Bears running back Tarik Cohen

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Bernstein: Bears Can't Overcome Themselves

The Bears didn't deserve to win on a day they fell in overtime to the Giants.

Dan Bernstein
December 02, 2018 - 4:28 pm
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(670 The Score) There would be no first-night-of-Hanukkah miracle for the Bears as the sun began to set in New Jersey, even with a guy named Cohen doing everything he could to keep their fires lit.

Twelve catches for 156 yards, eight rushes for 30 more and a not-to-be-believed touchdown pass to tie the game on the last play of regulation, alas, wasn't enough for Tarik Cohen or his team to hold off the Giants in a 30-27 overtime loss at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was damp and it was ultimately pretty ugly, but it got the heart rate up for a while.

Bears coach Matt Nagy's decision to run a "Philly special" bit of trickery at the end of regulation will mitigate some of the criticism coming his way for his strange decision to take a timeout with 17 seconds left in the first half, allowing Saquon Barkley to unexpectedly rumble the Giants into range for the 57-yard field goal that could be seen after the fact as a turning point of some kind. But Nagy didn't make Chase Daniel struggle to protect the football all afternoon, with the backup quarterback throwing two early interceptions and several more wobbly and off-target passes that could have been, then botching two shotgun snaps and having a ball knocked from his hand on just the doomed final drive alone.

Nor did Nagy cause the Bears' vaunted defense to struggle to get off the field in the second half, allowing whatever it is that;s left of Eli Manning to make successful third-down completions that drained the clock. That it was obviated by the recovery of an onside kick and the ensuing score shouldn't exempt those problems from fair scrutiny. 

Haugh: Bears' loss more frustrating than devastating 

We will also weigh Nagy's call to kick the extra point and take it to overtime on the road instead of doing what Panthers coach Ron Rivera did recently and just running one play for the win. It's easy to argue after the fact, of course, but my feeling at the time was that trusting his defense was still the right call.

The Bears never really deserved to win this, no matter how good it felt after celebrating an Akiem Hicks touchdown dive that put them ahead in the second quarter. It had been a palpable shift in tone after a brutal sequence to open the game that consisted of Taquan Mizzell muffing the kickoff return, Jordan Howard stopped for a loss in the backfield and Daniel throwing a pick-six to Alec Ogletree. It ended up being portentous enough in the end, a clear message that this wasn't the Bears' day in an otherwise charmed season.

Soggy and bad is no fun, and the Bears' performance in the wetlands ended up right there with a gym bag left in the trunk, a big bowl of beet borscht and having to wear a bathing suit way longer than you intended. This was one on the remaining schedule that was penciled in as a win, and it ended up smeared to the other side of the ledger. The insanity at the end just turned the Bears' pain a bit more acute, in how it tantalized them with the possibility of stealing one and getting out of town at 9-3 instead of 8-4.

Instead of another festive celebration, the Bears now come back home to confront this truth -- the best present they can get this week is finding out their starting quarterback is ready to return.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.