- From the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, a discussion of the rocky starts and big finishes from the quarterbacks in the Bears-Eagles wild-card game.
On the Monday Morning NFL Podcast, Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling analyzed the QB duds turned QB duel between Foles and Trubisky on Sunday…
GARY: The Eagles deserved to win this game. They played well on the road, they earned this win, but this is too heartbreaking. This is too much for a season to end like this. I can’t handle when there is someone who is so clearly the goat of the game. Cody Parkey, the boos that were raining down on this guy who looks like he’s about 12 years old as he jogs off the field at the end of the season. I know he has a job and he should do it better instead of hitting the upright, but… I gotta send him a Vermont Teddy Bear or something.
ANDY: He still pointed to the sky afterwards. I admire that he does that. I assume he does that on makes or misses, Matt Stover used to do that. You have to admire the integrity behind that. That’s really tough though. I like the special teams to reflect the way the game played out. In this case, I don’t think either team dominated. I think the game was as close as the score suggested. Both teams played well within the context of their identities. The Bears totally shut down the run. Their defense gave Nick Foles some trouble early on, some bad reads on those interceptions. Then Foles made some great throws on those designer route combinations, especially in the red zone—which the Eagles are tremendous at—and got the better of the Bears down there. These are the things both teams have done to get to this place. I guess all things equal, I’d rather see the 12-win team advance than the nine-win team, I want the regular season to mean something, but this was a well-played game within the context of both teams’ identities and that’s important to me.
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GARY: Let’s start with the Eagles. Foles was shaky in the first half of this game. The interception to Roquan Smith was bad ball placement, and a great play by Roquan Smith. The second interception, the play he extended outside the pocket, I don’t know what the outcome of that play was supposed to be. A jump ball to Nelson Agholor in the back of the end zone, that’s a low percentage play anyway. I know his arm got scraped a little bit and that’s why his throw came up so short. That was a bad play.
ANDY: My guess is he didn’t read the split safety to single high rotation, which is what Amos did, which is why he’s already drifting in that direction reading Foles. That was a bad QB play, but those mistakes were really about it for Foles. He made some big-time, let’s call them critical throws—Trubisky actually made some big-time throws too—Foles made some critical, intermediate throws, especially down the stretch on that game-winning drive. It was a very impressive performance, again, within the context of how Philadelphia plays. They’re not a speed offense. They don’t have a lot to beat you downfield, they’re more of a power passing offense, a ball-control offense that wins with size and intermediate route designs. It took them a while to get going, to get really going, but that’s ultimately what they did against the Bears.
GARY: Let’s talk about the Bears offensively. I have been very critical of Mitchell Trubisky, and I do not take back any of those criticisms during the season because I thought he was a very shaky quarterback during the regular season. I thought he was shaky for about 60% of this game. The throw he made to Allen Robinson that beat that Cover-2, the play that really set up the field goal try, that was goosebumps. That was just a monster throw that they had to have, and he made it.
ANDY: He had a couple of balls down the seams that also worked. Down the seams is where you beat Cover 3, which is what Philly plays, and then that throw outside, if you’ve got the arm and the courage, you can beat Cover-2 like that over the top of Avonte Maddox. But let’s remember, if Avonte Maddox catches that early interception that he bobbled and then didn’t catch along the sideline where he jumped the slant route (which ended up being a harbinger for a big part of the second half, the Bears beat them on double moves on some of those slant route jumps), it’s a different game and we’re viewing Trubisky very differently. He had another one—
GARY: Tre Sullivan in the end zone.
ANDY: Correct and that one was worse. Trubisky got away with it, Foles didn’t early on, and the narrative very well could have been tilted in that other direction, but it’s a 60-minute game. Overall, it’s a successful season for the Bears though, right? They’re going in the right direction, they got their young QB, they got the coach. There’s a lot to feel good about with Chicago and that’s good news for them, because they basically mortgaged this upcoming offseason for this season to get Khalil Mack, those other draft moves that they made. GM Ryan Pace, he went all-in now, or least went all-built now. It’s not a one-or-done type of approach. I’m happy if I’m a Bears fan big-picture, even if I’m totally heartbroken Monday morning.
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