Why fans should stop complaining about the Bears’ ugly victories

Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was trying this week to explain coach John Fox’s way of thinking when he stopped and smiled.

‘‘You guys know Foxy,’’ Loggains said. ‘‘The game he talks about more than any is when he completed two passes and won a game.’’

You could hear a collective city roll its eyes. Fox has coached in two Super Bowls and been a coordinator in a third. He has coached future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Julius Peppers, among others. But he tells war stories about Tim Tebow going 2-for-8 for 69 yards in a 17-10 Broncos victory in 2011?

Fans spent the days after the Bears’ 17-3 victory last Sunday against the Panthers bemoaning the fact that rookie Mitch Trubisky threw only seven passes, completing four. They declared the offense to be somewhere between boring and Neanderthal.

Bears head coach John Fox. (AP)

To those griping about an ugly victory, stop. Fox was 10-27 with the Bears before their first winning streak in almost two years. The Bears had won 15 of their last 50 games. Neither Fox nor the fan base is in any position to criticize a victory, no matter how unattractive.

To his credit, Fox didn’t apologize. Why should he? He has to win this season to keep his job. He doesn’t have to worry about how many points your fantasy players are scoring.

A fellow coach understands.

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‘‘Look, John’s smart enough,’’ said Saints coach Sean Payton, who teamed with Fox on the Giants’ coaching staff and is still a close friend. ‘‘Our No. 1 job each week is to win. Three weeks from now, no one’s going to care how many passing attempts or rushing attempts there were in a given game.’’

About those passing attempts: The Bears have thrown a combined 24 passes in their last two games, including a touchdown throw by running back Tarik Cohen.

Even Payton, whose offenses finished among the top four in total yards every season from 2011 to 2016, understood the finer points of restraint in the Bears’ victory against the Panthers.

‘‘If you watch the way the defense is playing in that Carolina game, I’m not so sure that I’m not handing the ball off every snap, as well,’’ Payton said.

That doesn’t make the strategy sustainable, of course.

‘‘I think last week was an anomaly,’’ Fox said. ‘‘You want balance.’’

While the Bears don’t want to race the Saints to 30 points Sunday, they won’t throw only seven times, either.

‘‘I just don’t see a game unfolding that way again,’’ Loggains said. ‘‘If it does, great. That means we won and the defense played great and [safety Eddie Jackson] scored two touchdowns again. But we hope that we’re throwing the football and being balanced and aggressive and that Mitchell continues to grow.’’

The idea that Trubisky handing the ball off against the Panthers somehow stifled his long-term development is ridiculous. His growth curve this season shouldn’t be measured by how many times he throws in a game but by what he does on the throws that are called.

Besides, one of the biggest criticisms of the Bears last season was that third-string quarterback Matt Barkley threw as many red-zone passes (31) as running back Jordan Howard had red-zone rushes.

Receiver Josh Bellamy understands fans want offensive excitement, but he cautioned: ‘‘Sometimes that’s just not how the game goes.’’ He doesn’t see the point of parsing a victory when he has been taught his whole life what’s most important.

‘‘It’s a win,’’ he said. ‘‘You ever seen an ugly win in Little League?’’

Guard Kyle Long, the son of Raiders great Howie Long, channeled late Raiders owner Al Davis when he was asked if he believed in ugly victories.

‘‘Wins are wins, baby,’’ he said.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

 

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