Of all the gibberish emanating from Halas Hall about why the Chicago Bears' offense can't get out of its own way or average more than 1 touchdown a game, a huge reason is the lack of explosive plays.
In the Bears' last six games, the offense has scored just 6 touchdowns. In the throes of a five-game losing streak, rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky was asked what one area where he'd like to see improvement this week against the 5-7 Bengals at Cincinnati.
"More explosive plays," Trubisky said. "We just need to get the ball into our playmakers' hands, stay efficient and be good with the football."
When it comes to explosiveness lately, the offense has been a dud.
If you're keeping track at home, the Bears are last in total yards, passing yards and first downs, and they're 30th (out of 32) in scoring and 28th in third-down efficiency.
In the four games since the bye, the Bears have had only 2 runs and 6 receptions longer than 20 yards. On 17 of his last 20 carries, Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard has gained 3 yards or less.
Never was the absence of big plays more evident than in Sunday's 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, who came in with the No. 28 defense in the NFL. The Bears' offense managed one play of 15 yards or longer.
The 49ers' offense, which came in 28th in scoring, had 10 plays of 15 yards or longer.
"It was the lack of explosive plays in the run game and the pass game," offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. "When you don't create those explosive plays of 16-yard passes, those 12-yard runs, you've got to stack five or six third downs in a row, and you've got to put a 12-to-14-play drive together.
"And right now, the way we're executing and playing, we're not doing that enough."
While the 49ers put together four drives of more than 10 plays that produced points, the Bears' had none. Their only offensive touchdown came on an eight-play drive. They had one other eight-play drive and a nine-play possession; both ended with punts.
In defense of the Bears' offense, it only had the ball for 36 plays.
Part of the blame for that goes to the defense, which couldn't get off the field, allowing the Niners to convert 10 of 18 third downs. But the offense gets half the blame.
The Bears had 4 first downs on their TD drive and just 4 more the entire game.
"We need to find a way to hit an explosive pass or an explosive run," Loggains said. "Sometimes that's yards after the catch, or we've got to do a better on the perimeter blocking at wide receiver.
"That way, when we do get one-on-ones, Jordan (Howard) has a chance to go. There's a couple things even in the screen game with Tarik (Cohen). He had a couple that should have been bigger plays if we execute better around him."
An apparent 25-yard screen pass to Cohen would have given the Bears the ball at midfield and been their longest play from scrimmage Sunday. But it was called back because of a holding penalty on left tackle Charles Leno.
Normally that wouldn't be such a big deal, but for a Bears offense desperate for big plays, it was.
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