The Bears are optimistic that their offense will begin to click in their third game of the season Monday night in Washington.
“You just gotta believe this week is gonna be the week,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. “So, we haven’t been executing the way we want to. There is definitely some things that we are missing on film, but we’re coming together, and we’re correcting them. The most important thing to me is that my guys still believe in me.”
In two games, Trubisky has thrown for 348 yards and completed 58.3 percent of his passes. He has yet to throw a touchdown. It has been an unspectacular start for offense that took massive steps forward last season and for a quarterback who threw for 303 yards in his first playoff start last season.
Coach Matt Nagy continues to preach patience, perhaps seeing some similarities to the start of last season when Trubisky threw for an average of fewer than 200 yards through the first three games. Trubisky broke out in a Week 4 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing for 354 yards and six touchdowns.
The key to the turnaround, according to Nagy, will be keeping focus.
“Making sure we have the earmuffs on and the blinders,” said Nagy. “And I say that. I mean that. It’s hard in this world today because it’s everywhere. People are talking and saying things, and when you’re doing real well, everyone’s all about it. When you’re not doing well, everyone’s all about it. So we have to make sure that we control what we can control and that’s today’s practice.”
There have been glimmers of hope throughout the first two games. The offensive line improved between the first and second week. The rushing attack topped 150 yards against the Broncos. Trubisky was able to move the ball against the Packers, seeing a few drives stall out due to inopportune penalties. Trubisky believes that the team around him has not lost faith.
“We’re so close,” said Trubisky. “We have that belief within our offense, and it’s just the type of guys we have around us. I’m always going to stay positive and believe that the next game is going to be our best game. And those guys believe that too. We want to score touchdowns.”
Nagy acknowledged that the perception of head coaches and their quarterbacks are often entwined. The pair will get more credit when things are good—and more blame when things go wrong.
“We need to make sure—meaning myself and Mitch—that we know that we have support from the teammates,” said Nagy, “from coaches, and from all us together. It’s a ‘we’ thing.”
At the moment, Nagy and Trubisky have the support of the other players in the building. While the defense ranks among the best in the league, the ending of the game against the Broncos has led some of the veteran leaders of the defense to stay humble.
“We have total faith in the offense, just like they have total faith in us,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “I really believe there’s going to be times like, for example, fourth quarter, right? We give up a touchdown; we give up a two-point conversion, and now we need the offense just to give Eddy (Piñeiro) the shot at the field goal.”
It was that drive and Trubisky’s 25-yard throw—his longest of the game—that set up the game-winning field goal. Nagy believes that there was more than luck involved in that final drive. He sees a pattern in Trubisky’s late-game performances.
“The thing we’ve got to keep in mind here,” said Nagy, “Mitchell ended up, at the end of the season against Philadelphia, when everything was on the line, that kid took us right down the field and gave us a chance to win. Okay? I think we all agree with that.”
In a time crunch, Trubisky came through on Sunday, something that Nagy will not forget.
“He was put in a position this last game to take us down the field with 31 seconds to go and [he] put us in position to win,” said Nagy. “Depending on what went on in the game before that, did he have that opportunity to do it? He did. So let’s figure out–I need to–where are we at. He has it in him at the end of the game.”
The perception of Trubisky as an even-keeled quarterback that can step up when needed most has started to grow, and the victory against the Broncos could be the confidence boost that he needs.
“I really do believe that Mitch has ice in his veins,” said Amukamara. “Those moments don’t scare Mitch.”