Plugging obvious leaks against the run not among Nagy's chief worries after loss

The run defense let the Bears down for the second straight week in the second half.

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan wanted to discount the alarming trend facing his team's defense in the wake of Sunday's 30-27 loss to the New York Giants.

Ditto for coach Matt Nagy Monday at Halas Hall.

"Just a little leakage," Trevathan said. "Nothing we can’t fix. Just a little leakage.

"We’ve just got to make the plays when they come our way. We knew what type of offense we were facing, we’ve just got to make our plays. Our defense is way better than the way we were. We know it."

Whether they are better or not, it's two straight games when the opponent effectively ran the ball on them in the Bears in the second half. It's a method for handling the Bears first used by the Miami Dolphins earlier this season in a Bears loss.

With the Rams and NFL rushing leader Todd Gurley coming to Chicago Sunday night, it's a trend the Bears need to erase.

Nagy on Monday wasn't worried it's a trend that will continue.

"No, it’s not a concern," Nagy said . "We have a lot of confidence. Our guys have tons of belief in our system -- I’m talking defensively, too. They have tons of belief in our system."

Saquon Barkley was the first back ranked among the league's top 12 to face the Bears defense and his 125 yards on 24 carries showed the Bears they have work to do to prepare for Gurley. The 125 yards allowed to Barkley was the most the Bears have allowed to any back this season.

"I thought for the most part overall we did a good job shutting down the run, except for a couple big plays," Nagy said. "And those ‘except for a couple big plays’ can get you."

Barkley's 22-yard run changed momentum and helped the Giants get within 14-10 just before halftime.

"Well 26 (Barkley) is a good runner and you know he made some nice moves, he ran all over the field," Nagy said. "I felt like our guys know, our guys are going to go back and watch the tape and say man we could have been better there. We could have made some tackles and at least cut it to a seven or eight year gain, right, not a 22-yard gain."

The Bears had given up 85 yards rushing on 15 attempts to the Lions in the second half on Thanksgiving, as well.

Most Bears problems in the running game have been on the offensive side this season, as they've struggled for consistency.

On Sunday they found some in the first half, but it was fleeting. They finished with 118 yards rushing, the second time in five games they've gone over 100 yards.

Jordan Howard's 68 first-half rushing yards were a good start. But then he had only three second-half carries and Nagy has been taking heat for not giving Howard the ball enough.

"Well, the second half, they had a little plan for him," Nagy said. And so, I would’ve loved to be able to call more runs but they did a pretty good job getting into our backfield and stopping the run.

"And then before you know it, we got behind and in overtime we started off with a run and had a nice little run there for six or seven yards. But it’s hard when it’s second-and-14 after a run call on first-and-10."

The Bears hope to have Mitchell Trubisky back at quarterback for their game with the Rams, but nothing official has come from them about it.

Nagy said after Sunday's loss that Trubisky remains day to day, and he has improved since he started throwing Friday in practice. Trubisky threw before Sunday's game, as well. But Nagy wouldn't commit Monday to Trubisky's return this week after two missed games.

"I can't say that for sure," Nagy said. "I hope he is but I feel like the last several days, as I told you (Sunday) was, he's getting better and he's feeling better.

"And so I think it's only fair for today, tomorrow and the next couple of days to go by that we just keep seeing him throw and see how he feels and then he tells us."


Gene Chamberlain
EditorGene Chamberlain
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