Wasteful Bears Offense Is for Mitchell Trubisky to Own
After the shock of seeing Mitchell Trubisky finally benched, there came a national backlash on his behalf.
Many of these same people who offered up weekly criticism of Trubisky wanted to know how Matt Nagy could possibly bench the quarterback on an unbeaten team.
It has been pointed out in one CBSSports.com article how Mitchell Trubisky is the rare 2-0 quarterback who gets benched.
This isn't quite true, but it's close.
He's actually a 3-0 quarterback because he started the game and played into the third quarter before the reliever came on and finished the victory.
So how exactly does an unbeaten quarterback wind up on the bench?
Bears coach Matt Nagy knows the truth to the fact the Bears have beaten weaker opponents and had to come from way behind to do it twice. He knows they need to be better on offense to do well against tougher opponents.
Better on offense doesn't mean moving the ball and holding it for a while before giving it up. It means scoring points, and not by kicking it.
"We cannot come away with field goals," Nagy said.
Two particular numbers indicated the breaking point had been breached or at least approached, and those became apparent very early in the 30-26 win Sunday over Atlanta.
It came even before coaches discussed pulling Trubisky at halftime, and before they let him go out for one more series and an interception in the second half.
The two numbers are: 22 and 7.
In the first quarter, the Bears ran 22 plays and the Falcons ran seven plays. The Bears were losing 6-3 even after having such a huge play advantage.
If this had been an anomaly, then benching Trubisky made little sense. As it was, Nagy still needed the interception to get over the hump and provide what he called that "gut feeling" to do it.
Nagy had watched this type of thing all last year and even some in 2018. They spin their wheels, especially early.
All last season, Trubisky produced four first-half touchdown drives but he didn't get replaced.
It was happening again Sunday until late in the second quarter.
"We weren't producing points in the red zone and I just think that sometimes there is a gut feeling as to when to do it," Nagy said. "That seemed like the right time."
It wasn't just the red zone where Trubisky struggled, but this was one area.
Trubisky has been the king of moving the ball between the 25s. When the field shortened and defense compressed, he struggled because he didn't read defenses correctly quick enough to react with quick, proper decisions.
The red zone would have been satisfactory for Trubisky Sunday. Yet, he only had them there twice in his seven series and it produced 10 points. Their only touchdown came largely because of his legs on a 45-yard scramble, something he's been reluctant to use.
Counting the second half of the Giants game when the Bears were shut out, the offense had produced 10 points on 11 possessions.
It was the same sort of wasteful play they displayed in the first three quarters against Detroit while falling behind 23-6.
The tough third and fourth downs and the red zone are where Nick Foles has specialized.
"He obviously takes the shots when he thinks that they're appropriate," passing game coordinator Dave Ragone said. "He takes what the defense gives him at other times."
Foles put them in the end zone five times in seven possessions, but had two TDs taken away by replay—one a very questionable reversal on an interception. The other TD taken away on replay was a dropped pass. One possession ended with the game's final gun and one in a punt.
In Trubisky's three-plus years of starting he never showed the ability to handle the red zone or big downs like Foles.
The Bears are sixth in the league in time of possession this year but 20th in scoring. Last year they were a respectable 13th in the league at time of possession but only four teams in the entire league scored fewer points.
Nagy's decision might have seemed a bit rash to some, although the result makes it seem unlikely anyone should care except the Trubisky family.
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is supposed to be the definition of insanity.
Now Foles has restored sanity to the Bears offense along with the ability to score touchdowns regardless of what their record is.