10 ideas after the Chicago Bears posted a win in opposition to a Tom Brady-led staff for the primary time, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-19 Thursday night time at Soldier Area.
It’s not an ideal method, and a few coaches will let you know the magic quantity is 17 or underneath 17, however in these high-scoring instances for the NFL, something 19 or underneath is a reasonably good goal.
The Bears hit the restrict, received a clutch 37-yard field goal from Cairo Santos with 1 minute, 13 seconds remaining, after which reserve defensive again DeAndre Houston-Carson received excellent place in opposition to Buccaneers tight finish Cameron Brate to interrupt up a fourth-down throw after which Tom Brady appeared to be confused about what down it was.
Regardless of the rationalization was for Tampa Bay, the 20-19 win propelled the Bears to 4-1, gave them a victory over a reputable opponent and gives a lift heading right into a mini-bye week of types as gamers have an extended weekend and coaches will go to work fine-tuning issues.
For a few half-second, who was Santos’ game-winning kick larger for? The veteran kicker who has modified groups 5 instances since struggling a critical groin harm in Week three of the 2017 season with the Chiefs? Or Matt Nagy, who has been scarred by missed kicks in lower than 2 ½ seasons as Bears head coach?
It’s an enormous kick for each, however clearly it means extra for the 28-year-old Santos, who might have confronted the prospect of unemployment had he not delivered with the sport on the road. Extra on how Santos has made his approach again from the kicking coach that aided him in a bit bit. There wasn’t going to be a referendum on Nagy’s job had the kick missed, not for a coach who isn’t even midway by his five-year contract with the group and entered the sport with a 23-13 report.
Watching the collection unfold, it was clear the Cody Parkey’s double-doink from 43 yards within the 2018 playoffs and Eddy Pineiro’s 41-yard miss on the ultimate play of a 17-16 loss to the Chargers in Week eight final season are nonetheless recent wounds for Nagy. Are you able to blame him?
Keep in mind, the Bears had first down on the Chargers’ 21-yard line with 43 seconds remaining in that sport when Los Angeles used its remaining timeout. As a substitute of making an attempt to get even a bit nearer for Pineiro, Nagy had Mitch Trubisky take a knee and the clock wound down to 3 seconds earlier than the Bears known as timeout. Pineiro got here in and his kick sailed left, and the Bears misplaced one other sport by which their protection held the opponent underneath 20 factors.
So, when Nick Foles floated a go to the left sideline after making a pre-snap verify on the line of scrimmage and working again David Montgomery ran underneath the go and truly needed to flip and await the ball — securing it for a 17-yard acquire — the Bears have been in vary on the Buccaneers’ 25-yard line with 1:36 remaining. Buccaneers exterior linebacker Shaquil Barrett was going to hurry on the play, however he was the defender accountable if Montgomery launched. Foles sensed that, knew it was a mismatch, and executed.
After a 1-yard run by Montgomery on the following play, Bucs coach Bruce Arians used his second timeout. That’s when Nagy went to the air. Allen Robinson tried a double transfer alongside the sideline and Foles tried a fade route that was incomplete, stopping the clock at 1:22. On third down, Foles dropped again once more and this time he linked with Robinson on a brief crossing route for a 4-yard acquire. The Bucs used their remaining timeout and that introduced Santos on.
The danger there was clear. If it’s an incomplete go, Tom Brady would have a timeout to work with, solely needing a subject aim to win the sport. A sack would have pushed Santos again, however the odds of that have been low as Foles was searching for Robinson on a brief route.
What’s evident is Nagy needed a shot at one thing shorter than the 42 yards the kick would have been had the Bears not gained one other yard.
“We needed to remain aggressive there on the finish,” Nagy mentioned. “We have been going backwards and forwards. There’s a state of affairs the place we get right into a mode the place in case you break a deal with on a slant route or a handoff, no matter, the place they’re out of timeouts and you’ll kick the sphere aim and win and that’s all the time a tricky state of affairs to be in.
“However we have been making an attempt to remain aggressive there simply to get some extra yards to make that subject aim after which, yeah, he did it. For him to make a 46-yard subject aim, which was massive, after which that 38-yard subject aim, game-winner, I believe that simply speaks to him as an individual.”
Rewind virtually 12 months to that Chargers sport and Nagy was adamant he had no different choices apart from taking a knee to grind the entire time without work the clock.
“Yeah, I’m not even going to get into that,” Nagy mentioned following the sport in 2018. “I’ve zero considered working the ball and taking the possibility of fumbling the soccer. They know you’re working the soccer, so that you lose three, 4 yards, in order that wasn’t even in our course of as coaches to consider that.
“I’ll simply be brutally clear: Zero considered throwing the soccer, zero considered working the soccer. You perceive me? That’s precisely what it was. It’s so simple as that.”
Requested about it once more the day after the sport, he doubled down.
“I’d do it once more a thousand instances,” he mentioned.
Given the possibility to do it over in 2020, with the kick as soon as once more towards the North finish zone, Nagy took a special route and put the ball — and religion — in Foles’ arms and picked up 4 yards whereas risking a unfavourable play or the possibility, once more, that the Buccaneers would have one timeout left on a remaining drive.