesive franchise would do. I get that. I do.
No, instead, the Bears are trying a new approach, one not many think of but should understand: keeping core pieces intact for games that will matter again in 2018. Football is a dangerous game, you never know what could happen. You have to appreciate Fox and company limiting Shaheen in such a fashion that he’ll be ready to shine while fully healthy for the next set of coaches next year. He can’t get hurt if he doesn’t play. That is a tremendous way of thinking outside the box. I hope they also think of applying this concept to Trubisky, Akiem Hicks, Jordan Howard, and other in-prime or current young players.
On Shaheen alone, what a sweet, meaningful parting gift from Fox. I think we’re too hard on him occasionally.
Josh: Remember when draft time comes around that thanks to the Trubisky trade, the 49ers did the impossible. They improved the quality of their draft position - at least in the third round - by winning. In fact, this entire game was a reminder of why “tanking” is such a false hope in the NFL. After all, a team that loses gets a better draft pick, right? Well, unless that pick is spent on a wide receiver who doesn’t play (Kevin White), a center who can’t block or snap (Hroniss Grasu), or a guard who is redshirted for an entire year (Jordan Morgan).
Draft position only matters when the general manager can work the draft, and so far there is not a lot of evidence that Ryan Pace is any better than average (and he might be a little worse) at this job.
Robert: Hey, but he did take Tarik Cohen, who more than continues to almost be worth the price of admission alone. The kinds of things he does on a football field, best exemplified by his 61-yard punt return that saw him reverse field entirely, are a special kind of electric. Everyone mocked that pick of the diminutive back in April, saying he wouldn’t belong in the league. And here he is, making the most of his occasional punt returns and paltry six offensive snaps. Only the best can do so well while hardly put into use.
What a player.
Josh: Just to be clear, the Giants currently have more hope than the Bears. The Giants. They, at least, have taken a step in the right direction by removing their general manager and head coach. The Bears, on the other hand, seem content to spend the rest of the year in neutral.
This team … I’m telling you, this team. Think about the possible fact that the Bears are actually somehow behind the curve not just for the season, but also for the off-season. Somehow, this team is as inefficient as a dumpster fire.
Robert: I think you so clearly misunderstand the process on that Giants note. You need to trust the process.
Because it’s clear the Giants don’t respect tradition and class. Only organizations with no class completely capitulate their regimes before season’s end, to “save face, trash what isn’t working.” The Bears, in that respect, are the epitome of class, as they’re the only NFL team that sticks to that ideal. They deserve respect for that. Four more lost games and the long-term well being means so much less than the (false) perception of your franchise. As it should.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron, and contributor to The Athletic Chicago. Josh Sunderbruch is the numbers man for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow Robert on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.