There's only one way for the Bears to go after this clunker

  • Steve Lundy/slundy@dailyherald.comChicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky gets sacked by Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith during their game Thursday, September 5, 2019 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Steve Lundy/slundy@dailyherald.comChicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky gets sacked by Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith during their game Thursday, September 5, 2019 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Updated 9/6/2019 6:55 PM

Yes, that was ugly.

Before we go too deep, though, let's get a couple of things out of the way.


The world didn't end for the Chicago Bears or their fans Thursday night in their 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. If you recall, the Bears lost their opener to the Packers last year and things still turned out fine.

As incredible as the defense was a year ago at Lambeau it was even better this year, and if it plays that way all year, the Bears are going to win more than they lose.

So much for worrying whether Chuck Pagano can replace Vic Fangio.

Next up, the Bears offense can't be as bad as it was in this incredibly disappointing opener.

I don't know what the game plan was, but Bears head coach Matt Nagy had a terrible night calling plays and Mitch Trubisky played his worst game as a pro.

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Let me be clear about this play-calling thing because I get nuts when we amateurs start second-guessing the pros about specific calls in specific situations. Nagy is the reigning NFL Coach of The Year and I'm pretty sure he has a better chance of getting it right than I do when those situations arise.

But the Bears finished the evening throwing the ball 45 times and running it just 15 in a game that was tied when it the Bears weren't winning or down by less than one score.

It was actually even worse than that when you dig into the play by play -- the Bears came out running 7 times on their first 11 plays, leading to their lone score of the game and suggesting they were going to try and establish the run.

It wasn't awe-inspiring but it was working the way it's supposed to, and then with that 3-0 lead they went on to run the ball eight more times all night on their remaining 53 plays.


That is one of the best ways I know to get beat 10-3.

Let's forget, just for the moment, how bad Trubisky was throwing the ball a good part of the evening. He never should have been asked to throw it that many times.

But, as to what it may signal for the rest of season, the offense was barely worse than it was in that 2018 opener. Last year the Bears offense put up 294 yards and averaged 4.5 yards a play compared with 254 yards and 3.9 per play Thursday night. The big difference was last year it managed 16 points -- you've probably forgotten Cody Parkey went 3-for-3 on field goals -- and this year it never really came close to scoring.

Things did get better fairly quickly last year after the opener and a Week 3 stinker in Arizona the defense won for them.

The other thing that killed the Bears this time around was it's really hard to commit 10 penalties for 107 yards and win games at any level but particularly in the NFL.

James Daniels, Kyle Long and Charles Leno all had holding penalties, Leno threw in an illegal hands to the face and Taylor Gabriel picked up an offensive pass interference call. All of them were drive killers.

After the game, Bears one after another from Trubisky to Allen Robinson to David Montgomery all talked about feeling they were just out of rhythm all night long, and all agreed it should be easy to fix or "clean up" as the expression goes.

But when you only get to play 16 games you can't give any away. And that raises the question, why were they out of rhythm?

Could it be because none of them had played a real or even a practice, or should we call them exhibition game since last January?

Clearly this is going to be litigated until Nagy changes his approach to the preseason or his Bears stop losing openers, and I'm not suggesting in any way it is why the Bears lost to Green Bay Thursday night.

But isn't it almost certain that even a little bit of practice at actual game speed would have given Trubisky and Co. a little better rhythm for opening night?

There is the most important question to come out of this disappointment:

Is it possible what we saw against the Packers Thursday night was the real Mitch Trubisky?

I do not believe it was, but he also has 27 starts and has given us a lot less evidence than we'd like that it wasn't.

We aren't going to get a definitive answer next week either. It's going to take at least the first half of this season -- maybe all season -- to really say with conviction we now know who Trubisky is.

But his play in this one is something to worry about.

• Twitter: @Hub_Arkush

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