At the end of the third quarter on Monday night, as the Chicago Bears tried to capitalize on a race that began on the 30-yard line of the Minnesota Vikings, the entire season was essentially recapitulated in one fell swoop.
A few minutes earlier, running back Damien Williams struck the head of the Vikings, securing himself the best position on the field to attack. Trying to close the 17-3 deficit and get into the red zone, the Bears faced fourth and 1 in 21.
For 8 seconds of the usual slovenliness, the promise turned into excitement, hope – into complete irritation.
A little confusion. Time is violated. A pass that was never thrown. Or a fight that never started.
Result: Defender Justin Fields was sacked for a 2-yard loss.
A thousand puzzled head shakes seemed to surround the Soldier’s Field Stands like a wave.
Fields went down, corralled on the right sideline by midfielder Nick Vigil, and then grabbed the grass thanks to the defensive end of DJ Wonnum. Downs turnover.
More about this? Really?
This kind of confusion defined the Bears’ 17-9 loss all night, the team’s eighth defeat in nine games.
“It was history,” Fields said after the game. “It was definitely the story of the year.”
He is not wrong.
The fourth and first had a lot of roughness. Start with Darnell Mooney’s foster, tasked with being in the background in a game breaking out of a dense formation with three taiga sides. Mooney had a straight path to the short side of the field, but admittedly, he was a little confused and slowly leveled off.
“It was a personal group in which I was the other receiver,” he said. “And the last name in the play that I need to hear before taking a position. But literally everyone ran to the line of battle, and Justin continued to call the play. So I just got (the label) at the end and (quickly) went to the right place. ”
The play design encouraged Fields to bootleg naked outside of the play with Mooney as a first read. But the forgery of the play was out of sync. Then it was so with the whole play. And with Vikings in the guise of Cover-2, the advantage in a chess match that the Bears hoped for simply did not exist.
“The corner was sitting on (flat road) and it didn’t move,” Fields said.
Mooney looked open for a moment as he jumped out of the far field to his right. Fields also had the opportunity to watch Jimmy Graham further down the field in rough terrain. However, I did not like the play.
“At the perfect time when Mooney was open, I wasn’t looking,” Fields said. “When I looked at him again, he was covered. It’s just time in football. ”
Fields was quick to praise the Vikings for their good defense of the game.
“I mean this is football,” he said. “You win, you lose.”
However, the pile of bears ‘lose’ always seems to be twice as high. This is the only way to explain how they fell behind in 50 minutes and 3 seconds despite being ahead of the Vikings 370-193.
This is the only way to explain how the admirable effort of the shattered defense was wasted by the attack, which included two lost fumbles and three trips in the red zone, ending with no points.
This is the only way to explain how the Bears are now in the penultimate spot in the NFC standings, 4-10 with the New York Giants.
And for some reason there are still three games left.
The error buffet on Monday night included three more penalties from rookie left tackle Theven Jenkins, another lost to Fields, a 49-yard field goal blocked by Cairo Santos, and, yes, even an unsporting penalty against Nagy, who exploded. his top after hitting Deon Busch at Tyler Conklin’s tight end during the third stop in the first quarter was deemed unnecessary rudeness.
“Our guys are fighting their asses to get off the field,” Nagy said. “And I saw what happened. I explained my opinion on this matter. And I don’t regret it. ”
For the second time this season, the Bears’ refereeing on Monday night attracted a lot of attention and there was no shortage of controversial challenges. The Bears finished with nine penalties for 91 yards. But their common failures go deeper than a few dubious sentences.
For the fifth time this season, the attacker failed to score a touchdown in the first half. The Bears have 0-5 in these games.
They have been below 17 points seven times this season, and their 17.8 points per game are 28th in the NFL.
The Bears’ only touchdown occurred on their 70th Dash, meaningless play as time was up. Fields hit Jesper Horsted for 19 yards. Even this was originally decided that the ball should be at a distance of 30 cm from the goal line.
“This is an unpleasant situation,” Mooney said.
Undoubtedly, the Bears entered the field with 14 players on the reserve / COVID-19 roster, including all five starting defensive positions as well as host Allen Robinson. Attack coordinator Bill Lazor and Special Team Coordinator Chris Tabor were also absent.
It was a heavy hand. And under the circumstances, the Bears played a gamble again, which delighted their coach.
“It would be one thing if the team came out and just said, ‘You know what? We are 4-9 years old, and we are just at the point where we are going to check out, ”said Nagy. “Our guys don’t do that. This is why you get emotional. That’s why you care. Because they put a lot of time and energy to come here and play. I like that about them. ”
But this small plus was not enough to compensate for the continuous offensive tedious work. Or a flurry of fines. Or bad decisions. Or untimely turnovers. Or a bunch of losses that keep fans in a bad mood.
In their penultimate home game this season, the Bears again confused too many situations. This team has been out of service for a long time, and the most important renovations won’t begin until the 2022 offseason hits.
Meanwhile, missed opportunities and mistakes on the pitch are still difficult to track.