Saints 36, Bears 25: Whose arrows are up and down after a demoralizing loss at Soldier Field

Cam Ellis

Yuck. Just … yuck. YUCK. The Bears just put the finishing touches on the first blowout loss in the Matt Nagy era, getting worked, 36-25, by the Saints. There's not a whole lot of good things to be said about Sunday's performance, and the Bears have found themselves firmly in 'Panic Mode' before the season's midway point. Whose arrow is up and whose arrow is down? Bet you can guess!

ARROW DOWN – Matt Nagy 

Everyone wants a switch at QB, but I actually think there's a case to be made that giving someone else the play calling duties should come first. Nagy spent the last two weeks talking about how they were going to fix the run, and his solution – at least in the first half, when the team put up 70 yards of total offense – was just to… not run at all? David Montgomery finished the afternoon with two carries. Two! The Bears traded up to draft a running back and then gave him two rushes against one of the NFC's elite teams. There were also some head-scratching third down play calls in the opening half – like the Anthony Miller sweep that ended with a fumble – and his clock management during the final two minutes of the second quarter was clumsy. The Bears didn't run ONE play in the red zone in that first half. Let that marinate. 

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There's always some unwarranted blame placed on the coach when his players aren't making plays, but this offense isn't innovative, or creative, or even functional. How much more of the same do the Bears think they can get away with?

ARROW DOWN – Mitch Trubisky 

The misses were especially horrendous on Sunday. He badly overthrew an open Taylor Gabriel on a third down out pattern early in the first half, and then missed Anthony Miller – who had a step on two defenders – up the seam right before halftime. There was also a comically-underthrown Hail Mary attempt to Allen Robinson and a 4th quarter rollout pass on 4th-and-3 didn't land within 10 yards of a blue jersey. There's no way around it anymore; those are throws that successful – even average – NFL QBs should make. He finished the game 34-54 for 251 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs, though much of those stats were accumulated with the game well out of reach. Trubisky has probably used up all of Chicagoland's patience for the next five or six months, and it's wild to think that a season with so much promise has already gone sour after seven weeks. The bleakest part is that, given all that Trubisky has shown this year, spoiling on the Bears' 2019 season doesn't feel like an especially hot take. Between Nagy's inability to draw up successful plays and Trubisky's inability to make those plays go, the Bears don't have too many places to look for answers right now. 

ARROW DOWN – David Montgomery 

I know that you can only do so much when your name is called twice in the first half and four times on the afternoon (if you count his two receptions for 13 yards), but Montgomery didn't impress much on the touches he did get. The biggest play he was involved in was his own fumble, which was recovered by New Orleans. Who would have guessed that Montgomery's best game of the season's first half would be a 13-rush, 67-yard performance against a terrible Washington team. The Bears' offensive line wasn't outstanding against the Saints, but they played well enough to keep the running game alive – had the coaches wanted to do that. Full judgement will continue to be withheld until the Bears can show the competency to put Montgomery in successful situations, but his play has been thoroughly underwhelming so far. 

ARROW DOWN – The Defense 

*This* is what regression looks like, huh? Teddy Bridgewater threw for 281 yards, Michael Thomas had 131 yards on nine catches, and Latavius Murray ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears only got to Bridgewater once (Abdullah Anderson) and didn't force a turnover. After giving up four 100-yard rushing performances all of 2018, they've already gotten halfway to matching that in the last two weeks alone. It's incredibly difficult (/almost impossible) to remain an elite defense when you're on the field for 30-40 minutes per game, but Chuck Pagano's unit hasn't shown quite the same bite that Vic Fangio's did last season. 

ARROW UP – Cordarrelle Patterson 

Taking a kickoff back 102 yards for a touchdown is cool as hell.

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Saints 36, Bears 25: Whose arrows are up and down after a demoralizing loss at Soldier Field originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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