Chicago Bears: 3 Takeaways from Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers
No. 3: The Bears must learn to get out of their own way with penalties
There were tons of ways one could finish this off. There’s an interesting potential storyline with the Jimmy Graham / Cole Kmet dynamic, and in how Graham — tied for second in the NFL in red-zone targets going into Sunday — had his thunder stolen. He had just one target in the red zone, while Kmet caught his first career touchdown, a mini welcome party. Or, in how brilliant it was to see the Bears passing game stretch the Panthers’ defense out horizontally.
But, above all else, one can’t take takeaways without discussing how many inexcusable penalties the Bears had on the day.
There was a four-play sequence in the fourth quarter where the Bears had two “too many men on the field” penalties, and defensive offsides. That same drive ended with a 33-yard pass interference call that allowed the Panthers to cut the lead to 20-13.
Perhaps the one that confuses, even more, was the first quarter one, in which the Bears drew a delay of game penalty after a timeout. They eventually finished that series with a touchdown, but these aren’t the types of penalties the Chicago Bears can have if they aspire to be a championship team.
Nagy had a comment on it after the game, via the Chicago Bears’ official YouTube press conference:
"“If those two … that previous timeout and the false start, if that doesn’t happen, we’re really excited about that we came out of that with a touchdown after a takeaway by our defense. Instead, you know, I was, I had to cool down a little bit on the sideline to say the least. After how that went. But, I sat down and I relaxed, and that’s just, that timeout, and a delay of game in that situation when we’re in the red zone … we’re lucky we got that touchdown. I’ll just say that.”"
Nagy said that the delay of game penalty was caused by it being a “little loud.”
Max capacity for the game was 5,240 people. (Editor’s Note: Hmmm?)
There’s at least somewhat of a reason to trust Nagy going forward. This isn’t the type of issue that’s killed them in the past. He’s a coach that has won 25 of a possible 38 games, and that means something. The flaws are there. He showed again that he doesn’t quite trust the rushing attack with the game hanging in the balance, giving us more of a scare than necessary. But at the end of the day, this is a 5-1 team.