Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has had problems connecting with his receivers in the first half of the season, but he was on target when asked to pinpoint the cause of the Chicago Bears’ frustration.
Sitting in last place in the NFC North with a 3-5 won-loss record going into Sunday’s home game against the Detroit Lions has left the Bears with little to cheer about.
Last week’s 22-14 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles extended their losing streak to four games, and Trubisky needed only two words to answer when asked by reporters after the game the source of the team’s frustration.
“It’s losing,” Trubisky said in a postgame press conference.
“It’s not playing up to what we know we're capable of,” he said, expanding on his answer. “It’s making simple mistakes. It’s getting out-executed. It’s getting outplayed, when we know we’re capable of much more, when we know we have more inside us, when we know we’re talented.
“We’re still coming up short. There are a lot of really simple things we did last year, that we do in practice. On game day, we’re coming up short. That’s why we have this crappy feeling. That’s where the frustration is.
“You can tell we don’t like it.”
Like it or not, the Bears begin the second half of the season hoping that Trubisky begins to play at last year’s level, and with a defense that has played close to last year’s level as follows:
Trubisky: He has a firm supporter in second-year head coach Matt Nagy, even though he may never live up to what Bears management saw in him when they traded up to draft him second overall in 2017 after one season as a full-time starter at North Carolina.
After throwing seven TD passes against seven interceptions in 12 starts as a rookie, Trubisky progressed in 2018 to 24 TD passes and 12 interceptions. His ability to move and avoid the rush and gain yards with his legs made him a dual threat. Trubisky ran 68 times for 421 yards and three TDs.
It’s been a different story all around this year. He missed one start with an injury, but in seven starts he has five TD passes and three interceptions, and only 46 yards on 11 runs.
Trubisky has not lost Nagy’s support.
“When you get into these situations, that’s always the number one person that gets attacked,” Nagy said in a conference-call interview “We understand that. We know the why’s behind a lot of stuff.
“We’re in this thing together. I think it speaks volumes to who we are as a team, as a family, as an organization. It’s just not the way we roll, fellas.
“It would be pretty easy to go ahead and point at one person. That’s not what this is about. We hold everybody accountable. We want to make sure we look for solutions.”
Offensive support: Aside from veteran receiver Allen Robinson II and rookie running back David Montgomery, there hasn’t been much for Trubisky.
With 47 catches and three TDs, Robinson is on pace to match his 94-catch 2018 season – his first with the Bears after four in Jacksonville. Running back Tarik Cohen is next with 34 catches, but he has not been a big-play threat with an average of 5.7 yards per catch.
Montgomery has 406 yards rushing with a long run of 55 yards and 18 catches, with a long reception of 30 yards.
Taylor Gabriel with 17 catches and Anthony Miller with 16 are the top wide receivers behind Robinson.
Meet this week's opponents, the Chicago Bears.
Defense: As the statistics show, the Bears have been good, if not quite up to last year’s level when they were third overall in yards allowed per game (299.7), No. 1 against the run (80.0) and No. 1 in points allowed.
They’re ninth this season in yards allowed per game (322.6), but they’re still stingy with points (18 per game), rushing yards (93.5) and 4.9 yards allowed per play, fourth fewest in the league compared to their league-best average of 4.8 in 2018.
Linebacker Khalil Mack has been a force again in his second season with the Bears. He has 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes defensed.
Hicks effect: The Bears have played the last four games without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who is on injured reserve with an elbow injury. Hicks has 23 sacks in three seasons with the Bears. He had one this year before going on IR.