The Bears made two major moves on offense Sunday. Did they really help?

  • Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers (90) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.

    Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers (90) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) during the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019.

Updated 11/12/2019 6:31 AM

It was hard to escape the feeling during Bears coach Matt Nagy's weekly post-mortem Monday that the season has devolved to the same point as our current politics.

This after Nagy's club snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday by defeating the Detroit Lions 20-13 at Soldier Field.


Is our football now coming down to talking points that often have nothing to do with reality but simply focus on what the speakers want us to believe, regardless of how far it strays from the truth?

It is fair for Nagy and his troops to feel good about winning after four games of frustrating failure.

There is much good that comes from winning, even if at times it is as much about the other guy losing as it is about what you did to succeed.

But in breaking down the win Monday and what it might mean going forward, Nagy offered some commentary that left me puzzled.

The Bears made two major moves before kickoff Sunday in an effort to escape the growing decline they were stuck in.

They benched starting tight end Adam Shaheen and moved Cody Whitehair and James Daniels back to their 2018 starting spots at center and guard, respectively, after they'd been flipped the first half of the season.

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The Shaheen move paid immediate dividends as replacement Ben Braunecker caught his first NFL touchdown pass to give the Bears a 7-6 lead just before halftime.

The switch with Daniels and Whitehair, however, pretty clearly played to some mixed reviews.

Asked if he thought it worked out, Nagy answered: "Yes, for sure, yeah. Just a lot of it comes down to some experience, some communication, that sort of thing. I'd say that's probably the biggest thing."

A few minutes later, Nagy added: "We just know that making that switch, for a lot of different reasons, is more beneficial."

Let's deconstruct all of that.

The Bears' offense managed 226 total yards Sunday, surpassing only last week's pathetic 164 yards at Philadelphia, and 10 fewer yards than their third-worst performance of the season, one that netted 236 against the Oakland Raiders with Chase Daniel under center.


The 5 sacks Detroit totaled Sunday matched the opener against Green Bay for the most the Bears have allowed this season.

The difference is that the Packers actually are tied with the Bears for 12th in the NFL with 25 sacks, while the Lions entered Sunday's game 27th with just 14, and 27th stopping the run.

The 3.4 yards the Bears averaged on 24 rushes against Detroit was .14 below their 3.54 average on the season, which is 27th in the league. Granted, while all of that reflects poorly on the offensive line, it is not all the line's fault.

But consider Nagy's review of Mitch Trubisky at quarterback.

"We had some mistakes on offense that wasn't him," Nagy said. "And that's what I took from this. Yesterday he really, across the board, he missed one guy on a route. And he made a bunch of really good throws.

"The one that never got talked about, the best throw of the game yesterday was the one he threw to A-Rob (Allen Robinson) down the left sideline when he got hit. Not a lot of guys make that throw."

So the quarterback played well and the offensive line improved, but the offense stunk even more than usual.

Does that sound right? Is it possible?

Both Nagy and offensive-line coach Harry Hiestand made clear Monday the flipping of Daniels and Whitehair was mainly about communication, and Hiestand added the swap of veteran Kyle Long for the inexperience of Rashaad Coward at the other guard spot had been an issue.

OK, but the Bears used the 38th pick in the draft last year on Daniels because he was the best center prospect in his class, and they just gave Whitehair a five-year, $51 million deal, $27 million guaranteed, because of his future at guard.

After a dismal outing Sunday, while we see the rationale behind the move, it still seems awfully hard to argue for its future success.

• Hub Arkush, the executive editor of Pro Football Weekly, can be reached at or on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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