The offensive identity Bears coach Matt Nagy has claimed after consistent performances in back-to-back victories against the Lions and Raiders seems a little modest for a coach from the Andy Reid tree.
Justin Fields passed for 111 yards Sunday against the Raiders. Allen Robinson caught four passes for 32 yards. Darnell Mooney caught three passes for 35 yards. Tight end Cole Kmet had two catches for 22 yards.
Nagy rightfully celebrated a strong running game and his depth against the Raiders: Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert combined for 34 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown, and fifth-string tight end Jesper Horsted caught a touchdown pass. But the Bears scored 20 points, gained only 252 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per play.
The yards and yards per play are the fewest the Raiders have allowed in five games this season. The 20 offensive points are the second-fewest. And as productive as Williams and Herbert were, even the Bears’ average of 3.9 yards per carry was the second-lowest against the Raiders this season.
Nagy indicated this isn’t the offense he envisioned when he was hired, but this established identity is just a start — with room for growth.
‘‘You adapt to your personnel that you have,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Every year could be a little different. I think you see that with some offenses as they grow and get to certain things.
‘‘What I like is that I think we have a really good mix right now within our offense of ways to get things. If they shut something down, we’re able to get to it because we have some multiplicity within the offense. I’m good with it. I like it.’’
The challenge for Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is to build off the success of the last two games. The new emphasis on pass protection and the running game after the debacle against the Browns in Week 3 produced big plays on the ground and in the air against the Lions, including four pass plays of 27 yards or longer. Against the Raiders, however, the Bears’ longest pass play was 18 yards — and that was on a short pass to Williams out of the backfield.
The Bears were just taking what the Raiders were giving them, Nagy said. Now it’s time to zig when the defense zags, and Nagy seems confident he is well-equipped to do that — maybe better than ever.
‘‘You’re always trying to stay one step ahead of the defenses,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘Maybe some games there are some play-actions that are more successful than others. Maybe it’s drop-back or maybe it’s RPO or it’s getting out on the edge with movements and naked.
‘‘It’s all based off the things that you see that a team is [doing]. For instance, [the Raiders] had a plan of trying to defeat us in certain areas, and we saw that and adjusted to it. Every week, you’re gonna have that. We have to figure out what it is.’’
That has been problematic for Nagy through most of his three-plus seasons as the Bears’ coach. One difference now is that Fields is the starting quarterback. He is going through obvious growing pains as a rookie, but as he gets comfortable — assuming that happens — he’ll put more pressure on defenses and offer Nagy and Lazor more options to make the right call.
For what it’s worth, Nagy seems to have picked his lane. Even if it’s closer to the car-pool lane than the express lane, it’s still one lane. You have to start somewhere.
‘‘You create an identity, you stick to it,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And when you know that’s who you are, you understand you’re going to win and lose. But you know when you win and lose, you’re doing it with an identity. So the growth part with us is being able to schematically grow and continue to change things up.’’