LAKE FOREST – It was so close to being a completely different feeling around Halas Hall at the start of the Bears’ second week of the 2020 season.
For three quarters and even a healthy amount of the fourth, the team’s bad play early seemed to doom them in what looked to be an opening loss to the Lions. But three scoring drives and three defensive stops later, the Bears found themselves with an unlikely comeback victory.
As Matt Nagy starts to evaluate what happen, he has to find a way to balance what he saw on the positive side at the end of the game with the struggles in the beginning as he looks ahead to the second game against the Giants on Sunday.
“You have to be real certain when you talk about a game,” said Nagy. “The way the game was going the first three quarters, offensively and defensively, to get that win, we feel really good about. Our guys stuck together and turned it up when they had to.
“The problem is we can’t get into that situation.”
To be fair, there was a lot to like about what happened in the fourth quarter to make the team feel better than worse about the effort. That’s especially true when it comes to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who enjoyed perhaps his best quarter of football in a Bears’ uniform.
Per Pro Football Reference, he became the fourth quarterback in Bears’ history to throw for three touchdowns without an interception in the final quarter of a game. He also showed poise in leading the team down the field in a limited amount of time, and his game-winning touchdown throw to Anthony Miller is one of his best with the Bears.
Yet it’s hard to ignore what happened in the first two-and-a-half quarters for the quarterback, who struggled with placement of the ball as he went 8-for-20 in the first half for 110 yards. Only an improved ground game that rushed for 149 yards and 5.3 a carry got the offense moving enough for two field goals.
“We all collectively start looking at the tape and you say, ‘Ok, where are we at? Where are the issues,” said Nagy of balancing the good and bad. “No. 1, we did a really good job of being able to have successful run plays. We were successful in the run game which helps out the play action, so that’s a start.
“Decision making, as you go through the tape there are times that Mitch can be better with some of his decision-making. He needs to and he will. We we keep going back to is, OK, then you get to the fourth quarter and you end up having three really good throws for touchdowns, he was 8-for-10, and in some critical times made some critical throws.
“The biggest thing we have to get to is that consistency throughout the game. We’ve got to be more consistent. We need to help the offense in general to do that.”
On Monday, Nagy had a few obvious ways the offense could do that, starting with two things the Bears struggled with early in the contest.
“Third down, it’s unacceptable for us to be 0-for-7 or 0-for-8. That’s unacceptable, you just can’t have that, you’re not gonna win in this league. So that’s got to get fixed.,” said Nagy. “In the red zone, I said it to you last week, touchdowns, touchdowns, touchdowns, you have to have touchdowns. We did in the fourth quarter, but let’s do it the right way, let’s start from the beginning. Let’s not go 3-and-out to start the game, let’s get a first down, let’s move the sticks.
“That’s what we’re gonna be really hard on everybody in making sure we hold everybody accountable at all times to do your job.”
So this time they might do so for more of the game and perhaps make things a little less stressful in the final 15 minutes.
See more on the Bears on Chicago Football Weekly with Jarrett Payton and Lauren Magiera on Saturday nights during the season at 6 PM on WGN-TV.