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Bears

Arkush: Bears take step back in loss to Packers after bye week

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox argues a call with line judge Bart Longson (2) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago Bears head coach John Fox argues a call with line judge Bart Longson (2) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO – Obviously John Fox and the Bears had a bad day Sunday.

As you might expect after studying the film of the game, things didn’t get any better on Monday.

In his day-after gathering with the media, Fox was asked whether – after looking at the film – he might have handled what turned out to be Benny Cunningham’s fumble at the goal line any differently.

“It’s a good question, a fair question. Unfortunately, I can’t really respond exactly how I would like to.

“Obviously in those situations, hindsight is 20/20. I probably would not challenge that if I were given the opportunity again. And we’ll leave it at that.”

Asked if he couldn’t answer because he would be fined, Fox said, “You’re really not allowed to respond,” which taken literally, does not mean yes.

I don’t think fear of fines or repercussions from the league had anything to do with what Fox was talking about.

Pushed once more whether he talked to his assistants after the game about what they saw on the play, Fox said, “They saw it pretty much how I thought I saw it. We’ll leave it at that.

“In hindsight, I would not have challenged it because it took points – however many points we don’t know –ábut in my opinion it hurt our cause.”

I think Fox was actually saying, “I screwed up because the guy on my staff responsible for studying the replays and talking to me screwed up, but I’m not going to throw him under the bus.”

I thought our visit today was as close as Fox has come to acknowledging that he’s got some problems on his coaching staff without calling anybody out.

With the Bears’ obvious lack of firepower on offense, Fox was asked why Tarik Cohen, who has been called the team’s best playmaker, was in the game on only 13 snaps Sunday.

“I think getting him on the field, you know, I think our guys do. I think he’s still one of our leading receivers, you know, on the season.

“You know we went through a stretch there where maybe we didn’t throw it as much as some people. But he’s involved, you know, quite a bit, you know I think defenses are doing more to take him away.”

Since that’s obviously not an answer to the question, the follow-up was, “but would you like to see him out there more than a quarter of the snaps?”

“Yeah, I think the key is that we move the ball, and it’s been a struggle,” Fox said. “I think but I don’t know that that’s the reason.”

John Fox doesn’t like giving real answers but he rarely speaks gibberish.

My take is he’s not very happy that Cohen only got 13 snaps either.

However, my favorite answer of the day was when Fox was asked if Pernell McPhee was supposed to have help on a stunt when he chose to give up contain and take an inside rush on third-and-2 at the Bears 37 with 7:12 to play in the game, allowing Brett Hundley to scramble around him for 17 yards, setting up the touchdown pass to Davante Adams two plays later that put the game away.

“It was just a decision he made to go inside. We weren’t covered on that. We did a similar thing later on the touchdown throw to [Adams] on the left side on that same drive.

“Even at that point, the game’s 16-13; we need to get a stop. And we didn’t.

“In this league you have to overcome a lot of different things – sometimes official calls, coaches’ decisions, those things happen in football games.”

The Bears took a big step back Sunday because they had coaches’ mistakes, mental mistakes by players, a lack of focus and injuries they couldn’t overcome.

Apparently the bye week isn’t great for everybody.

Now the question is what’s Fox going to do about it and how much time does he have left to get it done?

• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at harkush@profootballweekly.com, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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