No. 2: Matt Nagy still has room for improvement
Early in the year, Bears coach Matt Nagy was heavily criticized for being too conservative offensively when the team had a lead. This was most evident in week one when the Bears blew a 20-0 halftime lead in an eventual 24-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Nagy improved in the following weeks and made some great calls during the team’s recent five-game winning streak. Sunday against the Giants was a mixed bag for the rookie coach.
Nagy made a big mistake in the first half after the Bears defense recorded back-to-back sacks of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. The clock was running down to end the second quarter when Nagy took a timeout.
This timeout seemed to anger the Giants, as rookie star Saquon Barkley broke free for a 22-yard run on 3rd and 23. After a fourth down conversion, the Giants kicked a 57-yard field goal to make the score closer at 14-10. The Bears ended up losing by a field goal.
Was this aggressive timeout call the reason the Bears lost? Probably not, but it shows that Nagy can get a bit too imaginative at times. I’m not sure what the backup quarterback could’ve done with under 30 seconds left in the half.
Nagy made some great calls late in the game, especially on the final drive of regulation when the Bears tied the score. With three seconds left in the game, Nagy showed that he has a lot of guts by calling a trick play that had Cohen throwing a touchdown to wide receiver Anthony Miller.
At this point, the Bears had been struggling to find a rhythm all day on both sides of the ball. The choice to kick the extra point and go to overtime was the safe one, and Nagy thought that was the better option.
The Bears couldn’t get it going in overtime and lost after failing to convert on fourth down. I really wanted Nagy to go for two points and the win after that touchdown at the end of regulation. The Giants were stunned and it was the perfect opportunity to steal a win on the road.
I don’t think many people would’ve blamed Nagy if the Bears went for two and failed, but who knows? Bears fans can be fickle, and Nagy believed in his offense in overtime.
I like the confidence from the young coach, but I’d also like to see fewer mistakes made by him early in games. He’s clearly learning on the job, and it’s encouraging that he’s gotten better throughout the season.