4:25 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1/2: (CHI ball, trailing 14-0 / fourth-and-goal ARI 2 / 1:57 Q2)
• With the Bears down two scores and desperate to get on the board before the half, facing a fourth-and-goal, they call a timeout. The Bears come out and line up as if they are to attempt a fourth-down conversion. The Cardinals spend their first timeout here after seeing the Bears line up. After the timeout, Chicago kicks a field goal. With little time left in the half, it appeared as if Arizona might have the last possession of the half and would need that timeout they burned. However, due to turnovers and short possessions, Arizona would get the ball back twice, reaching the Chicago 34. However, they would not score any points here … or for the remainder of the contest.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (CHI ball, trailing 14-3 / fourth-and-1 ARI 19 / 7:26 Q3)
• The Bears have struggled scoring touchdowns in 2018 (to this point they had only scored three TDs in two-and-a-half games). A field goal attempt from this distance would have been a reasonable 37-yard attempt. Instead, the Bears successfully convert with a one-yard pass to Allen Robinson that keeps the drive alive. The drive results in the first and only touchdown of the day for the Bears.
Key Coaching Decision #4: (Chicago ball, trailing 14-13/ fourth-and-1 ARI 25 / 4:34 Q4)
• Down one score and with two timeouts, the Bears make it appear as if they are going to attempt a fourth-down conversion, as they did at the end of the first half (see above). The Bears call a timeout instead and bring out the field goal unit and kick what would be the go-ahead field goal.
Key Coaching Decision #5: (ARI ball, trailing 16-14 / first-and-10 at ARI 25 / 4:31 Q4)
• After the Bears take the lead, Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks replaces starting QB Sam Bradford in favor of rookie first-round pick Josh Rosen. At the time of the change, the Cardinals were down two and the offense had slowed due to the Bears defense playing well. Rosen leads the Cardinals to the Bears 45 before throwing an interception.
• On the play prior to the interception, the Cardinals had a third-and-2. They ran the ball with rookie Chase Edmonds as the ball carrier; he was stuffed for a three-yard loss. We thought that in a crucial situation like that, you would want to give your rookie quarterback the best personnel available. In other words, the Cardinals should have had David Johnson carrying the ball. In other words, they brought in Rosen but didn’t do him any favors with the play selection. We understand they want to make Edmonds a third-down, pass-catching back, but Johnson is capable of doing both as well.
• The Cardinals took their first lead of the season in the first quarter with two touchdown passes and they had a 14-point lead on the Bears. While this lead was clearly not insurmountable, it seemed that this would be a big hurdle for the Bears offense to clear under young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was struggling to find his receivers and a rhythm early in the game. The Cardinals defense, specifically its blitzes, forced Trubisky into bad throws and turnovers.
• Matt Nagy’s clock management raised eyebrows as he used two Bears timeouts on fourth-and-short and brought out the field goal unit both times.
• The Bears defense adjusted to the Cardinals offense and bailed the offense out with four takeaways in the second half.
• The Bears had a handful of plays that worked. The Cardinals defended the Bears’ quick game well but didn’t have much in response for a shovel pass that the Bears used with wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Trey Burton.
• It is clear that the Bears prefer to have Trubisky operating out of the shotgun formation as opposed to under center.