Bears film study: Getting creative before Green Bay

  • Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Greg Mabin breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson during the first half last Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

    Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Greg Mabin breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson during the first half last Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. Associated Press

Updated 1/1/2021 6:00 PM

Will Sunday's victory in Jacksonville be remembered as an easy victory that kept the Bears' playoff hopes alive or as the triumphant return of Nick Foles? To find out, let's check the coaches film:

Getting the boot:


One theme to last week's film study was the increased use of the bootleg pass, presumably a ploy to get Mitch Trubisky out of the pocket and play to his strengths. The Bears actually cut back on the bootleg pass last week. Better to keep the Packers guessing, right?

The final count from Jacksonville was 3-of-5 for 44 yards using the bootleg pass. But it also led to Trubisky's 6-yard touchdown scramble in the third quarter and a pass interference penalty in the end zone, setting up the Bears' first TD.

A couple of twists last week were using more of a read-option fake handoff, which allows Trubisky to keep his eyes downfield instead of making the typical, turn-away-from-the-line-of-scrimmage wide rollout. This led to a 30-yard completion to Jimmy Graham early in the game. Anthony Miller cut across the formation and drew the attention of two Jacksonville defenders, allowing Trubisky to dump it over their heads to Graham, who went unguarded on an out-and-up pattern.

A couple times, Trubisky rolled one way and threw to the other side of the field, which was unusual. That happened on the pass interference call against Darnell Mooney. Then in the second half, Trubisky barely missed Cole Kmet, who got open after first blocking at the line of scrimmage.

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Trubisky throws well on the move, but as mentioned last week, defenses will blow it up with a backside rusher if it's run too often.

Offensive lowlight:

The turning point in the loss at Green Bay in Week 12 was Trubisky's interception on the Bears' second drive, where he threw deep into double coverage for Mooney. It was a bad play call and poor decision. One key to beating Green Bay this week will obviously be avoiding dumb mistakes.

Well, Trubisky's interception late in the second quarter in Jacksonville was pretty bad. It was first-and-10 from the Jaguars 13-yard-line and Mitch scrambled across the field a couple times before throwing it up for grabs in the end zone. It looked like he was trying to throw a jump ball for Allen Robinson. The problem was, every Jags defensive back followed his scramble and there were about six guys ready to pick off the pass.

The first rule of Trubisky is even though he runs well, he's not Russell Wilson. He never, ever improvises a great play after escaping from pressure. It was first down, chuck it out of bounds next time.

Creative plays:

Don't remember seeing this one before: The Bears lined up in their typical bunch formation, with three receivers to Trubisky's left. At the snap, the three receivers slid outside, creating a bubble screen to Mooney that went for 13 yards. The Bears ran the same action later in the game, but handed the ball off to David Montgomery.


Another fun play was when Mooney went in motion, curled about the QB and RB, went back to the same side and caught a bubble screen. WR Javon Wims made a great block on this play, in case anyone is still wondering why the Bears didn't cut him for punching a Saint.

Getting the runaround:

Everyone has their favorite rituals for an NFL Sunday. Personally, I look forward to the inevitable tweet from Kyle Long or Olin Kreutz demanding the Bears run the ball 20 times in the second half.

Even though the offensive line has found some stability and is playing better, the Bears haven't run the ball consistently since Week 2 against the Giants. Better to keep the offense varied against Green Bay. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor does seem to be getting more creative every week since he took over the play-calling, which is a nice improvement.

Random thought:

The Bears have been trying to develop rookie OLB Trevis Gipson late in the season and I can see what they saw in him, because he has good speed. But he lacks size and has been getting pushed around a lot this season. Better to keep James Vaughters as the fourth OLB and let Gipson take it slow. Remember, center Sam Mustipher spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad and now he's the greatest thing since Jay Hilgenberg. There's no rush.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls


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