The Chicago Bears magical 2018 came to a close in the worst possible fashion Sunday afternoon in Soldier Field. The Bears fell to the Eagles 16-15 after a last second field goal miss from kicker Cody Parkey.
Usually we start with Mitch, but honestly this game was the definition of a gut punch. I don’t care that the season was a glaring success, this one hurt a lot. This Bears team was good enough to win a Super Bowl, they dodged major injuries all year long, you never know how often these opportunities come around so this really stings. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t feel bad because of how well the Bears season went overall. They aren’t true sports fans and they don’t belong in your life anyways.
Back to the game, Mitch stepped up big when the Bears needed him to. His first half was, how can I say it politely….not good. He got bailed out by the Eagles secondary’s lack of hands multiple times. That is all the bad I will say about #10. He came out and played quarterback the second half. He led two YUGE drives at the end of the game when the Bears needed a score. It was great to see from the second year quarterback in his first playoff game. Regardless of the outcome, you have to be a cynic to not see that Mitch has made tremendous progress this season. I am very excited to see how he performs next season in year 2 of this offense.
Speaking of this offense, I have some issues with Matt Nagy and his play calling. Matt Nagy is known for putting the pedal to the metal. He is not afraid to put his big brass balls out on the table. Well Sunday afternoon, I think he played scared the first half. The play calling was extremely conservative and the offense suffered greatly. The second half the Bears started taking some shots downfield and voila, magic started to happen. I understand letting your defense win the game but the playbook should have been opened much earlier. Tarik Cohen getting 4 touches in a playoff game is absolutely unacceptable. He has been the spark plug to this offense the entire season, it is a necessity to get him involved. Lastly, why dress Eddie Jackson if he is not going to play a snap? The Eagles are driving down the field on a drive where they HAVE to score a touchdown and your All-Pro safety is sitting on the sideline with his helmet on. I don’t want to hear “we dressed him in case of emergency”, if he is good enough to dress then he is good enough to get on the field when the season is on the line.
Cody Parkey’s inconsistency was the biggest issue for this team all season. Bears fans feared the exact instance that occurred last night all year. I am going to believe that ball was tipped simply because I don’t want to irrationally hate another human being for the rest of my life. The biggest mistake Ryan Pace has made was letting Robbie Gould walk. Cody Parkey has made millions in his career. Take that money, move to an island, and live out the rest of your life in peace my friend. That sounds much more enjoyable than getting harassed when you perform poorly at your day job.
The Bears exceeded everyone’s expectations this season. As I said before, it is sad because you don’t know how often these chances come in the NFL. The Bears only have a few pieces on defense set to enter free agency. Adrian Amos, Bryce Callahan, and Aaron Lynch being the main pieces that could go elsewhere. I expect the Bears to at least retain two of these guys. The most important piece is Vic Fangio. He seems like a prideful, football guy. I just hope he recognizes the unfinished business he has here and the Bears provide him with a much earned pay bump.
I know there is a lot to be excited about. I have said all along this season was similar to the 2015 Cubs. The team was lovable and burst onto the scene a year early. I expect the Bears to once again be a top team in the NFL next season. I think this core has the potential to be something special for the coming years in Chicago. For now, it hurts. It really hurts. The Bears should have won this game. Plain and simple. That is all for now folks, bear down.