Thoughts on the Bears Running Formations. And Other Points of View.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune supplies us with his always insightful ten thoughts after the Bears victory Sunday. I had a couple of thoughts on his “The Questions We Didn’t Get to” section:

“What was the real reason or reasons for the delay-of-game penalty coming out of the timeout on third-and-goal from the 4-yard line? [Head coach] Matt Nagy was clearly being tongue-in-cheek when he said, ‘You know, it’s, I guess it was a little loud. I don’t know. I guess it was a little loud.’ Crowd noise was a total nonissue. Yes, the Panthers had fans in the stands, but the announced attendance was 5,240 in a stadium that seats more than 75,000. This was Nagy’s way of not answering the question. Clearly, there was some kind of disconnect after whatever play they came up with during the timeout was given out in the huddle. I wouldn’t dwell on this too much because it distracts from the bigger picture, which is the offense’s struggle to move the ball and score”

Well, I would say that the offense’s struggles to move the ball might be partly related to the fact that they can’t get their act together on the field coming out of a time out.

As I chronicled in my game comments and as Biggs mentioned earlier in his comments, the Bears had 10 penalties for 92 yards on Sunday. It’s become a common gripe for me as each week the penalties have piled up. This is not a disciplined team. They don’t always concentrate well and, as Nagy pointed out last week himself, they aren’t getting the details right offensively.

Penalties are always an indication of how well dialed in a team is. Even the defense, who did play well at other times on Sunday, had to do so in some tight situations of their own making.

This team is setting itself up for a fall against a good team. It will happen soon, maybe Monday against the Rams.

“Did you forgo the run on third down late in the game because you couldn’t push the ball in from the 1-yard line on a David Montgomery handoff with five offensive linemen and four tight ends on the field? Montgomery was stopped for no gain after a replay review showed his elbow was down before the ball crossed the goal line. The Bears can’t put more beef on the field than this, and the Panthers stalemated them before Nick Foles scored on a quarterback sneak on the following play. The running game is an ongoing issue.”

A comment by color man Jonathan Vilma on Sunday struck me. Vilma pointed out that Carolina was dong the same thing against the Bears defense that the Buccaneers had done a week earlier, namely spread them out and run the ball. When you compared the Bears formations to the Panthers, the difference was obvious. the Bears were playing it like a power team by running out of compact formations. Even the wide receivers are line up close to the formation. And its not working.

It occurs to me that, like the Panthers, the Bears may be better off spreading out their formations and clearing out some of the traffic inside. This will make it more difficult for teams, who are now expecting the Bears to run on first down, to beat players off the snap to converge on the ball carrier.

“Did you have issues with the officiating by referee Adrian Hall’s crew? Nagy is highly unlikely to take the bait with this one because coaches tread lightly when they believe they’re on the wrong end of calls. They don’t want to risk being fined by the league when they can complain directly to the NFL about discrepancies without fear of retribution. The unnecessary roughness call on Kyle Fuller for a hit to the head of Panthers wide receiver Keith Kirkwood was close. Fox analyst Mike Pereira thought it was the proper call. Nagy might disagree, and it looked very iffy. It looked like shoulder-to-shoulder contact, and you don’t want Fuller to become gun-shy. A 33-yard pass interference call against cornerback Jaylon Johnson was also close, but he did pin D.J. Moore’s right arm against his body and really never let go. The play happened directly in front of side judge Dominique Pender.”

Agreed on the call on Fuller. But I have an issue with Biggs interpretation of the Johnson penalty. The position of Moore’s arm between Johnson and himself made it look like it was pinned. But if you look closely, Johnson wasn’t holding on to it. It was a phantom call by a referee who went by what he thought must have happened rather than what actually did.

Leave a Reply