The Bears are still seeking their identity on offense 23 games into Matt Nagy’s tenure — that much we’ve seen with our own eyes and even stunningly heard from the horses’ mouths Sunday, however inexcusable it is by now.
Hearing Prince Amukamara suggest the vaunted Bears ‘D’ might be losing its identity? That sounds like the biggest indictment yet of the still-regressing offense, however indirect.
“I feel like we played well enough to win in the first half. But in the second half, I don’t know what happened,” said Amukamara, whose Bears trailed only 12-10 at halftime — thanks to Cordarrelle Patterson’s 102-yard KR touchdown and a 46-yard Eddy Pineiro FG, not the offense — before falling 35-26 to the shorthanded Saints. “We’re going to have to look at the film. What I do know is that they just came and punched us in the mouth and just kept going and going and going. Credit to the offense for not giving up and continuing to try to help us get the W. But on our side of the ball, it’s just unacceptable. The phrase that’s been said is that we just have to ‘look ourselves in the mirror’ and I feel like we’re losing our identity so we have to get back to that.”
Perhaps it was 230-pound Latavius Murray — you know, the kind of big back Nagy’s Bears had no need for — and his 18 second-half carries delivering 89 punishing yards and helping the Saints offense spend nearly 20 minutes on the field in the second half. Or the fact the Bears surrendered their second-highest yardage and point totals in more than a year against the Saints’ backup backfield.
More than anything, it might be that the Bears offense found the one defense it can beat — its own. Amukamara isn’t suggesting that, to reiterate his very clear words. Leave that to the coach and orchestrator of said broken offense.
“Yeah, it does. When you have one side that's playing really well and another side that's trying to get things figured out, for us as a team, the frustrations, the emotions right now after the game when you have that kind of stuff go on, it can challenge you,” Matt Nagy said. “It really can. It can challenge you individually, and that's something that's completely normal. But then that's, again, why we build this team the way we build it is for when situations like this come up. We've got to figure out how we turn this thing around, and that it's us. We understand that.”
Pace's Bears have prided themselves on building a strong locker-room culture — rightly so. But it's ironic, and increasingly ominous, that their failures in rehabbing the offense in the offseason are now threatening to undo that culture.
Allen Robinson, as even-keeled as any guy in that locker room, sought fights — first on the field, then on Twitter — after another game where he was a one-man band on offense. Nagy himself seemed more convinced that the media that's been more than fair to him until now is suddenly out to get the Bears, than of any tangible fixes he's on the cusp of discovering for his zero-dimension offense.
This is a city all too familiar with great defenses being wasted, and while the 2019 Bears 'D' must own many of its failures during only the second losing streak of Nagy's tenure, it also appears that the the biggest trick played so far this season by a coach who earned a rep for his trick plays a year ago is worsening both units.