I like John Fox, mostly because of the talent he brings to the coaching table. As far as his gameday execution? Not so much. In Sunday’s game vs the 0-5 Lions, he was bad as bad can be.
Everyone has a bad game now and then, even coaches. This is not Fox’s first rodeo though. He doesn’t get the benefit of a long honeymoon period. In fact, in my eyes, it’s over. It ended officially when he chose to play overtime like it was the first quarter in a ballgame and not sudden death. Especially after Detroit failed to score on their opening possession. At that point, it became “next score wins”. AKA: time to open up the offense.
At the end of regulation, Jay Cutler deftly brought the Bears 70 yards to get into field goal range. This was probably one of Jay’s top 5 performances as a Bears QB. It would have been nice to put similar pressure on the Lions in overtime. Instead, we got a triple dose of “playing not to lose”. Coach Fox: Your team is 2-3. Go for the win buddy. Cutler is a veteran QB (OK, he does make his share of mistakes–but still) you just trusted him to go down the field to tie the game. In sudden death, shouldn’t the same rules apply? A fumbled snap–even on a running play, could end your game.
I had no problem with how he managed the end of regulation. Plenty people did. The Bears were actually set up nicely until the refs decided Pernell Mcfee’s “grazing” the leg of Matthew Stafford was a personal foul. On the previous play, they had ruled Stafford intentionally grounded the ball, throwing it away to avoid a sack. Which was a loss of down and a 10 second run off. Critics question why the coach didn’t try conserving time. At that point, I’m not sure I would have. The Lions were running out of time and downs. The personal foul gave them a fresh set of downs, which you couldn’t have predicted.
As Herman Edwards passionately stated years ago, “You play to win the game”. Curling up into a little ball because you are so afraid your team is going to make a mistake is not what anyone wants. It’s not what the fans want, and I can’t believe the players are on board with it. This ain’t Denver and it certainly isn’t North Carolina. The Bears defense was more porous than Swiss Cheese for much of the day, and they just got Detroit to to punt the ball. Fox should have been counting his blessings, instead he played it safe. It came back to bite the Bears in their behind. They were one Calvin Johnson bomb away from breaking their 5 game losing streak. On Sunday the Bears lost to a winless team, who tried hard to give the game away. John Fox lost his honeymoon period.