The Monday morning quarterbacks came out to play again this week.
Of course, Matt LaFleur and the Green Bay Packers haven’t needed a whole lot of second-guessing at the water coolers yet this year.
But for their NFC North Division rivals to the south, every week seems to bring more questions about Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
Once again, it was a kicker that let him down Sunday, with Eddie Pineiro missing a 41-yarder as time expired to lose to the Chargers.
More of the heat seemed to be placed on Nagy than anyone else this time, though. And that’s because with 43 seconds left, he had quarterback Mitch Trubisky take a knee on first down at the Chargers’ 22-yard line to set up Pineiro’s kick. That’s a whole lot of time to try and gain a couple extra yards, which might have been the difference in Pineiro missing his kick and making it.
Too much playing it safe in the Windy City.
Out west, in Denver, it was the same thing, but the Broncos didn’t need to wait for the Monday morning quarterbacks there.
Their own starter, Joe Flacco, came right out and said it felt like his coaching staff was playing not to lose instead of playing to win.
Coincidentally, the Broncos named Brandon Allen their starting QB on Monday and said Flacco is hurt.
On Monday, Nagy told reporters he’d take the first-down knee 1,000 times out of 1,000.
No word yet on if Flacco would make his opinion known 1,000 times out of 1,000.
One area coach that won’t be accused of playing not to lose is Milton’s Rodney Wedig.
Up by two touchdowns Friday against La Crosse Central, Wedig got creative to keep the gas pedal down against the Red Raiders.
Milton had just scored to go up by 14 points, and Wedig had a handful of players check in from the sidelines for the point after attempt. Just the field goal unit coming on, right?
With kicker Luke Hessenauer perfect on PATs on the night, that’s probably what the Red Raiders were thinking, along with everyone else at Carl F. Anderson Field.
Instead, senior defensive back Jordan Stivarius lined up in a wildcat formation, took the snap and plunged straight ahead for two points.
When La Crosse Central scored with just seconds remaining in the third quarter, it was left to then go for two to try and get back within one possession (eight points). It failed to convert, and Milton remained up 10.
Central scored again midway through the fourth but could do nothing but kick the extra point and get within three. Milton took possession and never gave the ball back, running out the clock on the way to the second round.
“I said, hey, if we go up 16, then they’ve got to get two scores and go 2-for-2 with the two points,” Wedig said. “We talked, and we thought if we just run those guys in, they’re going to think we’re kicking, and maybe we can catch them off guard.”
A two-point conversion to go up 16 points mostly just felt kind of fun at the time. But it proved to be a huge play in the grand scheme of things.
When your team loses 38-7, it’s hard to even think it’s worth your time to start second-guessing.
So as far as the Badgers go, I’ll just throw this out there, and perhaps you can all call me out a month from now.
But I still think Wisconsin goes 4-0 the rest of the way.
Whether that’s good enough to get into the Big Ten title game, we’d have to wait and see. That said, I’m not exactly desperate to see this version of Bucky take on this year’s Buckeyes again anytime soon.