Ellis: Bears' ugly loss to Browns was predictable, and that's the bigger problem


(670 The Score) There's something to be said, I think, about Bears coach Matt Nagy’s demeanor Sunday. In the aftermath of one of the more embarrassing regular-season losses of his tenure in Chicago, Nagy took a noticeably more introspective tone in his postgame presser. And though he’s always been receptive to most questions, there are more than a few times in the past when his postgame jargon didn’t help the not-totally-unfair reputation he has as a coach who says a lot without actually saying very much at all. After the Bears’ 26-6 road loss the the Browns, however, Nagy – whose offense allowed nine sacks and had one net passing yard – didn’t leave much room for debate.

“I obviously as a head coach did not do a good enough job getting this offense ready to go and be able to play and win a football game” Nagy said. “It starts with me, it ends with me. It’s as simple as that.”

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Nagy will never live down the “I’m not an idiot” quote, but he’s not wrong – the Bears' loss Sunday was as simple as that. And that's the thing: Bears losses, for the most part, have been as simple as that for a while now. Sometimes it’s Chicago producing six points in a loss to Cleveland, other times it’s three points in a loss to Green Bay. It’s been four years under Nagy's watch, and all you can really say about his offense is that it makes everyone start falsely.

“There’s a theme there,” Nagy said. “And that starts with me. I’m obviously not doing a good enough job making sure that those guys are prepared in those situations … We weren’t able to get in a rhythm.”

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And because we’re on the subject of simplicity, I’ll take this opportunity to point out how much deeper the Bears’ issues go than Nagy’s disinterest in moving the pocket Sunday. On the same day that the fourth-cheapest offensive line in football allowed nine sacks, the 10th-most expensive tight end room had one catch on five targets. The only wide receiver who’s guaranteed to be on the roster next season is Darnell Mooney, who has 12 catches for 101 yards through three games. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields was a gift from the football heavens -- and also the Denver Broncos -- but it can go south fast when games like Sunday happen too often.

The Bears offense will be better over the next month, mostly because it’s almost impossible not to be. And getting the Lions next certainly doesn’t hurt. But the Bears will get the Lions with the same offensive line that Sunday allowed the most sacks in a single game since 2015. They’ll start tight ends Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet but then ignore them until one gets mad on Twitter. (I’m only kidding, I know that’d never happen.) They’ll play Fields until Andy Dalton is healthy, Dalton until he’s bad and all the while keep in place a scheme that supposedly takes three or four years of stable growth to master. They are, as some say, who we thought they were.

More of Fields and more of the NFC North might say otherwise, but a team that only scores six points on a Cleveland defense that ranked 25th in DVOA clearly isn’t playing under the lights on Nickelodeon this January – it’s hard to look at the Bears' schedule and find the requisite eight wins needed to have those contracts take care of themselves. The ceiling of this Bears team, as currently constructed and coached, continues to be clear as day. Sometimes it really is as simple as that.

Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.