LAKE FOREST – They’re 1-1 on the season, but only one side of the ball and the special teams are smiling.
They’re really the reason the Bears got out of Denver with a rare win against the Broncos on their home field. A flurry of defensive stops along with three Eddy Pineiro field goals aided the team’s 16-14 victory on Sunday.
Yet there’s one thing that’s lingering over the team and fan’s heads as they team now moves onto their third game of the season. That’s the fact that the offense, which many figured would take leaps in the second year under Matt Nagy, is just shuffling forward through two games.
That’s putting it kindly, for the unit is averaging just 9.5 points per game (T-30th in the NFL) and 263.5 yards per game (30th in the NFL) through two games. They’ve only had five passing plays that have gone over 20 yards and none over 40.
Cordarrelle Patterson’s 46-year gain in the third quarter against the Broncos is the team’s longest play of the season.
An inconsistent Mitchell Trubisky, who was expected to take a major leap in his second season under Nagy, has a 65 QB rating and 348 passing yards in an underwhelming effort so far.
So where do the Bears begin to fix it ahead of their third game against the Redskins this Monday night?
“Get back to the basics,” said offensive guard Kyle Long. “That’s one thing (offensive line coach) Harry (Hiestand) always preaches. Back to the basics,” said Long. “When things get a little out of wack, get back to the basics.
“When we use our basics, not many people on earth can beat us.”
Perhaps that will be the case, and there were moderate flashes of that happening in 2018. Yet they were few and far between, and so far there have been none, with the Bears scoring just 19 points in their opening two games. It’s not quite an indictment of the entire season yet, but the talk of Trubisky’s development and the weapons around him haven’t really paid off.
If not for that Patterson run, the Bears might be 0-2 and without a touchdown on the season. It’s not been promising, but the offense isn’t letting the early struggles become overly discouraging.
“All of us just know how good we can be,” said Shaheen. “Keep level-headed when times are great and times when we’re not putting out necessarily what you want to put out. I think we’re all pretty even, and we’re just gonna work and keep moving forward.”
One thing the offense did do was make a critical play to save Sunday’s game against the Broncos. On 4th-and-10 and in need of a long play, Trubisky hit Allen Robinson for a 25-yard gain to the Denver 35-yard line to set up Eddy Pineiro’s game-winning 53-yard field goal.
It’s that play that sticks most in Robinson’s mind when reflecting on the offense so far in 2019.
“It’s a roller coaster. At the end of the day, as long as we want to get back on that roller coaster each and every week, that’s what it really comes down to. We’re trying to improve and get better each and every week,” said Robinson. “At the end of the game, there are lots of ups and downs; struggle the whole game, especially till the last minute or so. We made the plays when we needed to, and that’s ultimately what matters.”
But some more production and a number of points would certainly help.