Every Play in Goal-To-Go Situations VS. the Chargers (Execution or Play Calling?)
The Bears offense finally put together a few drives against the Chargers, but most drives ended with field goal attempts. It seemed to infuriate Bears fans more than encouraging them. Although they were leading at halftime, the Bears received boos heading into the tunnel at Soldier Field. Part of me understands this because the Bears had legitimate Superbowl expectations before the season started, but it's also disappointing that the Bears no longer have a home-field advantage. This article will break down all of the goal-to-go situations in the Bears vs. Chargers game.
Take a look at the first series.
The Bears are in a shotgun formation, running an empty set. At the start of the play, the Bears have one on one matchups but as soon as Cordarrelle Patterson motions across you see the safety(23) break towards the line of scrimmage, giving the Chargers the advantage. If there was a running threat in the backfield, the play could have gone differently.
The offense is lined up in shotgun again, this time with a running back. Mitchell Trubisky rolls out to the right, and there is a small window where Allen Robinson comes open, but Trubisky isn't looking in his direction. Even if he is, rolling right and throwing back to your left isn't ideal, so that doesn't bother me. The first question I had was, why is David Montgomery expected to take on Melvin Ingram on his own? A running back on an elite edge player doesn't make any sense to me. Also, I wonder if the ball gets tipped. If it was, I understand the underthrown ball. If it wasn't, then it's a bad throw. Burton is open, and you expect Mitch to drop that in at this point in his career.
In my opinion, this play is on Trubisky 100%. Looking at the play side, Trubisky tries to force a ball into a tight zone. Patterson could have given more effort in taking his defender out of that zone, but it's the pre-snap read that gets me. Trubisky looks at Robinson and see's he has his defender one on one. As the play starts, he is looking at the matchup and pump-fakes in that direction. I don't understand how you don't give Allen Robinson a jump ball in the corner of the endzone there.
Here is the second series.
The Bears line up in shotgun with Tarik Cohen in the backfield. The Bears run a quick-trap blocking scheme with Cody Whitehair. The line executes this play well, except for James Daniels. Coward and Massie put their man on the ground, and Coward makes his way to the inside linebacker. Whitehair traps and helps Holtz with Ingram, but Daniels is unable to take the defensive tackle one on one. That's what ends up forcing the play outside. I think we all have seen enough from Cohen to know that even if Daniels doesn't get beat, he's sprinting toward the sideline. Put Montgomery in the game.
I am sure you have seen this play on twitter all week. People are still arguing about it to this day. Yes, the ball gets thrown behind Allen Robinson, but I slowed the play down for you to see what happens. If you watch closely, the flight of the ball changes after it gets tipped by the defensive lineman. You see the ball going from a tight spiral to a wobbly ball. I don't think the lineman, Trubisky, or Robinson could have done anything differently. It's just a good play by the defensive lineman.
Nagy's scheme is cute at times, but this time it would have worked if executed properly. The start of the play looks like Trubisky is rolling out to pass, but they run an inside counter off of it. In the freeze-frame, you will see that the hole is there. Both defenders get sealed, and Daniels is heading to the second level. It is third down, and we will never know if Cohen scores here, but hit the damn hole man.
The last series of the first half is the hardest to watch.
My first thought was, why are all four players shifting towards the line of scrimmage. They are running inside zone, so what is the point of adding defenders. Cody Whitehair trap blocks, but Whitehair doesn't pick anyone up. The inside linebacker doesn't keep his gap responsibility, but the shift brought number 23 in giving him a chance to make the play. There is an opening for a second, but Montgomery cuts back into traffic.
The Bears run a wide receiver screen to Cordarrelle Patterson. The Chargers defenders outnumber the Bears blockers, and the play is blown up. I don't understand what advantage Nagy thought he had in this play.
The Bears are running a heavy set, and use max protection. There is only one receiver running a route, and luckily Robinson is held on the play. Again, I don't understand the play call.
Nagy saw the Chargers trying to jump the route in play one, and he tries to use this to his advantage. You can see the linebacker jumping the screen on the opposite side of the field. He lines up in the same formation but decides to go for the one on one match up. Shaheen doesn't get much separation, and the ball is batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The Bears are running a similar trap block scheme as play 1, and Montgomery must have gotten the coaching from the sidelines. Nagy thought the same thing would happen, and it would be a walk-in touchdown. This time the inside linebacker stays in his gap, and the play is blown up from the start. The worst part is that time is running out, and the Bears have no time outs left. They were barely able to spike the ball to stop the clock. Imagine how much more criticism Nagy would have gotten if the Bears went into halftime without getting the three points.
A lot of people want to point the finger at a single player or the coach. In reality, there is plenty of blame to throw around. Sometimes Nagy makes calls that don't make sense. Sometimes Mitch makes a bad decision or a bad throw. Sometimes the offensive line doesn't block the right guy. Sometimes the receivers don't get separation. Sometimes the running backs don't take the easy yards, and sometimes the defense just makes a play. All in all, the offense needs to tighten up and play better. Otherwise, Bears fans will keep enduring one of the most disappointing seasons in a long time.