For the Chicago Bears, Mitchell Trubisky had to put more of a “V” in MVP. Instead, he wound up taking yet another L.
Year three in his Chicago career has some big expectations next to it. The Bears dropped a 10-3 slog to the Green Bay Packers in the NFL’s annual midweek season opener. In celebration of the NFL’s 100th anniversary, the teams appeared to pay tribute with a throwback defensive struggles. At the forefront of it was a stagnant effort from Trubisky and the Chicago offensive efforts.
Like many exploits in the NFL, no game is won or lost on a single name. Even the universally accepted historic goats (cough, Cody Parkey) have help in defeat. Trubisky’s Thursday downfall came from a lack of confidence and the tinkering of Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
Nagy knows a thing or two about high-scoring football games. The Delaware alum was part of the Arena Football League in its mid-2000’s heyday, throwing an absurd 85 touchdown passes for the 2006 Georgia Force. The Bears have long been a team branded by smashmouth defense. But, when it came to this new era of the NFL, one ruled by the Patriots and fantasy football, they were willing to adjust the image for the services of Nagy. His previous NFL exploits included offensive coaching stints in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
After Thursday, it may be officially fair to start discussing the removal of “guru” from Nagy’s many titles.
Chicago’s offense produced perhaps the city’s biggest dud since Blues Brothers 2000. Trubisky was forced to throw the ball 45 times to earn 228 yards, a minuscule tally by today’s passing standards. A rare Chicago trip into the red zone, one earned only in their penultimate drive of the evening, ended in a Trubisky interception
Packers cornerback Tramon Williams perhaps provided the perfect game summary in a harsh, yet sufficient, jab obtained after the postgame:
Yes, Trubisky needs to take a step forward. But Nagy has to know and understand his quarterback’s limitations and shortcomings. Chicago is a team that is perhaps spoiled in the running back spot. David Montgomery is a highly touted rookie out of Iowa State. Tarik Cohen is a back who can beat you on the ground and through the air. Michael Davis is a trusted veteran.
That group combined for 37 yards on 11 carries. Cohen had some receptions, but otherwise didn’t get any offensive carries.
With Trubisky’s output, the Bears continued a disturbing trend. Chicago is now 1-6 when Trubisky throws at least 35 passes. That mark becomes 0-3 when he throws 40. (Yes, part of this is correlative because when you are playing from behind you throw the ball more.)
Year three must be a step forward from Trubisky. He can’t be a, say, 2002 Jim Miller-type, where he watches passively as the defense handles matters. That’s exactly what came to pass last night, with an Aaron Rodgers-led offense held to a single touchdown. The StateFarm spokesman was also sacked five times. Yet, Chicago is on the wrong side of 0-1 and the journey won’t get much easier.
Winnable games against Denver, Washington, and Oakland arrive in the immediate future, but an immediate trio with New Orleans, the LA Chargers, and Philadelphia follow a Week 6 bye.
Simply put, it’s not the start Chicago wanted. Nagy, to his credit, is fully aware of his role in the ineptitude.
“I just told the guys in there, this is not who we are. I was proud of our defense,” Nagy said, per Around the NFL’s Kevin Patra. “I thought they played their (butt) off tonight. Offensively, not good enough. And we’re going to fix it. Our guys know that.”
If Chicago’s going to pull themselves together, cross over a Super Bowl hump that has firmly been risen since 1986, it’s going to take a team effort. Everyone on and off the field is accountable. For Nagy, it could end something special before it even really starts.