After the Bears' failure to launch, or even compete at times through the first 36 minutes of their rumble with the Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia, Mitch Trubisky found a wide-open Taylor Gabriel 53 yards down the field.
Although Gabriel failed to find the end zone, stalling at the 9-yard line, Matt Nagy called Trubisky’s number on a designed run on the next play to the 1, David Montgomery crashed the end zone two plays later, and although they still trailed, 19-7, suddenly the 2018 Bears had reappeared.
Why they were MIA for the first two quarters-plus in a game that was as close to a must-win as any team can face, and also a chance to earn some revenge against the same Eagles team that ended their playoff chase in January, is hard to explain.
Although the offense made a few nice plays, it was really a heroic rebound from the defense that sparked the Bears' comeback, made all the more impressive by the fact that Eddie Goldman was lost in the first half with a banged-up knee.
Unfortunately for Bears fans, however, their glasses were still half empty in the end, as the Bears failed to claim the lead after taking over at their own 30 with 10:14 to play and getting a 17-yard run from David Montgomery on the first play. The drive stalled three plays later near midfield.
The Eagles got the ball back at their 11 with 8:39 to play and went 4 for 5 converting third downs before settling for a 38-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 22-14 with 25 seconds to play, and that's the way it ended.
So let’s get back to the top. Actually calling the Bears' first-half effort against the Eagles a rumble is an inferno-like inflammatory insult to rumbles.
The Eagles were in a rumble, whereas the Bears appeared to think they’d shown up for a pillow fight.
Offensively, the Bears played their worst half of football in 40 years, managing only 9 yards of total offense.
They were 0 for 6 on third down, had 1 yard passing, allowed three sacks, were flagged for 56 yards of penalties, managed only one first down, and Trubisky was 6-for-13 passing for 24 yards (1.8 yards an attempt).
It’s easy to hang it all on Trubisky and Nagy, but it isn’t accurate or fair.
That said, Trubisky continues to miss more plays than he makes, and Nagy again put him in more positions to fail than he put him in to succeed.
Defensively, these Bears really aren’t as far away from last year’s group as it feels at times, but although they did get off the field with only field goals after the Eagles' two long first-half drives, the big plays and the pressure that bursts pipes are missing.
Are these guys going to win seven or at least six of their next eight games, the minimum to justify even daydreaming about the playoffs?
But Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace are going to be back next year, and I’d guess Trubisky will be, too, so it is critically important that they start fixing things now and as quickly as possible.
It looks as if the starting point should be obvious.
These Bears are too talented to have played as poorly as they have the past four weeks.
Nagy needs to hand off his play-calling duties to either Mark Helfrich or Brad Childress, both highly qualified, right now.
If it’s important, he can take back that job when things get straightened out, but for now the most important thing he can do to get his Bears fixed is to devote all of his in-game attention to the action on the field, who’s ready to play, who isn’t and why not instead of spending all of his time worrying about the next play.
It may not be Nagy’s fault that his team didn’t show up Sunday, but it’s obviously not something he saw coming, and getting his arms around that is the head coach’s No. 1 responsibility.
He’s the boss, and it’s time for Nagy to grasp that there are a lot more important things he has to do to get that job right than calling plays, and trying to do both just isn’t working.