Film Study: Five takeaways from the Bears’ 34-22 victory against Lions
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Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was in control Sunday, and coach Matt Nagy loved it.
Running a no-huddle offense early in the Bears’ 34-22 victory over the Lions, Trubisky made the right checks and the right reads.
“It created a nice rhythm for the offense,” Trubisky said. And it jump-started a big day for Trubisky, who threw for a career-best 355 yards and accounted for four touchdowns.
Here are five takeaways after watching the film of the Bears’ victory:
More on Mitch
A few things stand out from Trubisky’s outstanding outing:
• His best pass arguably was his 15-yard completion to rookie Anthony Miller with 3:21 remaining. The gain was negated because of Miller’s penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for spinning the ball on the ground to celebrate the first down, but it still came in a meaningful moment, continuing the Bears’ drive and helping to prevent a comeback by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The Lions used safety Quandre Diggs as a spy against Trubisky, but Trubisky didn’t think about running, keeping his eyes downfield throughout the third-and-five play from the Bears’ 41-yard line. His throw hit Miller in stride on a crossing route.
“That was a really good throw, especially in that situation,” Nagy said Monday. “Great throw.”
• Trubisky officially threw seven incomplete passes, but some were great throws, and some were calculated. Among the incompletions was a deep throw to Taylor Gabriel into the end zone from the Lions’ 31 late in the first quarter. Trubisky hit a diving Gabriel in his hands, but Diggs made an outstanding breakup. Another incompletion was a strike into Miller’s chest on a third-and-eight from the Lions’ 43 in the third quarter, but Miller couldn’t complete the catch.
“That was probably his best throw of the day,” Nagy said.
In the second quarter, Trubisky wisely threw the ball out of the end zone after escaping pressure on a first-down play from the Lions’ 18. Two plays later, his jump ball to receiver Allen Robinson from the 6 resulted in a pass-interference penalty on defensive back Nevin Lawson. Two plays after that, Trubisky scored on a draw.
• Trubisky continued to excel despite the Bears lacking a consistent ground game. What happens when Jordan Howard’s production improves? Howard averaged 1.9 yards per carry against the Lions, which lowered his season average to 3.4.
Callahan keeps it coming
Nickel back Bryce Callahan had another impressive game and made his second interception of the season by snagging Stafford’s pass intended for Marvin Jones in the second quarter.
“It was my leverage,” Callahan said. “The dude ran an outside route. Coach put me in perfect position. I saw the ball, and I undercut it. That was it.”
Callahan nearly made a similar interception early in the third quarter on a third-and-six play from the Bears’ 34. He was one-on-one in the slot against receiver Kenny Golladay, a St. Rita High School product who’s 6-4 and 213 pounds.
“When the ball was thrown, I knew I had to jump pretty high to get up there with him,” Callahan said. “I like that challenge.”
Callahan played 57 of the 78 defensive snaps and had the Bears’ first sack when he blitzed from the right slot — a blitz the Bears have used often.
“I came free and just made a tackle,” he said.
He also missed a sack later in the third quarter on the same blitz on fourth-and-two because he jumped on Stafford’s pump fake.
Floyd in the flow
Linebacker Leonard Floyd had possibly his best game this year, hitting Stafford a team-high three times, including his first sack of the season.
On first-and-10 from the Lions’ 27 late in the fourth quarter, Floyd spun inside of right tackle Rick Wagner and bear-hugged Stafford, who had stepped up.
“It’s been so long since I held a quarterback,” Floyd said. “I just wanted to hold him a little longer.”
Floyd spent much of the game matched up against Wagner, who also allowed a sack to linebacker Khalil Mack. Floyd’s two other hits on Stafford came on stunts to the inside. Floyd forced early, errant throws both times.
Nagy showed off another new wrinkle offensively. On second-and-10 from the Lions’ 18 in the second quarter, Callahan and safety Eddie Jackson both cameoed in the Bears’ backfield. Callahan motioned from right to left, then back to the right, while Jackson was next to Trubisky as the running back.
The look confounded the Lions. Coach Matt Patricia called a timeout.
Callahan and Jackson weren’t included on the play after the break.
“A little treat,” Callahan said. “I don’t want to spoil it. You’re going to have to wait for that.”
Was he disappointed that timeout was called?
“I was,” Callahan said. “Could have got a touchdown.”
Consider it more gamesmanship from Nagy. Each week, he has given opposing defenses new looks and personnel groupings to be mindful of. Last week against the Bills, Jackson was a decoy on a pitch play to running back Tarik Cohen in the red zone.
Roquan Smith had another strong performance that bodes well for the future. It was the second consecutive game that the rookie linebacker has led the Bears in tackles, making a game-best 10.
“What you want to see from Roquan each game is get the game a little slower each game, and each play slower so that he can react and use his instincts,” Nagy said. “You’re starting to see that.”
Smith’s best highlight was sacking Stafford on a pressure on third-and-nine from the Bears’ 29 in the first quarter. He also made two tackles for no gain, including on second-and-goal from the Bears’ 1 against big back LeGarrette Blount.
Smith’s worst play was missing a tackle on back Theo Riddick on Riddick’s 13-yard reception on third-and-15 late in the third quarter. But overall, Smith didn’t have the same issues in coverage that he had against the Bills. On the final play of the third quarter, he broke up a pass to receiver Brandon Powell on a crossing route.