Bears Remain Optimistic In Aftermath Of Letdown Loss

December 02, 2018 - 6:46 pm
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (670 The Score) -- The message from coach Matt Nagy to his Bears following their disappointing 30-27 loss to the Giants was one of positivity, pointing to their valiant late comeback and the heart on display for those remaining at MetLife Stadium.

Nagy chose to see Sunday for the good that came of it. He could see the looks of his players down 10 points late in the fourth quarter and that they would fight with everything they could. It took a friendly bounce and a trick up Nagy's sleeve, but there were the Bears in overtime.

"I'm proud of them for fighting to the end," Nagy said. "Not every team will do that. I think we got a bunch of high-character guys who fight til the end, and that's a credit to them. We got to learn from this. This is part of that callous that goes on."

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With those words, the Bears (8-4) departed from MetLife Stadium holding their heads high despite falling to a last-place Giants (4-8) team. But the team's film review Monday back at Halas Hall won't be as pleasant.

Despite a resilient effort from the Bears in the end, this was their worst showing of the 2018 season and one that stalled, if not diminished, the hopes that were building higher in Chicago.

This Bears defense that earned its place among the league's elite took a step back, with two bad breakdowns in the secondary leading to Giants touchdowns. They let star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hit fellow receiver Russell Shepard for a 49-yard bomb, with Shepard completely alone as he waited for the football to land. Beckham then was left unmarked on a fourth-and-goal from one yard out, a mistake that simply can't happen.

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Giants running back Saquon Barkley became the second rusher to surpass the century mark in yardage against the Bears this season, carrying 24 times for 125 yards on the day. His biggest break through the Bears defense came on a third-and-23 late in the second quarter, running 22 yards and setting up New York for an Aldrick Rosas field goal and three points that hurt Chicago in the end.

The disappointment within the defense was clear after the loss.

"It hurts and you never like to lose," defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. "Shoot, half these guys in this room don't even like to lose at checkers. But we know who we are, we know what level we can play at, and we're going to come out next Sunday and do what we do."

Added linebacker Danny Trevathan: "We can work even harder next week. Tough game, but I believe we're going to bounce back. This team is headed in the right direction."

Ten days after backup quarterback Chase Daniel paced the Bears to victory -- and it seemed like Nagy's system could set him up for success -- he struggled in a losing effort. Daniel was 26-of-39 for 285 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and he was often sloppy with the football and slow with his reads. 

With the game on the line in overtime, Daniel fumbled three times and took a costly sack, failing to lead the Bears downfield for a tying field goal or winning touchdown. They now can look toward next Sunday and the potential return of starter Mitchell Trubisky from a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, the offense delivered a highlight as Akiem Hicks scored on a one-yard touchdown that was Nagy's nod to William "The Refrigerator" Perry on a play called "Freezer Left."

However, Nagy seemed to abandon the running game with Jordan Howard, who rushed for 13 times for 68 yards in the first half and just three times for eight yards in the second half.

"We need to play better," Nagy said. "We need to coach better. That's going to be the number one objective for next week."

The Bears did overcome a 24-14 deficit in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, with kicker Cody Parkey hitting a 21-yard field goal and then following it with an onsides kick that Chicago recovered. On the final play of regulation, Nagy dialed up a variation of the play best known as "Philly Special," with running back Tarik Cohen finding receiver Anthony Miller on a short pass as the clock hit zeroes.

Trevathan took notice as his Bears teammates didn't blink. Hicks could see that Cohen was exhausted but prepared to keep playing as long as he could. Nagy appreciated it all, despite what the scoreboard said in the end.

There's a lot to improve after an unfortunate day in the Meadowlands, but the Bears embrace the opportunity to grow from this loss. After all, they're still in first place in the NFC North, with every goal still there to be achieved.

"I absolutely love this team," Nagy said. "I love where we're at. This is life, man. How are you going to rebound back from it? Are you going to sulk or are you going to pick it back up, go practice, go play and learn? That's what we're going to do."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​