Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy gives up play-calling, team beats Lions

Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /

After their Week 3 embarrassment, the Chicago Bears turn things around and beat the Detroit Lions, 24-14.

Well, one good thing we’ve learned from the 2021 Chicago Bears is that they bounce back well from adversity. The bad thing, however, is that they keep putting themselves in adversity.

After the Bears’ defense got embarrassed by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, giving up big plays downfield and putting no pressure on their quarterback, the defense has done a pretty good job. The pass rush is getting to quarterbacks and, while the secondary is still suspect, the unit makes plays in key situations.

Last week, the offense suffered humiliation in the hands of the Cleveland Browns. Justin Fields, making his first career start at quarterback, suffered nine sacks and had just 68 yards passing. The offense as a whole had just 47 total yards. Their 1.1 yards per play was the second-lowest in this century.

This week, the offense bounced back. It started right from the first drive. The Bears went 75 yards, thus surpassing the total number of yards they had the entire game last week. That drive culminated in a David Montgomery touchdown run.

On the Bears’ second drive, they did even better. They marched 89 yards in six plays. Again, Montgomery finished the drive with a touchdown run. The Bears’ rushing attack had a big hand in this victory. Montgomery had 65 rushing yards and the two touchdowns in the first half, on his way to his second 100-yard game of the season (106 yards).

After averaging 23 rushing attempts in the first three games of the season, the Bears kept feeding the running game. Montgomery himself had 23 carries, and the Bears had a total of 39 rushing attempts. They finished with 188 total rushing yards.

That effective running game really helped Fields. With the Lions trying to account for the running game, the receivers had space downfield. Fields did a good job of hitting them, completing five passes of 20 yards or more.

Darnell Mooney was the biggest recipient of FIelds’ throws. He finished the game with five catches for 125 yards. Allen Robinson had three catches for 63 yards, including a beautiful 28-yard pass completion between two Lions defenders.

Fields finished the game 11-of-17 for 209 yards and an interception. The interception was on a tipped pass. However, he showed flashes of what made him one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. He made some great, pinpoint-accurate passes downfield. Yes, he isn’t a finished product yet, but he’s showing why Chicago Bears Nation is excited to have him lead the offense.

The Chicago Bears went through a week of turmoil

After the embarrassment in Cleveland, Chicago Bears fans wanted blood. Their calls for Nagy’s firing became outright yells. Heck, some wanted him fired at halftime before things got even worse.

Nagy himself didn’t handle things too well, though. He started playing games with the quarterback situation and the play-calling. He said that all three quarterbacks, Fields, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles, were in consideration to start. The team didn’t announce a starter until the evening before the game.

Additionally, while most people called for him to give up play-calling, Nagy remained coy. He said he would keep that information internal. It was obvious from the start, however, that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called the plays. After the game, Nagy admitted that Lazor did call the plays but that everything went through him (Nagy).

During the week there were reports about some players talking about how the offense wasn’t working. Foles was caught on camera during the Browns debacle saying it.

When the players start saying things like that, it’s a sign that the coach is close to losing his locker room. Thankfully, Nagy did the right thing and made some of the changes to improve the team. He had to look into the mirror and admit his actions were hurting the team and he stepped back.

The Lions woke up in the second half and tried to mount a comeback

The Bears went into the half with a 14-0 lead. After the defense forced a three-and-out to start the third quarter, the offense went to work again. They went 77 yards on six plays, and a Damien Williams four-yard touchdown run made the score 21-0.

The Lions weren’t going down without a fight, however. After a Bears three-and-out, the Lions marched down the field and got the ball to the Bears’ 4-yard line. It was the fourth time the Lions drove inside the Bears’ 10. On the previous three occasions, however, the Bears’ defense recorded two turnovers and forced a turnover on downs.

The Lions finally got into the end zone, though. A Jared Goff four-yard touchdown pass made it 21-7.

The Bears then took the ball and went 60 yards on seven plays. They weren’t able to punch the ball into the end zone, settling instead for a Cairo Santos 33-yard field goal. The field goal was his 32nd straight made attempt, the longest current streak in the league.

Goff then took over and just carved the Bears’ secondary on the next drive. He led the offense on an eight-play, 75-yard drive. It ended with a Goff 25-yard touchdown pass.

The Bears’ secondary had some communication trouble. On two occasions, two defenders were looking at each other as a Lions receiver became wide open. This is something that needs to be cleaned up.

On the Bears’ next drive, they went backward. They had five plays and lost three yards. They punted the ball back to the Lions and it seemed like things were just falling apart.

Goff and the Lions were again marching down the field. It was reminiscent of last season when the Bears led the game throughout but the Lions came from 10 points down with 2:18 left in the game to win.

Would it happen again? No, it didn’t. The Lions got inside the Bears’ 10 for the fifth time. The defense again stiffened up and forced a fourth down. Being down by 10, with 4:15 left in the game,  the Lions could have kicked a field goal and make it a one-score game. Instead, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell went for it. For the second time, the Bears forced a turnover on downs.

The Bears took over and milked the clock. With 1:06 left and the Bears with a fourth down, they lined up for a punt. The Lions did a Lions thing, committing an offside penalty, thus giving the Bears a first down. That was the end of the game.

It was nice to see the Bears bounce back from their embarrassment of last week. They face a tough schedule for the next four weeks, however. They face the Las Vegas Raiders next week, then the Green Bay Packer, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and finish the month against the San Francisco 49ers. The schedule doesn’t get much easier from there. They have games against the Baltimore Ravens, the Arizona Cardinals, the Packers again, and the Seattle Seahawks.

Next. NFL Power Rankings, Week 5: Cowboys, Cards make statements. dark

We’ll see soon enough how much the Chicago Bears learn and grow. Will they continue to need adversity to improve, or will they get better without it? Also, we’ll get a clearer picture of Nagy’s hot seat.