Rozner: Suddenly, everyone wants a Chicago Bears run game

  • Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen had none of the team's limited 15 rushing attempts in the season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers.

    Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen had none of the team's limited 15 rushing attempts in the season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/9/2019 9:43 AM

Allen Robinson didn't offer up an easy fix, but he did offer up an easy explanation for why the Chicago Bears' offense was so bad against the Packers.

"We were too much behind the chains. Can't do that," said the Bears receiver. "We didn't get much on first and second down and had too many third-and-longs."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

This much is true.

After the Bears' second drive that resulted in a field goal and a 3-0 lead, the offense did the following on 18 of 28 first-down plays:

• Seven incomplete passes.

• Four penalties, including a delay.

• Three runs of 2 yards or fewer.

• Three passes of 3 yards or fewer.

• One sack.

The other 10 were positive:

• Four plays went for first down.

• Four passes went for 5 to 9 yards.

• Two runs were for 5 yards or better.

But only two of their final 11 plays would be considered decent yardage on first down.

"We have to clean up some things," said guard Kyle Long. "It falls on us. The guys up front talk about little things you want to do.

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"I've said it the last seven years. Losses usually come down to (the guys) up front. There are things I wish I would have done better. The guys around me I'm sure would say the same thing.

"We need to come back and support the special teams and defense with a much better performance next week, and it starts with looking at the (film) and getting a feeling of what happened in the game."

With all due respect to Long, progress starts at the quarterback position.

In a throwback to Green Bay defensive back Charles Woodson when he famously said of Jay Cutler, "We just need to be in position. Jay will throw us the ball," Packers corner Tramon Williams said of Mitch Trubisky, "We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback.

"We knew they had a lot of weapons. We knew they were dangerous. We knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, we would have a chance."

Williams tried to walk it back Friday, but the implication was clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I was talking more about the way their offense is built," Williams told ESPN. "They have a bunch of weapons. We're trying to keep the ball out of their hands. I definitely wasn't (taking) a shot at Mitch."

Um, OK. Sure.

It's awfully early in 2019, but with 27 NFL starts at QB the narrative has been struck for this season. Trubisky can begin to change that with a solid game in Denver, where Vic Fangio has to be licking his chops.

"It's the NFL and we're fortunate we have a game next week. That's the great thing," Robinson said. "It's very disappointing, but it wasn't the Super Bowl. It was a big game. It's a division rival and at home, which we're supposed to protect.

"But it's one game."

After demanding a downfield offense from John Fox -- and wild excitement for Air Nagy -- there's screaming now for a running game from the Bears head coach after the faithful had to watch -- and boo -- Trubisky's errant arm Thursday night.

"It was frustrating," Long said. "We know we can't go out there and score 3 points. We got to score more. We got to make the corrections. We got to change that going into the next game.

"Once we crossed the 50, we didn't move the ball. We had penalties. We had different stuff. Once we cross the 50, our mentality has to be scoring.

"We got to lock in, move the ball and put ourselves in a situation to score. I don't know how many times we were in the red zone, but it didn't feel like we were in it that often."

That would be once, and it ended with a Trubisky interception.

"Obviously, not enough points," Long said. "Our defense and special teams did a great job. We just didn't have anything come to fruition for us.

"We were knocking on the door. We were in the driveway and we couldn't get in the front door."

The answer everyone wants now is for the Bears to bring a sledgehammer, always the preferred weapon of the offensive line.

The Broncos will be expecting precisely that.

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