You might be wondering how in the world the Bears are supposed to win a Super Bowl with their offense playing the way it has been playing.
That doesn’t make you a bad fan or an enemy of the people; it makes you a discerning football observer. You, clear-eyed and possibly sober by now after the Bears’ stunning victory Sunday, realize even making the playoffs looks iffy at the rate the offense is going.
By Monday morning, the smoke from the last-second shocker over the Broncos had cleared. What remained was an offense that has scored a total of one touchdown in the first two games of the season. Coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky continue to insist Trubisky’s development is a ‘‘process,’’ but so is waiting for a 30-year savings bond to mature, the one your grandmother gave you when you were born.
The positives from the victory are that kicker Eddy Pineiro was excellent and that the Bears, by the skin of their teeth, avoided starting the season 0-2.
If you would like to focus on Trubisky’s 25-yard pass to a wide-open Allen Robinson and laud him for having the common sense to call a timeout with one second left, enjoy your fortified beverage.
Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, taken eight picks after the Bears chose Trubisky in the 2017 draft, had 278 yards and four touchdown passes in one quarter Sunday. Trubisky has a combined four touchdown passes in his last six games and none so far this season.
Whether it’s stated or unstated, the goal for the Bears this season is to win the Super Bowl. That has been the case since they lost to the Eagles in the playoffs last season. I know it’s only two games into the schedule, but the goal looks unreachable with this offense. The defense is a beast. With Trubisky at quarterback, the offense as designed is about as threatening as a gerbil.
Assuming Trubisky isn’t going to suddenly start making huge developmental leaps, it means what the Bears have gotten from him as a passer is what they’re going to get. If anything, the first two games of the season have seen him go backward from the 2018 Mitch. If Nagy is a quarterback whisperer, he might want to clear his throat and start speaking louder.
When the Bears traded up one spot in the draft to take Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2017, it meant they were committing everything to him, especially offensive philosophy.
Any philosophy based on Mitch being a franchise quarterback has to change.
Nagy needs to stick to the formula he used Sunday in Denver: Keep a tight rein on Trubisky by having him throw mostly short, safe passes to his receivers and call more running plays for rookie David Montgomery. Then Nagy needs to go one step further.
The Bears’ best offensive threat is the possibility of Trubisky running the ball, so roll him out more. Call a few run plays for him. The mere hint of that will keep defenders on their heels, giving receivers more room to operate. And it will allow him to be more of an instinctive quarterback.
It also will expose him to a greater possibility of injury, but it’s the quickest way to pick up the offense. And, anyway, injuries can happen to quarterbacks who sit in the pocket like lawn chairs. The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the Saints’ Drew Brees were injured Sunday while throwing the ball. Roethlisberger needs season-ending elbow surgery.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that for the Bears to be what they wanted to be this season, Nagy couldn’t be their offensive most valuable player. It’s still true. They’re not going to win a Super Bowl based on his trick plays. But what’s clear after the first two games is that trick plays need to be a regular part of the formula to take more pressure off Trubisky. The Bears’ biggest gain against the Broncos was a 46-yard run from receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. More of that, please.
‘‘The last two games, we’re probably lacking those explosive plays,’’ Nagy said Monday.
Next up for the Bears are the Redskins, who have given up several deep pass plays in the first two weeks. Maybe this is the game Nagy can make the passing game vertical once in a while.
But the combination of a tough running game, a few running plays for the quarterback and some trick plays might be enough to make the Bears’ defense proud.
‘‘We want to figure this thing out, and we have time to do that,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And we feel like we will.’’