Missed Opportunities All to Familiar Under John Fox
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Packers, the Chicago Bears had all the momentum they could possibly have.
They were playing the Packers without a quarterback named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers for the first time 26 years, their opponent had just been embarrassed the previous Monday night in front of a national audience, and they had two weeks to prepare for their game.
The Bears, however, lost 23-16 in what was a disappointment in every facet of the game. Many blame head coach John Fox for the loss and rightfully as the Bears have lost too many games like this under him.
When John Fox took over the Bears in 2015, many predicted the Bears to be the worst team in the NFL due to the lack of talent on their roster and for the massive overhaul in personnel from the previous regime. After losing their first three games, the team responded by winning five of their next eight games with their two losses being by a combined eight points.
Fox’s signature win was a 17-13 Thanksgiving Night upset against the Green Bay Packers. The win was special because just a year before the Bears had suffered was most believed to be their worse loss ever to the Packers 55-17 which sealed Marc Trestman’s fate as Bears head coach.
The Bears record stood at 5-6 with 10 days to prepare for a home game against the San Francisco 49ers who had just three wins on the season and were starting their backup quarterback. With a win the Bears would get back to .500 on the season and create some serious playoff buzz.
The team however failed to capitalize on their opportunity as they fell in overtime 26-20 after giving up a heart breaking game tying touchdown, followed by a missed field goal to win the game in regulation. In the game, the Bears failed to dominate the weaker opponent as they never led by more than seven points and failed to create any turnovers on defense against an inept offense led by Blaine Gabbert.
The Bears would proceed to lose their next two games eliminating them from playoff contention and finished the season with just six wins.
Although the team did not make the playoffs, many considered the 2015 season to be a success and that the 2016 season would be even better for the Bears. The team lost games they were favored in against the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars. The worst loss of the season though came after the team’s bye week following an upset the week prior to against the Vikings.
Many players believed that after the bye week, the team was prepared to go on a winning streak.
Heading the matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who had been blown out the week before by the Falcons, many predicted the Bears to win big. The opposite occurred as the Bears lost 34-10 the Buccaneers as the offense turned the ball over four times leading 14 points. The defense allowed close to 4oo yards of total offense as well. The lost extremely disappointing as the Bears lack energy coming out of the bye and played sloppy football as well.
The loss to the Green Bay on Sunday was eerily familiar to the way the team played the previous two seasons when all the momentum seemed to be in their favor. Had the Bears won, they had a chance to getting back to .500 with a win against the Lions next week and had a serious chance of making a playoff run with their remaining schedule.
Throughout Sunday’s game, the Bears looked very unprepared as they had nine penalties and never once led. The Bears defense that performed extremely well all year gave up 23 points to a team starting their backup quarterback and played the majority of the game with their third string running back.
As the 2015 Thanksgiving win was seen as Fox´s signature win as Bears head coach, Sunday´s loss might be his signature loss and may lead to his firing at the end of the season.
Fox has been able to bring stability to the Bears to where they compete and have a chance to win every Sunday, but when the team loses more games that they should win, coaching is questioned immediately. The team was given a golden opportunity of a victory against the Packers at home, but as in years past, allowed it to slip right through their hands.