Analysis

Bears Film Study: Putrid Offense Continues to be the Bears Demise

After watching the Chicago Bears offense struggle against one of, if not the worst defense in the NFL, it’s hard to find many positives. Dowell Loggains still is having trouble with calling plays and personnel decisions. The problem with that is, it’s December, three months into the season. If he hasn’t figured it out by now, he may never. All the more reason to fire this entire coaching staff at season’s end.

Let’s get into the game.   

Mitch Trubisky

John Fox optimistically claimed Mitchell Trubisky had his best day as a professional,“I thought Mitch played arguably his best game. There were a couple decisions I think he’d like to have back, not that they were huge errors.”

In one aspect, John Fox is right. Trubisky went 12 for 15 for 102 yards and finished with a QB rating of 117.2, suggesting a successful outing from the young quarterback. However, the Bears drafted Trubisky to be an exciting quarterback, a play-maker with Aaron Rodgers potential who could always extend plays. Though his statistics show him completing 80 percent of his passes, an improvement from his first few games where he struggled to complete over 50 percent of his passes, that number is actually not too impressive.

On Sunday, however, he looked more likely his teammate Mike Glennon, throwing many short passes, his longest of the day is for just 21 yards. If I take that 21-yard pass out, he would have gone 11 for 14 for 81 yards, resulting in yards per completion of 7.36, below average even for Glennon standards.

Fox emphasized a lack of turnovers by the Bears offense, during his glorified take on the offense. However, this is just a result of the coaches influencing Trubisky to be a game manager rather than a gunslinger. Though this strategy may keep the Bears in games, it certainly won’t allow them to win those games, and may even stunt Trubisky’s growth as this mindset deviates from his natural play.

I noticed that there were times where Trubisky was very quick to roll out of the pocket. He’s clearly uncomfortable at times. It’s good that he is sensing the pressure coming, but he still needs to figure out how to stay in the pocket and continue to look downfield. That’s easier said than done with this group of wide receivers. 

Trubisky needs to learn how to stay in the pocket long enough to allow the play to develop, but not long enough to get sacked. This is something he will need to continue to work on this offseason. 

Running Backs

After watching the first few games of the season, Bears fans were confident that the duo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were going to be something special. Sunday’s game was quite far from that. Jordan Howard rushed 13 times for 38 yards, while Tarik Cohen fared much worse, rushing for five yards in just two attempts. In many Bears games this season when Howard has gone for over 100 yards rushing, he has usually had one big run which boosts his average immensely. Against the lowly 49ers defense, he was unable to find this big run, instead often being tackled for a loss.

Against the lowly 49ers defense, the Bears decided to run stretch plays, instead of playing to Howard’s strengths and running up the middle. This was also the case last week. Again, Loggains has consistently shown his incompetence as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. 

Tarik Cohen’s usage thus far this season has been debated. Cohen is known as the “Human Joystick.” His go-to move is to reverse the field, going backward, which can be dangerous or very successful. In the NFL, against a lowly defense like the 49ers, his strategy occasionally works (as shown by his punt return TD), but more often results in a loss of yards. With that being said, the Bears should still run the ball with Cohen more often in order to keep the defense guessing. 

Offensive Line

Once again, the Bears offensive line was mediocre allowing the 49ers defense to sack Trubisky twice. Let’s put that into perspective though. The 49ers rank 25th in the NFL in just sacks. And even though Trubisky was sacked just two times, he was under constant pressure, that ended drives early. The line continues to struggle in run protection, specifically on those stretch plays I referred to earlier. 

I think the Bears should shut down Kyle Long before the season. It seems like he is aggravating an injury every game. In a lost season Bears, Kyle Long’s long-term health needs to be prioritized to build an optimistic future for this team.

Receivers

In a game, mostly controlled by the 49ers offense, the Bears receivers had very little time to make an impact on the game, with offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains reverting back to his run-run-pass tactics. Despite Tarik Cohen being the top receiver for the Bears with four receptions for 37 yards, there were very few drops by the receivers, a good sign in a season marked by mistakes.

With that being said, the receivers were unable to gain separation from the DB’s causing Trubisky to roll out often in an attempt to extend plays. This has been a common theme this season and will continue until the Bears get some real talent at the position.

After the Zach Miller injury, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Adam Shaheen to gain playing time and experience. However,  Shaheen was quiet on Sunday, recording zero receptions and playing in just 24 percent of offensive snaps. Again, this forces us to question Loggains’ abilities as an offensive coordinator. 

Final Thoughts

This offense still has ways to go before they can win games, even with an above average defense. It really says something when head coach John Fox trusts the defense to block a field goal more than he trusts an offense to score a touchdown with two minutes left: “We felt good about the block we had on the potential field goal. Neither one of those is great options at the 5 and 4-yard line.” Luckily for the Bears, they are losing games at a rapid pace, and have a chance to land the second overall pick in this year’s draft to address their biggest concerns on offense. 

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