CHICAGO – If you’re a Bears’ fan and close your eyes, and imagine the dream for your team, you could’ve opened them on Sunday and seen it come true.
A quarterback was leading the offense with effective creativity and bold moxie that lead to immediate and abundant success. Plays were called that were varied and productive, making for yard-churning drives for scores. On the other side of the ball, their defense was causing fits for the opposition in allowing just a single field goal over 60 minutes.
It’s everything that Bears’ fans had dreamed of their team for a much-anticipated 2019 season. Too bad they saw the Chiefs doing it when they opened their eyes, as dreams and nightmares were face-to-face on Sunday night at Soldier Field.
It was Patrick Mahomes, a first round draft pick in 2017, that was fluid and free in a scheme that was effective against a solid but shorthanded Bears’ defense. They had touchdown drives of 82, 95, and 71 yards, didn’t turn the ball over and made plays when needed.
Meanwhile, Kansas City’s improved defense kept their opponent’s offense sputtering in holding them to just three points on the evening.
Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be the Bears in 2019? Well, it’s not.
It was Matt Nagy’s team, which looked sluggish all night in a step backwards from improvement over the last month, that was out of the game by the time the fourth quarter hit. The dream performance on the other side made for a nightmare for Bears’ fans who mostly fled Soldier Field long before the game ended.
“I think it just comes down to all of us with the details and just understanding that on each and every play, we all need to be extremely detailed,” said Nagy when asked about the near-empty stadium at the end of the game. “We all need to understand where we’re at and how important it is. That’s where it led us to that point, to that score, and that’s why it was empty.”
Just like the dreams of all Bears’ fans in 2019, and while this wasn’t the last Bears’ game of the season, it would have been a fitting ending. From playcalling to the execution, from Nagy to Mitchell Trubisky, the system never got going, with the group netting three points in their first home game and the same amount in their last one.
The Bears’ offense, like a majority of the season, was a mess, and they weren’t afraid to admit it.
“I just feel like we let each other down, we let the fans down. That’s not how we want to finish our last home game at Soldier Field,” said Trubisky when asked if he felt embarrassed by the effort, as many of his teammates said in the locker room. “We just left a lot of plays out there and a lot of uncharacteristic things that you’re embarrassed of. We’ve just got to watch the film, come back better and learn from it, and dig deeper.
“We’ve just got to want more for ourselves and more for each other.”
One man feeling that way is Ryan Pace, whom NBC cameras caught in the press box on Sunday watching the action below. The trade to acquire Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft is arguably his most bold with the franchise and certainly the most controversial, and right now it’s not working out very well.
Mahomes looks like one of the faces of the game, while Trubisky looks like another in a crowd of quarterbacks to come through Chicago and not get it done for the Bears. It’s a career-altering move for Pace, and one that looks like a potentially era-costing miss for the general manager.
Maybe Mitch will turn things around and games like Sunday night will look different in the future, but the nightmare is all the Bears have right now. The stuff of dreams was dressed in red and white just before Christmas in 2019 at Soldier Field.