THE MORNING AFTER: Three drives of what could be for the Bears
CHICAGO – Was it pretty? No. If Matthew Stafford would have played, could the result had been different? You could make a strong argument for that.
Did the Bears snapping of a four-game losing streak restore faith that they could make a late-season run? Not really.
But for the moment they’ve kept a pulse going for their hopes to make something out of what’s been a disappointing 2019 season in which the team seems, frankly, off. The 20-13 win wasn’t much different, with the team failing to separate for a Lions group without their starting quarterback.
There was just enough offense) and the defense got through an injury to Danny Trevathan thanks to another strong effort from Nick Kwiatkoski. They’re 4-5 on the season, and it had been since September 29th since they’d had the chance to celebrate a win.
“You almost forget sometimes. Four games is a long time,” said Nagy, whose team enjoyed a “Club Dub” celebration after. “And you get up there, and I just sat back and just to be able to watch the guys, what we were so used to doing, seeing them in there, they ended up doing some one-on-one dancing, which is pretty neat.
“It’s exciting. We enjoy it. It brings you together, you know, and then you’re able to coach off of wins a lot easier.”
When he does, he can show the offense a trio of drives that they put together at the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third. For one of the few times this season, Mitchell Trubisky looked like the quarterback everyone might have hoped for.
Starting at 4:40 left in the first half and continuing through the end of the third drive in the stretch with 9:38 to go in third quarter is some of the best offensive football the Bears have played all year. Most of the credit for that goes to the quarterback, who shook off another slow start to get the Bears all the points they’d need on the afternoon.
A 76-yard drive featured a gamble on 4th-and-1 that paid off thanks to a David Montgomery run, three strong throws to Allen Robinson and a strike to Ben Braunecker for a touchdown. The throw-catch is arguably one of the best of the season for the offense, and got the Bears on the board.
The second half began with an 80-yard, five-play drive that was aided by a long throw from Trubisky to Robinson along with a Detroit pass interference penalty. In a play that looked like last year, Trubisky swung a pass to Cohen who ran in for the touchdown. After a turnover, Trubisky hit Gabriel in the endzone on a strong route for the touchdown.
“It felt good. Just go out there and I think that’s what this offense can be when all 11 guys are on the same page, guys getting open, O-line protecting really well and just making some big plays to stay on the field,” said Trubisky of the stretch.
What makes this so incredible is the fact that it didn’t happen at all before or after. It was this shining light in an otherwise slow game for the offense, gaining 21 total yards before the end of the second quarter and then just 36 in five drives after.
This was a glimpse of what this offense can do, and it didn’t last forever, providing a similar feeling to the first half of the game against the Redskins during Week 3. There is a feeling of excitement with necessary skepticism considering the success was so fleeting in this contest as it has been all season.
Trubisky was 10-of-12 for 132 yards in that stretch and 6-for-11 for 31 yards the rest of the time. Nagy pointed to an increase in tempo for the success in that stretch and so did Trubisky, pointing to perhaps a clue as to what can solve the ineptitude of this offense in 2019.
“I think when the call is coming fast and we have the right personnel in the huddle and we’re not substituting a bunch of guys, we’re able to play fast, I think that’s when we’re not thinking as much,” said Trubisky of the up-tempo play. “We just go out there, execute the plays and guys are in the right spot at the right time and we’re just out there making plays. You just have those conversations. You’ve just got to be honest back and forth, and he’s always taking feedback and he’s great with that.
“So, you’ve just got to find ways to build and continue to find ways to see what works for us and what we need to continue to improve.”
Perhaps then a great effort can be more than a few fleeting moments.