Rozner: Bears' victory not exactly inspiring
Getting firmly into the holiday spirit, it's all about hopes and wishes for Matt Nagy these days.
Every time Mitch Trubisky drops back, the Bears head coach hopes Trubisky doesn't throw it to the wrong-colored jersey, and he wishes Trubisky would play like an NFL starter.
What else can he do?
Nagy must employ the favorite son and continue to dream of better days, lest his general manager banish him to Canada for benching the franchise icon, mysterious hip injury or not.
While Trubisky did not look even slightly injured Sunday, Nagy himself looks more and more like CFL material every week, his team unprepared and sluggish even in a 19-14 victory over the Giants Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Yes, even in victory the Bears (5-6) looked perfectly awful, and the faithful have given up, thousands of seats empty and quiet on a sunny, 50-degree November day on the Lakefront.
It was so bad that the Bears were booed on the game's opening kickoff when Eddy Pineiro fired one out of bounds.
That's a 2019 record for earliest jeer.
It was so bad that Trubisky was booed on the first series after a third-and-2 when his feet were moving like he was dodging mice and he missed Allen Robinson on a short throw by the length of McCormick Place.
It was so bad that Eddie Jackson, who celebrates every solo tackle like he has personally won the Super Bowl, quit on a 22-yard run by receiver Sterling Shepard and he heard it from the fans. Jackson was also caught daydreaming in the fourth quarter on the final Giants' touchdown -- a fourth-and-14 prayer from the 23 -- that made it a one-score game.
It was so bad that Pat O'Donnell was exposed and the fans found him. Generally hidden by the failure of the rest of the team, bad punters on bad teams are usually invisible given the many other problems, but even O'Donnell was booed Sunday for a net of 33 that would have been much worse if not for some questionable New York decisions.
It was so bad that boos were heard even during the halftime flag football game that featured -- wait for it -- children and mascots.
It was so bad that hanging on for dear life against the 2-9 Giants looked like little more than a bad Bears team defeating a worse New York team.
This one served up the requisite number of Trubisky interceptions (2), a red-zone pick, another almost swiped in the end zone and at least a half-dozen horribly thrown balls.
He also made some very good throws and there were a couple drops, including one by newest Bears star Ben Braunecker that should have been a touchdown, but that doesn't excuse all the bad QB play.
Still, those mistakes gave Nagy a chance to absolve his superstar QB.
"I really want to give him credit for running the show and being able to run the offense," Nagy said of his third-year starter at QB. "We have different personnel that come in and out."
That sounds like something an NFL quarterback should be able to handle.
"It's not easy, so we want to try to help him out as much as we can," Nagy said. "Probably a lot of that stuff y'all don't see, but he did a really good job with that."
Well, there were timeouts wasted coming out of the huddle when no one seemed to know where to go, and another burned after confusion which might have cost the Bears a touchdown at the end of first half.
Players were running on and back off the field, Tarik Cohen had no idea where he was supposed to be and Trubisky couldn't get him settled even though he had the head coach in his ear feeding him the play.
"Enough is enough," Trubisky said. "The sloppiness, the mistakes, everything has to stop."
And there's the reminder that the Bears have scored a single offensive touchdown in the first half of their last 7 games, a mix of Nagy scripting, awful play and the inability to adjust until halftime, when the Bears have come out the last 5 games moving the offense immediately.
"We gotta get better as an offense," Trubisky said. "We got too much talent. We're wasting it. We're hurting ourselves."
Maybe the most Bears sequence of the year was a timeout in the third quarter after a touchdown, just before a 2-point try. The pass to Taylor Gabriel worked, but was called back on a Robinson interference.
That was followed by an illegal substitution penalty before the Bears could kick the extra point, and then -- of course -- Pineiro missed the boot after they walked back 5 yards.
And Nagy was Nagy, handing off to his running backs 19 times while his quarterback dropped back 45 times, including early in the fourth with the Bears up 19-7. Trubisky threw it deep down the field and underthrew his target by about 10 yards, intercepted for the second time.
Go ahead and shake your head. You're entitled.
Facing the 27th-ranked defense and the 24th-ranked offense, the Bears managed to secure this one, and Thursday they get the 3-7-1 Lions in Detroit with a chance to get back to .500.
This is where you give thanks that the game is early in the day -- and you get the rest of the weekend to take a break from Bears football.