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Chicago Bears: 3 Takeaways from Week 8

The Chicago Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in their Week 8 matchup. The game headed to overtime after yet another Bears comeback, as they were able to tie the game despite being down by 10 with less than four minutes remaining. However, the Bears were not able to score on their only overtime possession, and the Saints hit a 35-yard field goal to win the game. Here are 3 takeaways from the Bears Week 8 matchup.

The Bears are too inconsistent to be serious contenders

For about half of the Bears game on Sunday, Chicago looked like a playoff-caliber team, one that could even potentially win a game or two in the postseason. For the other half, however, they looked like a team deserving of a losing record.

With 1:39 left in the second quarter, Chicago hit its second field goal of the day, making the score 13-3. They had looked good so far, stifling the Saints offense and moving the ball downfield on multiple possessions.

On the next drive, the Bears sacked Saints quarterback Drew Brees, forcing them into a 2nd and 18. Instead of letting the clock run out, coach Matt Nagy called a timeout, hoping for an opportunity to get the ball back and score before halftime. In theory, it was a good decision, but New Orleans took advantage by marching downfield and scoring a touchdown with three seconds remaining in the first half.

Immediately after that drive, the Bears broke down. For the seventh time this season, they scored 0 points in the third quarter. They allowed 13 straight points, and seemingly shut down until the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

Chicago put together two nice offensive drives, one ending in a touchdown with 3:32 left and another sending the game to overtime with a last minute field goal.

In overtime, the Bears offense stalled, gaining just 8 yards and 1 first down. After that, the Saints were able to drive downfield and make a game-winning field goal.

Against the Saints, Chicago displayed a pattern of inconsistency that has been repeated in most Bears games. They have been able to overcome this weakness to beat the bad teams on their schedule, but if the Bears continue to be so inconsistent, they will not be serious challengers to any playoff team.

Nick Foles is not the answer

Since naming veteran Nick Foles the starting quarterback in Week 4, Matt Nagy’s offense has not particularly improved. Foles has completed 64.8 percent of his passes, thrown eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Chicago is only 2-3 with Nick Foles at the helm, with the offense largely to blame for the poor record.

There is no doubt that the Bears offensive line is part of the problem. He has been sacked 13 times and has dealt with constant pressure. But that is also part of the issue with Foles – when protection breaks down, Foles is rarely able to scramble and make a play.

(AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

That was the thing former starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky was best at. He is agile and quick, and arguably better throwing the ball outside of the pocket. Foles, unlike Trubisky, relies on whether or not he is pressured.

Against the Saints, Foles made a few really good throws and clutch plays, but he again showed his inconsistency.

He made one very ill-advised pass inaccurately throwing the ball into double coverage on his back foot. Had it not been 4th down at the time, it would have been intercepted. On one drive in the third quarter, Foles set up the Saints in field goal range by throwing an interception at the Bears 39 yard line. The pass, intended for Jimmy Graham, missed badly and was an easy play for the defender.

It is debatable whether or not Foles should start over Trubisky for the rest of this season. However, it is clear that Foles is not the long-term answer. Whether they draft a quarterback in next year’s draft or acquire one in the upcoming offseason, the Bears will need to move on from Nick Foles.

The Bears are incredibly undisciplined

Chicago has struggled mightily with penalties this year. They lead the NFL in penalties committed and are second in yards allowed off of penalties. They have not particularly improved in this regard as the season has gone on.

The Bears continued to be undisciplined on Sunday against the Saints.

They committed seven penalties for 53 yards, some in critical positions. Of all their penalties, Javon Wims‘ sucker punch against Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was especially bad. Because of Wims’ attempt at payback for a previous scuffle, Chicago was moved back 15 yards and Wims was ejected. For a Bears offense that struggles moving the ball downfield, a 15 yard penalty almost certainly ends a drive.

A more disciplined team and player would recognize the stupidity in such a decision. What quite possibly could have been a scoring drive turned into an interception on second and long because of a penalty.

This is not a new story for Chicago. Although no penalty committed this season has been as wild and unnecessary as Wims’, the Bears lack of discipline has continuously killed drives and helped opponents.

 

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