The Chicago Bears fell to the Green Bay Packers 10-3 in one of the ugliest opening games we have ever seen. An Aaron Rodgers eight-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham early in the second quarter was all the Packers’ offense needed to score as their defense was able to shut down the Bears’ offense.
The general reaction among sports media pundits and NFL fans, in general, is that Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky played terribly and that the Bears are in trouble because he is holding this team back and wasting a great defense. This reaction is warranted as Trubisky struggled, throwing 19 incompletions, looking lost when it came to decision making, and throwing an ugly game-sealing interception to former Bears’ safety Adrian Amos with 1:58 left in the game. Despite a great defensive performance from the Bears, they still couldn’t reach the end zone and lost an ugly game that Bears’ fans believe they could have won.
However, Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy deserves plenty of blame himself. The Bears had two third-down situations, two yards or less, and both play calls were questionable. The first was an inside hand-off to speed back Cordarrelle Patterson instead of power back David Montgomery, who is a tackle-breaking machine. Another situation had the Bears running a bootleg sweep to tight end Adam Shaheen, who was covered, instead of a simple quarterback sweep. If the Bears convert either of these, the Bears may have, at least, scored three more points.
The biggest reason why Nagy deserves blame is his decision to have Mitchell Trubisky throw the ball 45 times instead of running the ball more often. The Bears ran the ball only 15 times combined throughout the game and no running back touched the ball more than six times. Trubisky was bad this game and it does not make sense to keep putting the ball in his hands. The Bears were within a touchdown, at most, the entire game, so it is not like they were playing comeback ball.
If the Bears want to return to the playoffs, Trubisky not only needs to play better but also, Nagy needs to have a more balanced play-calling system to give the offense more balance and put less pressure on the struggling Trubisky.
The Packers’ defense, however, did look like a top 10 defense and they deserve a lot of credit. It will be interesting to see if that performance carries over against better quarterbacks, but for now, Aaron Rodgers finally has a defense backing him up.
Photo via AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast