Mitch Trubisky, Bears’ offense reach a new level: good and getting better
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A six-touchdown performance against the Buccaneers in September was a breakthrough for Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky. But an arguably more impressive effort — three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 148.6 passer rating Sunday against the Lions — was just another step in the right direction.
That’s how far Trubisky and the Bears’ offense have come. Given an opportunity to gush about his pet project Monday in the aftermath of the Bears’ 34-22 victory against the Lions, coach Matt Nagy was notably succinct when he was asked what impressed him most about Trubisky’s performance after watching it on videotape.
‘‘Just what I thought [Sunday],’’ Nagy said. ‘‘He threw the ball on time with conviction.’’
The Bears head into their game Sunday night against the Vikings — a showdown, believe it or not — with an offense that not only is on a roll but seems to have room for growth.
With five touchdowns against the Lions, the Bears have scored 29 offensive touchdowns this season, exceeding their 16-game total of 26 last season. They are tied for sixth in the NFL in offensive touchdowns this season; they were tied for 29th last season.
Under Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, the Bears have reached a new level just past midseason: They’re good and getting better. In their first three games, the Bears were 30th in the NFL in average yards per play (4.4) and tied for 29th in touchdowns (four). In their last six games, they are fourth in average yards per play (6.6) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (25). They trail the Rams (9-1), Chiefs (9-1) and Chargers (7-2) in both categories.
The Vikings, who are coming off a bye week, will provide a better test of where the Bears’ offense is at this point of the Nagy era. But the Bears seem to have reached a point where production is more about what they do rather than what defenses do to them.
‘‘Controlling what we control, doing what we do well,’’ Nagy said when he was asked what he thought were the best indicators of long-term success for the offense. ‘‘Minnesota, that’s a pretty good defense, to say the least. So our guys have to be really excited about that. We’ve just got to do what we do.’’
Asked after the game against the Lions what he was most pleased about, Trubisky — who completed 23 of 30 passes for 355 yards — pointed to big-picture things rather than any key throw or touchdown.
‘‘Just being comfortable in the pocket,’’ he said. ‘‘Being good with my eyes and my feet and being positive on first and second down. Just probably most of all my mindset. Proud of my teammates — the way they believed in me, continue to have my back and the work we put in in practice and just translating that to the game.’’
There is still one notable area that needs improvement: The Lions stymied the Bears’ running game, limiting Jordan Howard (11 carries, 21 yards) and Tarik Cohen (seven carries, 15 yards, one touchdown) to a combined 36 yards on 18 carries.
‘‘You can’t go through this thing and be one-dimensional; it’s just too easy for defenses,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘We need to improve our run game. We’re not going to stop until we get it figured out. Yeah, it’s about players and execution, but we need to do our job, too, and figure out what’s best for the run game.’’