CHICAGO – Despite that lingering desire to celebrate a team that won five of their last six games, there was a pause.
A team with a struggling offense that made two incredible late rallies to steal a pair of wins from downtrodden teams wasn’t exactly building confidence in a group that looked very similar to 2019. Still, some asked themselves a simple question when it came to the 2020 Chicago Bears group.
Is this 5-1 start for real or a mirage for a team that’s due to get exposed for their offensive shortcomings?
Answers figured to come in a four-game stretch before their bye week when they faced three teams over .500 and a divisional opponent for just the second time this season. Indeed, it has, and it’s not one that Bears’ fans really wanted.
The Bears start was just a smokescreen indeed, masking mostly a flawed offense that appears hopelessly broken as each week passes. Dreams of the playoffs, while still in sight, seem as far away as they did in the John Fox era, despite the fact that the Bears’ defense is doing everything in their power to keep them in games.
Not a change in quarterback or play caller, as fans found out on Monday, have the ability to turn around an offensive unit that got by on a whim in five early victories. The unit gained 149 (!) total yards and nearly half came on a 70-yard field goal drive in the first half.
They had 32 yards in the second half, with their first four producing just three yards. They only scored points thanks to a highlight-worthy 104-yard kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson.
For a third-time this season, the Bears’ defense allowed under 20 points (19 to the Colts & Vikings, 17 to the Titans, who got a touchdown on a fumble return), yet came out on the losing end.
What it’s produced is a well intentioned but flawed group being pulled down by a miserable offense that came into the game 30th in the NFL in yards and points. Incredibly the Bears won five of their first six games in spite of it, but it’s now obvious that start was a mirage.
Counting a team out completely is never smart, but without a massive offensive turnaround, which may have to be done with Mitchell Trubisky after Nick Foles’ late injury left him with a bruised/strained glute/hip, winning just another game or two could be a challenge.
It’s a shame to waste the defense and even Allen Robinson, who is still one of the top receivers in the game despite the offensive ineptitude. But at the moment, the Bears limp into the bye with their broken offense, searching for season-saving answers.
“Just persistence over resistance,” said Nagy when asked about staying positive in this four-game skid. “We had some guys break it down in the locker room at the end of the game there and I was impressed with what they had to say. And again, I’m not going to get into the details of it, but it just goes to show the character that we’re fighters.
“And as hard as it is and as frustrating, like you said, you haven’t won in a month, we got to just keep using that persistence over resistance and just keep fighting and staying together, and eventually something here will hopefully change.”
It’s gonna take finding answers to questions that don’t seem to have one. At least Bears fans have one for the inquiry they had after the first six weeks of the season, even if it is unpleasant.