I wanted to circle back with the crew over at Windy City Gridiron, the SB Nation community for Bears fans, so I linked up with Lester A. Wiltfong, Jr., WCG’s managing editor.
Were you surprised by the Bears’ offensive struggles? What concerns do you have coming out of this game on that side of the ball given how much support your offense had from your defense?
Not really. Trubisky missed a couple games and he really just started throwing last week after dislocating his shoulder. Plus the Rams have a pretty good defense in their own right. Trubisky played his worst game as a pro, but that game was the outlier. I’m not really concerned with the offense right now, because I expected this year to be a work in progress. First year in the new (and very complicated) system with a second year QB, with two new wide outs and a new tight end. Even with the struggles on O, the Bears still dominated the time of possession. The silver lining last night was that the running game had their best performance of the season. The defense is always going to be there, and if head coach Matt Nagy can keep Jordan Howard going, that’s a blueprint for playoff football.
And wow...what a game from yall’s defense. That performance was good enough to win any game against any opponent. While the hype coming in was about Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, the hype coming out of this should be about the entire Chicago defense and how sound they were at every level. Are you surprised at how they stepped up their performance given the stage and level of competition? Does this set a new bar for what you expect going into the playoffs? And did this game cement the 2018 Chicago Bears as the best defense in the NFL?
Chicago’s D had a few mental lapses last week in New York and that had to piss them off. I was expecting them to come out and play well, but I wasn’t expecting them to shut the Rams down completely. Gurley only managed 28 yards rushing and Goff had a passer rating of 19.1. When you spell out how L.A.’s drives all ended, it’s frightening; field goal, punt, interception, field goal, punt, interception, safety, punt, interception, missed field goal, turnover on downs, interception, end of game. The Bears have legit All Pro contenders at every level, Akiem Hicks (DL), Khalil Mack (OLB), Eddie Jackson (FS), and Kyle Fuller (CB), so the bar has always been high for this defense. And yes, the Bears have the best defense in the league.
The quarterback play...yeesh. Both of us have to go back and look at what went wrong around our offensive systems, but clearly neither QB played anywhere near a good game. Let’s say the safety never takes place and Goff just tosses the ball at someone’s feet to avoid it. And maybe instead of burning two timeouts and getting into 3rd and 15 which had no chance of succeeding against yalls defense and then missing the field goal, let’s hypothetically put in a touchdown in some way. So it’s 13-13. 4th quarter. Playoffs. What do you guys need to do better to support Mitchell Trubisky to help him succeed moreso than what you did on Sunday?
This was Trubisky’s worst game as a pro, but it was also Goff’s worst day as a pro, but when you factor in the moment on SNF and the talent on the defenses, it’s not that surprising they both struggled. As to your scenario, that’s a lot of ‘what ifs,’ but if the game was tied I think we’d see most of Trubisky’s passing opportunities out of the edge to cut the field in half for him and to give him the option to run. Plus with the way Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were both running, the defense would still have to respect that part of the game-plan.
Like I said earlier, I’m not worried about Trubisky bouncing back from this outing, so I think he’ll be fine as the Bears close out the season, but we’ll start to see the best from him in year two of the Nagy system.
Thanks to Lester for the time.