Five Critical Mistakes that Cost the Chicago Bears the Wild Card Victoryby Ben Fadden January 11, 2021 0 comments
The Chicago Bears were huge underdogs going into their first-round matchup in New Orleans, but they had a chance to win if it wasn’t for their costly mishaps. They were the last NFC team that got into the playoffs and entered the Wild Card round as 11-point underdogs on the road versus the Saints. Nobody was giving them a chance but they were in the game, as they were only down by four at halftime. In fact, they should’ve been winning.
That’s what Jim Nantz yelled on the CBS game broadcast after Mitchell Trubisky threw a great pass in the end zone to a wide-open Javon Wims, but he let it go right through his arms. Chicago ended up punting on that possession. That touchdown (and extra point) would’ve given the Bears a three-point advantage going into the half.
Not the Right Time to Run the Ball
You could make the argument that they should’ve been leading by more than a score of 10-7 after the first two quarters. The play calling was way too conservative on their final drive before the half. With multiple timeouts in their pocket, the Bears ran the ball three straight times to go three and out before punting the ball back to New Orleans. That was an opportunity to go down the field and grab some momentum since they received the ball at the start of the third quarter. The run game obviously wasn’t working too well, just 35 yards in the first half, so it was certainly a head scratching decision to keep the ball on the ground.
Late in the third quarter, the Bears nearly forced a turnover when the Saints were attempting to go for it on fourth and three, but Eddie Jackson jumped in the neutral zone to give the Saints a new set of downs in the red zone. Two plays later the Saints scored a touchdown to make it 14-3 after the extra point.
No Risk it-No Biscuit
About midway through the fourth quarter, Matt Nagy chose to punt the ball back to New Orleans despite being down by 18 points. There’s nothing to lose by going for it on fourth down when you’re down three scores but punting signals that you’re giving up.
Why so Scared to Throw?
The Bears game plan was clear if you watched this game: run the ball. It was surprising how reluctant Chicago was to trust Trubisky to throw the ball. He threw a perfect pass to Wims in the end zone in the first quarter and was moving the ball down the field in their opening drive of the second half. But, Trubisky ended the game with only 29 pass attempts, which was 10 fewer attempts than Drew Brees had despite him having a Pro Bowl running back lining up behind him. 10 of Trubisky’s pass attempts were in garbage time in the final drive of the game.
The last thing Chicago could do against a great team like the Saints was make multiple mistakes. New Orleans capitalized and therefore will be playing next week while the Bears are headed home with no one to blame but themselves.
Check us out on our socials:
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk
Follow Ben Fadden on Twitter @benfaddensports
Main Image Credit: