If the Chicago Bears want to succeed in the near future, they must consider moving on from head coach Matt Nagy.
On Sunday morning, NFL fans were treated in the form of a news dump. There were various reports regarding the statuses of head coaches on the hot seat, one of whom was Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport revealed early Sunday that the Bears planned to retain Nagy for the 2021 season. However, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that Bears ownership has yet to make a decision on the statuses of Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.
The Bears, who were looking to make the playoffs, could’ve made their process that much easier with a win over the rival Green Bay Packers in Week 17. However, the Bears ended up losing 35-16, helping the Packers clinch the top seed in the playoffs, But the positive is that the Bears will also make the playoffs, thanks to the Los Angeles Rams’ win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Nagy did himself no favors in proving that he’s the guy to lead the Bears to their first Super Bowl victory since 1985. Here are three things Nagy did in Week 17 that proves the Bears need to move on from him.
That fourth-and-one play call in the fourth quarter
We’ll give Nagy credit, he was aggressive on fourth downs in this contest, but his fifth attempt should’ve never happened. The Bears were located on Green Bay’s 25-yard line down 21-16 facing a fourth-and-one situation. Considering this drive lasted 14 plays, you’d expect Nagy to go for some points. Let’s face it, the Bears were facing a short field goal that would’ve pulled them within two points.
Instead, Nagy chose to go for it. Nagy’s play call was a short pass from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to wide receiver Allen Robinson on a rollout, which was knocked away by Packers cornerback Chandon Sullivan. A 15-play drive, all for naught. That decision came back to haunt Nagy, as the Packers responded with a touchdown run by Aaron Jones on the ensuing drive, extending Chicago’s deficit to 28-16 with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
Going for the field goal on Green Bay’s two yard line
This section might be a bit of a contradiction from the fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter, but Nagy needs to get a better feel of the situation.
In the third quarter, the Bears were down 21-13, but the offense marched down the field. One of the plays that set them up deep in the red zone is Trubisky’s 53-yard pass to receiver Darnell Mooney. On third and goal, the Bears got to Green Bay’s own two-yard line on a five-yard pass from Trubisky to running back David Montgomery.
This was the perfect opportunity for Nagy to go for it. This would’ve potentially tied the game, barring a two-point conversion attempt. Instead, Nagy sent out Cairo Santo to kick a 20-yard field goal. The momentum was there, and Nagy squandered it.
Nagy obviously took play calls back from Bill Lazor
Following the Bears’ six-game losing streak this season, Nagy announced that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor woulds assume offensive play calling duties. That strategy paid dividends for the Bears, as they put up 36 points against the Houston Texans, 33 points against the Minnesota Vikings and 41 points against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
You need no further evidence that Nagy took play calling duties away from Lazor than by looking back at this game. The Bears were basically playing to keep it close. He was conservative in situations that deserved a gutsy play call and risky when needing to go for a field goal.
Now, the Bears have to face the second-seeded New Orleans Saints in the Wild-Card Round. If the Bears want to stand any chance against Sean Payton’s crew, Nagy needs to go back to Lazor calling plays.