Quick Game Comments: Bears at Vikings 12-29-2019


  1. The Vikings came out concentrating on the run with Sean Mannion starting at QB for Kirk Cousins. They had a lot of success as the Bears made too many mistakes filling gaps and/or failing to set the edge and gave up some big runs.
  2. The Vikings had good success attacking the Bears inside linebackers in both the run and the pass game, specifically Kevin Pierre-Louis. Both he and Nick Kwitkowski are back ups who were playing in place of the injured Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan.
  3. The Vikings flat out shoved the Bears front seven around in the second half. Very disappointing as the Vikings offensive line really isn’t that good even when its just starters in there. Between that and the poor run defense in general, Mike Boone ran wild.


  1. The Bears came out with their usual game plan consisting of runs and short passes as they tried to work their way down the field. To their credit they did eventually start to attack deeper over the middle in a way that they didn’t do against the Chiefs.
  2. The Bears came out in the second half and renewed their commitment to the run with a great deal of success.
  3. Notable was the running back rotation, as David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson took turns, sometimes two of them at once. It looked effective as each has his own style.
  4. Trubisky spent most of the first half feeding Allen Robinson. He needs to find success with more of his other receivers. With the exception of some screen passes the tight ends were non-existant.
  5. As usual the Bears foundered in the red zone coming away with only two field goals on two early turnovers.
  6. As usual the Bears offensive line play left a lot to be desired as they failed to execute far too often against the Vikings back ups. Charles Leno had an awful day as he was occasionally a turn stile in pass protection.
  7. The Vikings blitzed with a lot of success against the Bears, putting pressure on the line and the running backs to block it up.
  8. I can’t understand why the Bears kept calling wide receiver screens when it was so obvious that the Vikings were reading them like a book.
  9. Mitch Trubisky’s performance was unremarkable in that it was inconsistent as usual.


  1. Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth and Jen Hale were on the call. I knew that this one wasn’t going to be about subtle X’s and O’s as soon as I saw Schlereth was on the menu. He loves to concentrate upon the individual players and their performance. I was at a bit of a loss when Schlereth practically described this game as a must win for the Bears since they would be playing back ups. I doubt this game was of critical importance to anyone.
  2. Special teams played reasonably well for the Bears. They pinned the ball back on the one yard line in the second quarter. That led to a safety.
  3. Neither penalties nor drops were a major factor.
  4. Mike Boone had a miserable start to this game. Bilal Nichols had a Boone fumble recovery the second play of the game. The Bears were fortunate in that they had given up a huge 59 yard run on the first play. Boone also juggled a pass on the second possession that led to a Kevin Pierre-Louis interception. The Bears turned each into a field goal. Mitch Trubisky had the ball stripped in the fourth quarter. The resulting field goal gave the Vikings the late lead.
  5. Other than the Bears leaky run defense, this game was business as usual only worse. There’s just no getting around the fact that the Bears have an awful, broken offense. That starts with the offensive line that couldn’t block the Vikings back ups and with Bears receivers who, other than Allen Robinson, flat out can’t get open. The Bears first mistake of the off-season was not addressing the tight end position and it burned them right to the end. Perhaps most disturbing of all was the inability of all 11 men on the field to run plays without one of them making a mistake.

Points of View 12/20/19

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

    “The Bears will be playing the Chiefs on Sunday, pitting Patrick Mahomes against Mitchell Trubisky. I’m sure that there will be all sorts of comparisons along with what-ifs before and during the game. I wonder, however, what Mahomes would be like right now if he had been drafted by the Bears. Would [head coach Matt] Nagy’s offense have dulled him? Would he have been micromanaged and not the quarterback that he is today for Kansas City? I am curious about the inverse of that thought too. What would Trubisky be like today after spending most of three seasons with the Chiefs under Andy Reid? — Tom H., Chicago

    “It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. But you’re overlooking the fact that Matt Nagy was the offensive coordinator during the 2017 season in Kansas City when Mahomes was being developed as a rookie. Nagy isn’t going to claim to be the guy who made Mahomes the player he is today or the player he was last season when he was the NFL MVP, but he was part of the guy’s development, right? We’re talking about very similar playbooks, too, so the suggestion that Mahomes wouldn’t be a star if he was with the Bears seems off the mark to me. I tend to doubt Trubisky would be significantly better had he landed in Kansas City. Maybe a little bit, but the coach can’t see the field for the quarterback when he’s on the field.”

    Bigg’s points are well-taken but its well known that one of the reasons why Chiefs coach Andy Reid handed over play calling duties to Nagy late that year was so that he could personally work with Mahomes more. It’s definitely not out of the question that had the two been switched, Trubisky wouldn’t be considerably more successful as the Chiefs quarterback.

