MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Sunday’s bitter overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins is a harsh reminder that for all the substantial progress made by the Chicago Bears across the board in the past 10 months, the team is still in transition.
Good teams win the games they are supposed to win.
The Bears managed to pull out a victory against overmatched Arizona in Week 3.
Against Miami three weeks later, the Bears were not as fortunate.
The Bears were favored by nearly a touchdown on the road on for the first time since 2010, and understandably so.
The Dolphins had to start Brock Osweiler at quarterback -- the same Brock Osweiler whose career stalled after he left Denver for Houston in 2016. He has been relegated to a backup role for a reason. And he’s 6-foot-7, making him a big target (we assumed) for the Bears’ formidable pass rush.
The Bears had zero sacks.
The defense forced three turnovers, but it also gave up way too many big plays to Miami’s offense.
The offense turned the ball over twice in the red zone.
Kicker Cody Parkey missed a potential game-winning, 53-yard field goal in overtime.
All three phases played a role in Sunday’s loss.
And new Bears coach Matt Nagy, who has been a breath of fresh air after the stale John Fox era, left himself open to criticism when he opted to run the ball -- instead of taking a more aggressive shot for a first down -- before Parkey’s missed kick.
“When we could do that all day long,” Nagy said when asked about the playcalling. “You go ahead, you throw it, and then you're up here asking me why you took a sack. So, you could go all day long with that kind of stuff.”
Lost in the excitement of the Bears’ 3-1 record to open the season is the reality that Nagy is a first-year head coach. He’s going to make mistakes.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who played much better in Sunday’s second half (minus a bad red zone pick), has played only five games in Nagy’s system. There are some new starters on offense. The Bears are going to lose more games.
The Bears have finished dead last in the NFC North in every season since 2014. The turnaround won’t happen overnight.
The only thing you can say with absolute certainty is that the Bears are no longer boring.
That’s a good place to start.
But put the playoff talk on hold -- for now.