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Film review: On Mitch Trubisky pressing and the Bears’ red-zone blues

Breaking down the worst of Sunday night’s 26-3 loss to the Chiefs, the worst deficit of coach Matt Nagy’s Bears tenure.

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws against the Chiefs on Sunday night.
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky throws against the Chiefs on Sunday night.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Breaking down the worst from the Bears’ 26-3 loss Sunday to the Chiefs, the worst margin of defeat under coach Matt Nagy:

Deep trouble

Down 10-0 with 9:23 to go in the first half, quarterback Mitch Trubisky faked a handoff left, rolled right and took a deep shot down the left sideline toward receiver Allen Robinson, who had beaten Tyrann Mathieu.

Trubisky overthrew him. Robinson never touched the ball. The quarterback looked to the sideline, clapped his hands together and cursed to himself.

“The lesson is that you want to hit ’em,” Nagy said. “I know it’s simple. I’m just saying when you get opportunities in a game, those are ones there where we all want to do our job, to do that.

“It’s not a criticism. It’s just that that’s where we’re at. It just feels like for whatever reason this year we haven’t connected on those types of plays. And not just at the quarterback position, just across the board. So that’s the frustrating part.”

But it is a criticism of Trubisky. And it’s warranted. A good throw scores a touchdown and changes the tenor of a game that soon became a blowout.

“I don’t think he’s pressing,” Nagy said Monday. “That type of throw downfield, with the angle that you have right to left, it has to be darn near perfect with that. I mean, [Mathieu] was on A-Rob’s heels a bit.

“Mitch knows that he can make that throw. He’s made it in practice.”

The he-did-it-in-practice defense wore out months ago. If Trubisky made the throws in games that he did in practice, Nagy wouldn’t be quizzed about his quarterback missing open men 31 regular-season games into their pairing.

“His reaction after the throw, you knew that he would’ve wanted it back,” Nagy said. “I don’t think pressing’s the word. I just think it’s one of those deals where those are the type of plays that we want to hit. If we get that, it’s 10-7.”

The Bears have talked to Trubisky about leaving those throws short — which would give Robinson a chance to fight back for the ball and draw a pass-interference call.

“Give these guys a chance,” Nagy said. “And Mitch knows all this stuff.”

Red-zone woes

After the game Sunday, Nagy said the Bears would examine their red-zone problems in the offseason by looking at the scheme, the execution and the players on the field.

Does he have a good idea what he’ll find?

“I do — and I know,” he said Monday.

Well?

“I’m not going to get into it,” he said.

Is it fixable?

“Yeah,” he said.

It’s fair to wonder whether the answer is the personnel. Were it scheme, Nagy would have tinkered with his play-calling all year to try to fix it.

The Bears have scored touchdowns on 56.1 percent of their red-zone trips this year, ranking them No. 22 in the league. Last year, they ranked No. 11 after scoring touchdowns 63.1 percent of the time.

In the third quarter Sunday, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson lined up in the backfield and took a handoff 16 yards to give the Bears a first down at the 5.

On first-and-goal, Trubisky handed off to David Montgomery, who went up the middle for no gain. On second down, Trubisky rolled right and threw incomplete to Anthony Miller at the front left pylon.

“He’s trying to give him a chance,” Nagy said. “It’s gotta be spot-on. The kid [cornerback Charvarius Ward] played it so well that it’s gotta be like perfect, you know, and so we just missed it.”

On third-and-goal from the 5, Trubisky faked a handoff up the middle to Montgomery before running a keeper around the right end with Robinson, who lined up as an up-back, blocking in front of him. Robinson whiffed on Juan Thornhill, and the Chiefs safety tackled Trubisky for a one-yard gain.

“They played that well,” Nagy said. “Mitch was fine there with his decision.”

With an empty backfield on fourth-and-goal at the 4, Trubisky took a shotgun snap and threw incomplete to Robinson on a fade route. The Bears left their only red-zone trip empty-handed.

About Patterson

After Patterson’s 16-yard run, NBC showed an amazing stat: his 101 career rushes for 771 yards are good for 7.6 yards per attempt, the highest in NFL history for players with at least 75 career carries.

Why not run him more, especially if he has the hot hand?

“He’s fast, he’s big, and he runs the ball hard,” Nagy said. “And then he does good things in the pass game, too. That’s, again, for somebody like him, me learning how to use some of the players, I think you’ll see that that’ll get better.”

Nagy has struggled to incorporate his most dynamic weapons, from Patterson to Tarik Cohen, all year.

“You saw a good run from him [Sunday],” Nagy said of Patterson. “I love his energy. When he touches the football, usually good things happen. So we need to be better with him. And I think we will.”