  • Biggs answers another one:

    “Do you think the Bears will look to replace James Daniels and/or Bobby Massie? I know Daniels has played better at guard, but something about the line isn’t working. — @daniel_larocco

    “I agree that the offensive line has not played to its potential this season. Massie certainly hasn’t done anything the last three weeks to be downgraded, though. He has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t played. Daniels hasn’t been as good as the Bears would have hoped, but he’s a second-round draft pick and he’s only 22. I don’t see a scenario in which the Bears don’t count on him as a starter for next season. Massie was extended last January, and his 2020 base salary of $6.9 million is fully guaranteed. He’s not going anywhere either. The question on the line will be Rashaad Coward. He got off to a decent start, but I’m not sure he has really advanced since moving into the starting lineup in place of right guard Kyle Long. The Bears will, at the minimum, need to find some competition that they like beyond just Alex Bars, the undrafted rookie free agent from Notre Dame. They also need to figure out where they want to play Daniels and Cody Whitehair and leave them there. In an ideal world, they’d get a developmental offensive tackle in the draft and maybe even an interior lineman in the middle rounds that they can groom for a year.”

    I would agree with the assessment in that the interior of the line appears to be the problem, specifically both guard positions. The only thing I would question is whether the Bears should seriously consider replacing Daniels. Near the end of his second year, Daniels has been part of the problem, not the solution. Good organizations know when to move on from mistakes. It might be time for the Bears to do it with him.

  • And another one:

    “What do the Bears go next for next season? New QB? New RB? New OL? New TE? New kicker? I think we are good at WR and on defense. — @jojopuppyfish

    “They’re going to have to take a hard look at what didn’t go right on offense, which was a lot. I believe they need to consider veteran options at quarterback. I’m not sure the brain trust will agree with that assessment. David Montgomery has done better as the season has gone along and I believe he will be back as the starter next season. They will probably look for one starter on the offensive line, but as I have detailed in previous questions, I don’t expect wholesale changes to the personnel there. The Bears have to get a lot more from the tight end position, and they’re going to need to cover themselves in case Trey Burton, who is guaranteed $4 million of his $6.7 million base salary, cannot produce. I believe they at least need to have Eddy Pineiro compete for the kicking job next season. I believe the Bears will have to address the wide receiver position as well. Anthony Miller has really stepped up in the second half of the season and he looks like he’s going to be a pretty good player. But other than Allen Robinson, they are thin at that position, and I think they need to move on from Taylor Gabriel and come up with a quality option. They’re using Cordarrelle Patterson a lot, but he’s little more than a decoy on offense. They need another wide receiver who can produce on the outside and, at minimum, push Riley Ridley for playing time. The defense should be good. They’ve got some moves to make there, but the unit remains strong. It will be a busy offseason and an interesting one.”

    Biggs literally read my mind and I agree with every word of this. It’s also very possible that they’ll be seeking help at inside linebacker with both Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwitkowski entering the unrestricted free agent market. However, with limited draft picks and cap space, there’s only so much the Bears are going to do.

    I’m reminded of one of the more profound statements that former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made about his unit a couple years ago. The Bears need more from their “so called good players”. At some point you are going to have to coach up and improve the talent you have at any or all of these positions if you want to get better. It’s only a question of which are the positions that are the most in need of new personnel.

    I’m going to guess that the Bears roll with Trubisky at quarterback and pray that it all finally falls together for him, as unlikely as that seems to be to some on the outside looking in. I suspect that they won’t bring in serious competition at guard with Bars waiting in the wings. A lot will depend on who they like in the draft, though. We shall see.

  • And another one:

    “Based on the fact that the offense has never really appeared to be in sync, do you think Matt Nagy will change his approach toward the amount of live game actions some of the key players (Mitch Trubisky, for example) will see during the preseason? — @mike32198768

    “Everything has to be on the table for consideration when Nagy maps out a plan for 2020, including what the goals are for the preseason games. I am sure Nagy will assess his approach in preseason. Will that mean we see starters in preseason? I don’t know. I do know the goal is to get to games that are meaningful with a healthy roster, something the Bears have accomplished the last two years. I also firmly believe that you cannot pin the struggles of the offense this season on missed action in preseason. If you evaluate how much some starters play for other teams, the Bears’ front-line guys missed out on maybe 60 snaps in preseason, 75 tops. You can’t tell me that those snaps would have made a difference for this team in Week 4, Week 8, Week 12 or now.”

    No. But I absolutely believe they would have made a difference in weeks 1 and 2. And a better performance against the Packers would have made a huge difference in how this year went.

    Nagy failed to properly evaluate Trubisky coming into this season and it seriously damaged their chances this year. He chose to pile more on him and “move from offense 101 to 202” as he put it instead of recognizing that Trubisky needed to solidify his gains from last season first. It was one of many decisions that Nagy made this season that didn’t work out after having virtually everything go right last season. It was probably the one that had the biggest impact as Trubsky regressed and struggled to recover for half the year.

    Forty snaps in the preseason might well have shown Nagy that he was making a mistake. It certainly didn’t take 40 snaps in the regular season to show the rest of us.

    There’s a reason why teams have always played their starters in the preseason to at least some extent. The Bears in general, and Trubisky in particular, were woefully unprepared to play at game speed when the season started. Even given that conditions aren’t exactly like real games, playing more in the preseason against starting caliber players on the other team probably would have helped.

    Whether you agree with that or not, something has to change in the way the Bears prepare for the season.

One Final Thought

Biggs and Colleen Kane talk about the uphill battle Bears punt returner Tarik Cohen faces against a very good Chiefs special teams unit:

“Cohen is fourth in the NFL, averaging 9.2 yards per return, but faces a tough task against the Chiefs. They are allowing only 4.2 yards per return, and the long return against Dave Toub’s unit this season is 11 yards.”

Toub is flat out the best special teams coach in the league. It really is a shame he hasn’t gotten a chance at a head coaching job. Good special teams coaches have to be both talented and resourceful because they are always dealing with back ups at the bottom of the roster. I’m convinced Toub would be a good one. Perhaps one day someone will give him the chance that former special teams coach John Harbaugh got to show what he could do with the perennial contender Baltimore Ravens.

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Packers 12/15/19


  1. Bears doing triple receivers to get a free release.
  2. The Packers dominated the line of scrimmage against the run and got a lot of pressure on Trubisky. Kenny Clark, in particular, dominated the Bears guards and made some really good plays early.
  3. The Bears went “up tempo” but it was kind of an illusion. The idea was that they could get to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible so that head coach Matt Nagy could get into Mitch Trubisky’s ear and let him know what he saw. Nagy then made the call. It kept the Packers from confusing Trubisky, at least before the snap. It also kept the Packers from substituting. This may have been offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich’s influence with his college background coming to the fore. They stayed at the line of scrimmage for a good part of the play clock, which prevented them from wearing out the defense too much more than usual. The Packers started shifting their coverages right before the snap in response, especially in the second half.
  4. Mitch Trubisky made some really good throws today, frequently in the face of pressure. He needed to be more consistent with his accuracy.
  5. It was nice to see Trubisky finding Anthony Miller so often today. But the tight ends were non-existent in the passing game. Maybe some day they’ll put it all together. But not today.


  1. The Bears came out very aware of Aaron Jones and his ability to run. The Packers were using play action very effectively because of that.
  2. The Bears struggled to get pressure on quarterback Aaron Rogers. They eventually started to blitz.
  3. The Packers receivers won some one-on-one match ups early, forcing the Bears to back off the line of scrimmage a bit. That occasionally gave the Packers receivers a free release and some easy catches.
  4. One thing that became apparent early was the Packers thought they could pick on nickel cornerback Buster Skrine. They threw at him early and often in man coverage match ups such as the in the first quarter when he was burned for a touchdown.
  5. The defense gave up way too many big plays today. Admittedly its tough to cover receivers forever when you aren’t generating a pass rush but that wasn’t the whole problem. There was too much room for Packers receivers to run and the tackling was occasionally poor.
  6. One thing the Packers didn’t have a lot of success with was double moves. Kyle Fuller, in particular, has been susceptible to these but he played with discipline.


  1. Charles Davis and Kevin Burkhardt were on the call. I had no problem with it. Side line reporter Pam Oliver sounded like she hadn’t slept in about three days.
  2. Eddie Piniero hit a couple short field goals. Not much else to say about special teams.
  3. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a touchdown on the Packers first possession. It was one of a number of drops for the Packers. This has been a tendency of theirs over the years. It doesn’t seem to bother them much.
  4. The referees handed the Packers the ball on the Bears 35 yard line in the first quarter on a terrible call where Patterson was accused of arriving early on a punt return (it wasn’t close). The Packers scored a touchdown.
  5. Trubisky had a back breaking fluke interception to defensive lineman Dean Lowery with the Bears trying to come back in the fourth quarter.
  6. The Bears defense picked a bad time to have a bad game. Not enough pass rush on a mobile Aaron Rogers and too many big plays added up to a poor performance. Mitch Trubisky didn’t have a bad game, the Bears offense certainly did. The offensive line got dominated by the Packers both in the run game and the pass game and it made for difficult going for much of the game.