Well, the honeymoon is over, as my friend Matt so poignantly noted. Bears fans have returned to the typicality of weekly football aggravation. I wonder if anyone has started firemarctrestman.com yet …
But I digress.
Let’s go back to the Vikings game, in which Trestman seemed to lose his Tresticles. Why he decided to stop throwing the ball and attacking downfield in overtime against a bad secondary missing its best player, reeks of scared coaching.
Lovie Smith (I apologize for bringing him up) also coached scared. But his offense sucked. When Smith was in Chicago, he didn’t have an Alshon Jeffery wrecking everyone who lined up across and downfield from him.
The Bears’ only somewhat realistic goal on defense from week-to-week right now is to try and blindly hang on to the raging bull and hope it gets tired of bucking. So why in the world would you, oh offensive guru, put the handcuffs on your budding offense when you needed them? It was the last thing I thought Bears fans would have to endure this season.
What made some of the decisions vs. the Vikings more strange was that Trestman had previously bet on his offense on fourth down on multiple occasions this year.
I would say it would make sense that you call a different, perhaps more conservative, game with your backup QB at the helm, but McCown had been chucking the ball all over the place, and he’s played well in general in just about all of his six game appearances this season.
Now — and this is not a knock on McCown — Cutler gives the Bears that X factor they just don’t have with McCown. The issues in the redzone are probably the most currently obvious with this offense, and that’s where Cutler would help you with that arm strength and ability to zip bullet passes into tight windows.
But all that said still does not answer why Trestman would call a game the way he did in Minnesota.
So let’s just address the purple elephant in the room: WHY would you EVER choose to kick a 47-yard field goal (a potential game-winner) on SECOND down?! Was Garrett Wolfe running the ball on Sunday and I just didn’t notice?
(Hang on, checking the gamebook … )
Nope, not Garrett Wolfe. In fact, it was the Chicago Bears’ No. 2 all-time leader in yards from scrimmage, Matt Forte — the same guy who is just one of three players in NFL HISTORY with at least 1,400 yards from scrimmage in every season of his six-year professional career.
The same Matt Forte who has just six fumbles in 819 touches over the last three years. Meaning, there was a less than 1% chance he wouldn’t hang on to the ball. Of course there’s always the possibility of a penalty or something like that, but even those odds against are incredibly good when compared to the odds of Gould missing that field goal at that distance.
Gould is one of the most accurate kickers of all time, but a 47-yarder is no chip shot.
But had the Bears done their research, they would have known that picking up a few more yards would have drastically increased Gould’s chances of making the kick. Don’t get me wrong, Robbie Gould should be expected to make a 47-yard field goal, especially indoors, but this time he just isn’t the one at fault.
Now, I’ll be the first meatball in the room to say that I like Marc Trestman. And I don’t want to grill the man over every decision he makes in his first goings as head coach, but he literally found a way to lose this last one against a terrible football team and division opponent.
The loss to the Vikings could very well keep the Bears out of the playoffs. Even if it can’t be pin-pointed back to Sunday, that game may be considered the point at which the Bears’ season took the first step off the edge of the cliff.
Make no mistake; this loss is squarely on the shoulders of the head coach.
But putting the Vikings game aside, and tabling critique of his offensive decisions for a moment, the question of who or what is to blame for the defensive struggles also remains unanswered.
Injuries have played their part, but this defense may well be the worst the Chicago Bears have ever seen. Watching these guys get repeatedly gashed almost makes me pine for the funbad days of inept offense and adept defense.
I’m pretty sure I heard a rumor that a 41 year-old Jerome Bettis is planning to come out of retirement this week and sign with the Dallas Cowboys for one game just so he can get the 23 yards he needs to pass LaDainian Tomlinson’s career rushing total and become the NFL’s fifth leading rusher.
Should only take the old fella a play or two to do it, too!
Okay, okay, bad joke …
But it’s also pretty bad when Craig Steltz comes in and is an immediate upgrade over Major Wright against the run. What’s worse is that it wasn’t even surprising. Because Major Wright and Chris Conte take “bad safety” to an entirely different galaxy.
Even with Steltz in and playing serviceably (he did miss his share of tackles), you can’t win with that combo running your last line of defense. And so, with all the heat Trestman is getting for his decisions on offense, this is still his team, and the defensive struggles need to fall in his lap, too.
While everyone is on the fire Mel Tucker bandwagon — so am I, mind you — Trestman hired the guy.
The Bears are missing key players on that defense without a doubt, but Tucker isn’t putting the backups in the right spots, and they’re simply not prepared enough. Every offense they face seems to be more confusing than the last, and they still seem to find ways to get out of their gaps, even in eight-man fronts.
For the sake of my own sanity here, I won’t even get started on Joe DeCamillis and the special teams (I actually think he’s a worse ST coach than Tucker is at D), but between him and Tucker, I can see two job openings that should be available in Chicago next season.
From a 3-0 start to a total implosion, this season has been prototypically Bears.
Start looking for your positives heading into next season, Bears fans, because barring a miracle on Football Drive up at Halas Hall, this baby is OVA.
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