Breaking down the Bears’ biggest offensive plays from their 36-7 victory Sunday against the bumbling, indifferent Texans:
‘A beautiful thing’
The Bears took a timeout with 11 seconds left in the first half and the ball at the Texans’ 3.
On the sideline, quarterback Mitch Trubisky lobbied coach Matt Nagy for a specific play, and Nagy acquiesced. Trubisky lined up in the shotgun with an empty backfield. Two tight ends were split right, while a third, Demetrius Harris, was far left. Anthony Miller lined up to Harris’ right. Allen Robinson was in the left slot.
With cornerback Vernon Hargreaves covering him, Robinson stutter-stepped and ran a shallow slant. The Texans dropped linebacker Tyrell Adams between Trubisky and Robinson, but Trubisky led Robinson just enough for the touchdown pass.
“[Trubisky] said, ‘I’ll just make it work,’ ” Nagy said Monday. “I mean, how awesome is that? And then when he does it, that’s a beautiful thing.”
So was Robinson’s communication. He talked to Trubisky about what he’d do if the Texans dropped the linebacker into coverage. The Bears hadn’t practiced against that look all week.
“We were on the same page, so he knew where I was going to be right when we got that look,’’ Robinson said. “That’s where we’re taking it to the next level. And for us to do that all across the board, offense, defense or whatever, it has to be that level of detail, that level of attention to be able to finish how we want to finish.”
Said Nagy: “When you have your quarterback and your wide receiver on the same page, sometimes it’s hard to stop.”
‘The perfect play’
David Montgomery’s 80-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ first offensive play was the surest sign yet that the current iteration of the offensive line is better than the last.
On the snap, center Sam Mustipher and left guard Cody Whitehair double-teamed defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, while left tackle Charles Leno blocked outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus. Adams overran the play and was sealed from getting back to the ballcarrier by Whitehair, who came off his double-team to make a block.
“They all hit their landmarks — their targets — and they finished,” offensive line coach Juan Castillo said. “It was kinda like the perfect footwork.”
Montgomery hit the hole, stiff-armed safety Justin Reid and took off up the left sideline. Robinson shielded him from Hargreaves.
It was what coaches call “Teach Tape.”
“When you hit one like that, it’s nice,” Castillo said. “So [our linemen] can see that, ‘Here’s what the perfect play looks like.’ ”
‘You’re a passer on that play’
The Trubisky throw that most impressed pass-game coordinator Dave Ragone didn’t even cross the line of scrimmage. On first-and-10 at the Texans’ 12 with just under four minutes left in the first half, Trubisky lined up in the shotgun with three receivers to his right. He looked to throw a quick bubble screen to the slot receiver, Darnell Mooney.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt shot past right tackle Germain Ifedi and jumped to bat the pass. Trubisky saw him and lofted it over the 6-5 Watt’s head.
“As much as it didn’t seem like it’s a big deal to get the ball up and down over J.J. Watt with that touch and accuracy where it doesn’t slow down Mooney, to me, that shows you’re a passer on that play,” Ragone said. “Right? Your Point A to B wasn’t right there, wasn’t direct. You had to go over somebody. And I thought Mitchell, in a split second, made the decision and made a great throw.”
The real work began when Mooney caught the ball. Miller toppled safety Eric Murray with a cut block. Mooney ran behind Robinson, who blocked Keion Crossen all the way to the 2, and dove to the pylon without stretching the ball out.
“So many times when you gotta reach the ball across the goal line,” Nagy said, “it pops out, and it’s a touchback.”
‘Changing it up’
One feature of the Bears’ offense under coordinator Bill Lazor has been tempo out of the huddle — sprinting to the line of scrimmage and snapping the ball immediately or checking into a new play. The Bears used tempo off and on Sunday, including a quick-snap 11-yard completion to tight end Cole Kmet early in the second half.
Catching the defense off guard forces the opponent to declare their intentions earlier, Trubisky said.
“There were a couple of times where we can get them out of position by using that tempo,” Trubisky said. “That’s something we need to continue to emphasize. Using our tempo in and out of the huddle. Changing it up. Keep the defense off balance but continue to stay balanced within ourselves.”
Tempo doesn’t mean going fast all the time — just at select times. The Bears like the psychology of the offense dictating pace and believe it helps plays that go to the edge.
“I think anytime you can change things up on a defense, it does nothing but help the quarterback,” quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said.