Having an off-night against a top-notch defense is one thing, but the Bears offense displayed something much more troubling in Monday night's 24-10 loss to the Rams.
It was clear relatively early that L.A.'s speed and tenacity on both ends were too much to handle. And, by the time Matt Nagy's squad finally had a moment to catch its collective breath, all it could show for its effort was a first-half field goal at the end of the Bears' best drive and a defensive touchdown when the game was essentially out of reach.
"I have no idea, but I don't ever remember having our own defense scoring more than our offense. That's hard to do, so that part I don't like and that bothers me," Nagy told reporters after saying he's "never been a part of this before."
Anchored largely by the strength of its defense, Chicago entered the prime-time matchup looking to earn its third straight win. It was telling that the offense had been outgained in each of its last three games and failed to reach 275 yards in those games, but this was still a chance for them to regroup and execute on a big stage. That would not come to pass.
As expected, Foles faced heavy pressure from the Rams D, but, even when there were chances to capitalize, the Bears were unable to do so. Chicago punted on three of its next eight drives following that second-quarter FG, and capped its only two red zone opportunities with an interception in the end zone and turnover on downs after a stuffed run, incomplete pass and sack. The others ended after another pick and two more T.O.Ds.
"I'd say just, keeping it real, this is where you test your culture. This is where you test the people you work with, whether it's the coaches or players," Nick Foles said following another pedestrian performance. "Like, who are we going to be? Are we going to be in it together or are we going to go against each other? That's sort of the crossroads. We're very fortunate to be 5-2. Everything's in front of us, season's not over. … We have to continue to look at ourselves in the mirror and ultimately be there for one another and go through this thing like people that care about each other."
Foles finished 28-of-40 for 260 yards, while David Montgomery tallied 48 yards on 14 carries. Foles also took four sacks and eight QB hits, and turned in his sixth-straight game (dating back to 2019) with at least one INT. Chicago was outgained in total yards once again (371-279), and recorded its fourth consecutive game with fewer than 65 rushing yards.
"It's not where I wanna be. You gotta run the ball in this league. You gotta be able to run the ball. We're trying to figure out ways to do it and right now we gotta be better there, it starts with me," Nagy said regarding their stagnant rushing effort this season.
After placing the blame squarely on himself for not doing his part to lead the offense better, Foles said he sees the struggles both on the ground and through the air as necessary growing pains.
"I think the big thing is just finding a rhythm of who we want to be. In this situation, we really got to continue to work, we really got to assess who we want to be and find that identity," he said. "And when we find that identity of what we want to be, that's when we'll take off but that's where we're at right now."
The Bears will have a short week to go back to the drawing board and try to find answers for this inconsistent offense. Chicago's Week 8 opponent, the Saints, will present it with a chance to turn it around against the same type of stiff competition it will have to dispatch if it plans to stay among the NFC's best. New Orleans is absolutely not the team to which any coach wants to present a poor offense.
"It's not clicking right now. As any competitor, and I'm as competitive as a person as there is, that's the part where I have to challenge myself to stay patient ... I have to be able to rely on our other coaches that we have on the staff that I have a lot of belief in. And I'm talking all across the board, but in particular, offensively," Nagy said. "What do we do and how do we get to this point? We're 5-2. We built this little cushion and now it's our job to be able to use it, and not lose it."