The Chicago Bears are coming off a 19 -14 victory against the New York Giants this past Sunday.  So on this Victory Monday (well, Tuesday) the question begs, what can we takeaway from this Week 12 win against the New York Giants? Watching the game probably gave you too many thoughts to count.  We are going to take a look at the 5 biggest takeaways from this Week 12 game.  As has been a theme this season, there is going to be some good, some bad, and some down right ugly.

  •  MISTAKES & PENALTIES LEAD TO SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITIES

Mistakes and penalties clearly defined the first half of this game.  It’s what we have come to expect from the 2019 Chicago Bears.  Ben Braunecker, who was wide open running up the seam dropped a pass from Mitchell Trubisky that hit him right in the hands.  A couple plays later  Trubisky threw a interception in the end zone effectively killing a drive that should have ended with a touchdown.  A 60 yard pass play to Allen Robinson was negated because of a hands to the face penalty on Cody Whitehair.

In the third quarter, there was a sequence that only the Bears could pull off.  After a Trubisky three-yard touchdown run.  Matt Nagy decides to go for two, and after calling a timeout, Trubisky completed the conversion to Taylor Gabriel.  But, that was called back because of a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on Robinson.  The Bears then opted to kick an extra point but as they lined up Brent Urban, a DE, inexplicably runs onto the field which drew a flag for 12 men on the field. Later, we would learn the high ankle sprain to Bobby Massey caused confusion on the field which led to Urban’s mishap, when the coaches had it figured out on the sideline. Chalk that up to poor communication by the staff to the players. Right on cue, Eddy Pineiro proceded to round out the sequence with a miss on the 48 yard PAT.

  • OFFENSIVE WOES

There was questionable play calling, sloppy routes being run by receivers, and bad quarterback play throughout the game.  There were several plays where receivers ran routes too close to one another. One in particular was the interception in the end zone. Upon initial viewing, it appeared as if Trubisky overthrew Anthony Miller, but during his press conference, Nagy said the there was a miscommunication between Trubisky and Robinson. If so, why is Miller way too close to the play? Real estate is already at a premium in the red zone and having routes that create multiple defenders is the opposite of what a coach would design.  Are these errors the receivers are making or are these the plays that Nagy has designed? Is Miller free-lancing or making an incorrect read that resulted in multiple defenders on Robinson? Trubisky made some good throws and excels when rolling out of the pocket.  But while in the pocket he continues to make mistakes, and misreads.

Nagy has been balanced in the run to pass ratio (see the Broncos, Vikings, Chargers and Philadelphia games) in some games this season but the past three games has seen the shift move to more passes than runs. Run/pass ratios in the past three games has been: Lions – 26/43, Rams – 24/50, Giants – 27/48. Some of this can be attributed to the score, but can it also be a part of Nagy’s trust, or lack-there-of) in the running backs and offensive line? In additon the personnel groupings are quite predictable and tip the play before the ball is snapped.  Case in point, when Javon Wims is on the field, almost 90% of the Bears are running the ball. When an extra offensive lineman is brought it, again, a majority of the time, a run play is called. If you can match up and “win the play” that approach is fine, but the Bears have yet to prove they are capable of doing so against their opponents.

  • SPECIAL TEAMS MISHAPS

The Bears had several gaffes on special teams as well.  We mentioned the missed PAT, and penalty for 12 men on the field that essentially slowed the momentum in the third quarter.  There was also the shanked punt by Pat O’Donnell that hurt the Bears giving the Giants excellent field position that led to their first touchdown.  Bad punt coverage also gave way to Jabrill Peppers returning a punt 40 yards before eventually being tackled. Luckily, this ended in one of Aldrick Rosas’ two missed kicks on the day. Still, successful teams can’t give up big special teams plays. The lone bright spot was Cordarrelle Patterson being able to down a couple of punts inside the 5 yard line.

The Bears consistently started drives with bad field position most of the game.  Four of the first eight Chicago possessions started from inside their own 10 yard line.  When you have an offense that is struggling to move the ball, you need to win the battle of field position.  So much attention has been given to the struggles of the offense, and now these Special Teams issues are starting to manifest themselves weekly.  The kicking game and Special Teams needs to improve and shouldn’t be a work in progress this far into the season.

  • ALLEN ROBINSON IS A STUD & KHALIL MACK IS STILL A STUD

Allen Robinson and Khalil Mack are the best players on the Chicago Bears roster, and it’s not even up for debate. Robinson continues to produce and he has now exceeded his production from last year.  He had 6 receptions for 131 yards and 1 TD, and was able to give the Chicago Bears some rare offensive highlights. If the Bears are going to win any future games, the chemistry he’s shown with Trubisky the last few weeks needs to continue.

Khalil Mack made an appearance in Sunday’s game as well.  Much of what Mack does is not always seen in the box score.  He is able to disrupt the game plan for opposing teams and he always has to be accounted for.  Often times he is double and even triple teamed on any given play. When you forget he is out there he goes and gets a strip sack, as he did on Sunday and reminds you just how valuable he is.  One play in particular demonstrated his value is where he beat a triple-team and chased Daniel Jones out of the pocket.  While he did not get a sack, he was credited with a quarterback hurry and caused some chaos in the process.

Critics will say, the Giants were, at 2-8, a bad football team. While these stats and performances mean may mean nothing, they are also quite telling as to the type of team the Bears are and have been this season. You should beat and dominate the teams (and players) that are inferior talent wise.

  • THE NEW YORK GIANTS ARE A BAD TEAM, THE CHICAGO BEARS ARE JUST A LITTLE LESS BAD

Matt Nagy and company had a nice opportunity to gain some confidence as they head down the stretch of the 2019 season.  The New York Giants are a team that the Chicago Bears should have steamrolled.  Instead, they played down to the competition.  Self-inflicted mishaps, penalties, and poor play have plagued the Bears in the first half of games all season.  When they finally do get some momentum going, they implode due to either poor play calling, mistakes, and sloppy play. In some games it has cost them a victory (Chargers, Raiders) and other games they were able to win in spite of the miscues (Broncos, Lions, Giants).

Despite the self-inflicted mistakes, and momentum killing penalties, there was marked improvement.  Mitchell Trubisky played better and had some nice throws both in and out of the pocket, with Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller being his primary targets. The defense was able to play with a lead for once which resulted in a more aggressive pass rush and approach from Chuck Pagano. At this point in the season, game-to-game improvement is about as much as we can hope for as Bears fans.