We’ve all seen the “Hot Takes” from the last weekend’s games all over the net.
In this series, I’m letting some time pass, and after reviewing the game tape a couple of times, I’m going to share some “Cold Takes.” about the Bears falling flat in New York. Since it’s been so long since game day, these are Ice Cold Takes. I’ll also sprinkle in a few thoughts about our division rivals. These are just a series of my thoughts and observations about the game as well as the Bears in general up until this point, presented in no particular order.
- My game ball goes to Tarik Cohen, who was everywhere. His best game as a pro, and frankly one of the best games that anybody has ever had in the history of the league. Cohen posted Jerry Rice type numbers and hit a clutch TD pass at the end of regulation. Special Mention goes to Allen Robinson II, who also had a great game for Chicago.
- I gotta be honest, I didn’t want to re-watch this game. I actually skipped overtime, I just have no interest in seeing that. I did watch it through regulation, as Cohen hit Anthony Miller for the TD with no time left. Great throw, great catch, great call at the end of a half.
- Not all Bears calls were great ones at the end of a half. That timeout Matt Nagy? I would say it cost us the game, were it not for so many, many things in this frustrating game that could also have cost us the game.
- We had two of the most blown coverages I have ever seen, especially the Odell Beckham Jr. TD pass where he threw it to Sterling Shephard. Ungood. I suspect that was on Eddie Jackson but that’s a guess on my part.
- Both of Alec Ogletree’s picks of Chase Daniel were great plays by the linebacker. That second one was a fantastic catch.
- Frustratingly, If Daniel throws that ball 6 inches higher Tarik Cohen scores a TD. He was wide open.
- All Adam Shaheen does is catch touchdowns
- The outside catch where Allen Robinson was being massively interfered with, yet Robinson still took it off the guy’s head... that was just a ridiculous play by AR. That’s why we brought him in and paid him the big money.
- Our running game just flat sucks.
- James Daniels did a pretty good job at left guard... but I’m worried about what happens when Aaron Donald lines up in front of him.
- Bryan Witzmann did a pretty bad job at right guard, and I don’t even want to think about him going up against Aaron Donald.
- We need to, as a fan base, send Kyle Long all the get-well mojo we can, because if we make the playoffs, we will need somebody better than Witzmann.
- Akiem Hicks, fullback. Nice.
- Hicks, Leonard Floyd and Khalil Mack each had sacks, but I was a bit disappointed in the overall level of pressure against The Official New Jersey State Statue Eli Manning. Eli made some great throws, and threw two that should have been picked off.
- Fortunately, Kyle Fuller did get one of them, and that was big.
- Kyle Fuller has earned his money.
- For the most part, Fuller and Prince Amukamara did a nice job against Odell Beckham.
- Bryce Callahan had his second “iffy’ week in a row tackling.
- Speaking of Odell Beckham, great player and all but he sure made a really crappy effort to get that onside kick.
- Speaking of onside kicks, Cody Parkey is the best onside kicker in NFL history, and I think we need to find ways to make that work for us.
As has become our custom, I threw it out there to see if any of my fellow WCG contributes had cold takes they wanted to share, and we did have some...
Eric C. Duerrwaechter
- It’s certainly frustrating to see a lack of meaningful attempts with the ground game. Even more so when Matt Nagy and Andy Reid unleashed Kareem Hunt with little hesitation whatsoever just over one year ago. And, when topped with a situation involving your backup QB struggling during the game, it drove me crazy.
- Regardless, the quick abandonment of the ground game likely leads to two assumptions. First, Nagy just doesn’t feel comfortable with how Jordan Howard fits, and isn’t trying to force anything to happen. And second, he simply wants to spread the wealth to everyone on offense, and not just two to three players. I respect him for that. It fits with his motto “be you.” This team is being itself; whether that means winning games in blowouts, or fighting in every quarter to at the least keep things interesting. They’re a tight knit group, a family one could say. And they’re still incredibly young, too.
- The loss to the Giants pissed me off, that’s for sure. In comparison to years prior; however, this loss won’t sink the Bears’ season. Had this happened under John Fox, Marc Trestman, or even Lovie Smith; a ton of people would have jumped ship and swam for the shores. Matt Nagy is on the verge of making history in his first season as the head coach in Chicago. I, like many others on these boards, have long awaited for the day these events would transpire.
- Plus, the big man TDs are officially back in a big way. Akiem Hicks is now the new fridge, and I’m here for that to continue. Oh, and don’t be surprised if Tarik Cohen is now RB1 from this point forward, too. He’s earned that consideration. Take care of business against the Rams -- we missed you, Mitchell Trubisky -- and get ready for the playoff run. That’s all we could ever ask for.
- Jordan Howard getting going in any fashion is by far the least of the Bears’ offensive concerns. As was purported all off-season, he doesn’t fit Matt Nagy’s offense, and Nagy has used him as such. Howard doesn’t have a 100-yard rushing effort through 12 games of the 2018 season, and he probably won’t however long the Bears’ journey lasts. He’s not the focal point of this Chicago offense. He’s not even among what I would consider the top four best options to use based on his limited skill-set. In terms of criticisms like Howard as a receiver from the past, 15 receptions on a very small 20 target sample size is hardly a great indicator he’s now become a good receiver. It’s not that much different from his 29 receptions on 50 targets in 2016, or 23 receptions on 32 last year. The Bears and Nagy more so have the smart presence of mind to not throw Howard the ball as much.
- There are arguments to be made that the Bears’ run blocking hasn’t always been great, sure. But I don’t think it’s particularly any significant measure of a step down from Howard’s back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 2016 and 2017. He’s simply too slow and too unathletic to thrive without almost always perfect blocking. It takes a lot more effort to get Howard going to the second level than it does for many other comparable backs with another extra gear of speed. Without concerted force feeding for Howard, the way John Fox and Dowell Loggains often did, this is far from a special or meaningfully effective player as far as production.
- The Bears cannot bog themselves down with Howard’s many negative and short two to three-yard runs (of which he also had in 2016 and 2017) just to get his occasional big bursts through the hole. In a high octane NFL, that’s putting yourself unnecessarily behind the eight-ball. The risk and reward trade off of a short passing game substituting the rushing attack is far more efficient because of the chunk plays you can create downfield.
- There are scenarios where the Bears can rely on Howard down the stretch, particularly at the close of games as a reliever type player. Give him the ball for short carries and let him eat clock In terms of an offensive catalyst to ride through, he’s not the guy and he never will be. His days are numbered at Halas Hall.
- Nagy’s timeout to end the half was a poor decision. Either he should have called it earlier to save more time or he should never have called it at all, but it was mismanaged. However, it was not a terrible mistake, not was it a symptom of Nagy being too cute. It was just one of many mistakes that put the team in a bad spot. He’ll learn, and the rookie head coach is making way more good decisions than bad ones thus far.
- Lost in the frustration over Chase Daniel’s play, Allen Robinson is showing himself to be a special receiver. There are catches he was making in that game that really show he has the potential to be a true #1 receiver, and he seems to be getting better, not worse, as the season goes on.
- Da BEARS!
OK, Chicago Bears fans, there you have it. What do you think? Spill the beans!