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The Lazor Show is headed for a very short run
The only reason we know the Bears changed play callers is that they told us
Congratulations to Bears head coach and visor enthusiast Matt Nagy for handing over the play calling reigns to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor last night and basically saying, “See! I told you this shit doesn’t work!”
The only problem with it is that the shit is his, and his alone, and the Bears are now 5-5 on an inexorable stumble to 5-11. Somewhere in North Dakota, Trey Lance is trying to convince a Canadian League Football team to draft him before the Bears can get their hands on him.
Between recent rules changes, a collectively bargained limit on contact in practice and the haphazard weekly preparation due to a deadly pandemic it has literally never been easier to gain yards and score points in the NFL. And yet, the Bears, a team with a storied history of crap offenses has somehow fielded the worst offense in team history. Honestly, it’s so completely terrible that you almost have to admire it. It’s not easy to be this bad. The Bears are the Emo Phillips of offense.
After three straight losses and pathetic offensive performances for most of the season, Nagy finally handed over the Be You laminated sheet of nonsense to Lazor. Apparently, the sheet now says Be Ne, because very little changed.
Nagy had been particularly embarrassed by a loss a couple of weeks ago to the Rams when the defense outscored the offense seven to three. Well, last night the special teams outscored the offense seven to six. So, progress? Oh, who knows?
Nagy said last year that if they changed play callers “we” (presumably fans and reporters) wouldn’t notice. Well, if they hadn’t told us they changed last night, he’s right, we’d have never noticed.
All the Vikings debacle proved was that whatever his offense is just fundamentally terrible. No sequencing of the random assemblage of football-esque plays will result in anything resembling a competent offense.
It’s not to say the Bears didn’t try some new stuff. They ran a version of the Wildcat so innovative that it nearly defied description. They put Cordarrelle Patterson in the shotgun and then ran him sideways until he fell down.
They ran Nick Foles, their immobile quarterback on a bootleg to set up a two yard pass to their one actually good offensive player, Allen Robinson, that seemed to be designed to get Robinson the ball in a position where he could get dropped for a two yard gain and suffer a deep thigh bruise in the process.
On third and five in Vikings territory on their second to last possession they ran a play where they threw the ball five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
They scored their second touchdown in the third quarter all season, and it was a 194 yard kick return by Patterson. They have now only been outscored 62-14 in that quarter.
Third quarter offense has been the biggest embarrassment in a season full of embarrassments for the team, and how did the switch from Nagy to Lazor work out?
The Bears “gained” negative two yards in the quarter last night.
They gained a total of 14 yards in the second half.
After going an embarrassing 2 for 15 on third down against the Titans last week they went 2 for 11 against the Vikings.
They ran the ball 17 times for 41 yards.
They passed 31 times for 108 yards.
Their longest rushes of the night were six yards, once each by Patterson and whatever Artavis Pierce is. That means that for the last two weeks the longest rush by the Bears was still linebacker Barkevious Mingo’s 11 yard fake punt last week. In case you are wondering that’s very, very bad.
The Bears defense, despite their increasingly frustrating propensity to give up lots of extra yardage by trying to steal the ball from guys without first securing the tackle, played well enough that the team should have easily won.
You can kind of excuse them for that Like many Bears defenses before them they are at the point where they know they have to steal the ball and score to have any chance of winning. That was so obvious that former Bear and current befuddled ESPN analyst Brian Griese made that case, presumably while awaiting his CTE results in the booth last night.
So while the season’s not over, it’s over.
The reason the Bears gained fewer yards last night than they have in recent weeks was because they didn’t fall behind by enough points. Let’s face it, most of the Bears fourth quarter production has been a result of them being down by multiple scores when the quarter starts and taking advantage of defenses playing soft to just keep the Bears from scoring quickly on a flukey long play. Being within a single TD of the Vikings meant they were still going to see the third down blitzes that seemed to completely befuddle them every damned time.
You get the feeling Nagy relented the play calling duties to prove that he doesn’t have the players he needs to score points and move the ball. But what he really proved is that there’s no hope for his offense. He’s had too much of a say in who his quarterback is, who his offensive linemen are, who his receivers and running backs are to hide behind the idea that he just needs different players.
The Bears clearly do need different offensive players, but there’s no reason to have Nagy around to coach them. It doesn’t take long to prove you aren’t good at something, and three seasons is well more than long enough to prove you aren’t a good football coach. His 2018 NFL Coach of the Year Award will go nicely with his Georgia Force All-Time TD Passer plaque in his cubicle when he returns to his internship at Larry Wisdom Real Estate.
Bovada has installed the Bears as -7.5 underdogs to the BYE next week.
The Bears next actual game is Sunday night November 29 against the Packers at Lambeau Field. NBC should really flex into something that won’t be as much of a bloodbath. But they won’t, because we all apparently need three and a half hours of Cris Collinsworth reminding us that over the past 28 seasons the Packers have had two Hall of Fame quarterbacks as their starters, while the Bears have started 74 different guys who are now working at Dick’s Sporting Goods.