New QB, same bland offense: Matt Nagy's Bears continue to struggle moving the ball in loss to Colts

Frank Schwab
·3 mins read

The Chicago Bears’ offense has had its moments this season. They were 3-0 before Sunday, after all.

But a change at starting quarterback didn’t make much difference for an offense that has been mostly stagnant and not getting much better. Nick Foles got his first start after Mitchell Trubisky was benched during last week’s game, but the offense didn’t get into the end zone Sunday until the final two minutes of the game when the Indianapolis Colts led by 16.

The Colts recovered an onside kick after that and won 19-11.

There was a time not long ago when Matt Nagy was NFL Coach of the Year and being propped up as a rising star. You can’t blame Trubisky for Sunday. He was stuck on the bench. At some point, Nagy has to do a little to help out his offense.

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Bobby Okereke (58). (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Bobby Okereke (58). (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Nick Foles didn’t save Bears offense

Even at 3-0, it’s not like the Bears were happy with their offense. Nagy was quick to pull Trubisky after one interception last week against Atlanta. Foles led a fourth-quarter comeback win, and he got the job going forward.

The Bears hoped Foles, who they traded for this offseason, would help change the offense’s trajectory. Chicago ranked 20th in points scored and 17th in yardage, and a lot of that came in furious comebacks against Detroit and Atlanta.

If anything, the Bears looked worse Sunday. They were stuck on nine first downs and three points after three quarters. Indianapolis’ defense has been very good this season, but the Bears should still be better than that at home.

There was no running game to speak of and the passing game couldn’t sustain drives with first downs. Even when Colts star linebacker Darius Leonard was out during the second half with a groin injury, the Bears couldn’t move the ball.

On third-and-1 in the fourth quarter, the Bears had a play with multiple players in motion before the snap, then they handed to receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson. He was stuffed at the line and the Bears punted on fourth down. That sums up the Bears’ offense. There are plenty of tricks and not much substance.

Chicago’s defense was pretty good. Indianapolis’ yards were hard to come by. But it didn’t matter because the offense was awful. That’s not a new problem for Chicago.

Bears have a problem to fix

If Nagy had the answers, presumably we’d have seen it by now.

His offense hasn’t done much. Even in 2018, when Nagy was Coach of the Year, it was Vic Fangio’s defense that was the clear strength of the team. When the defense regressed, the offensive issues were exposed.

In the fourth quarter on Sunday, the Bears finally got a drive going. Then Foles threw wildly to Anthony Miller on third down over the middle and it was picked off. The Bears traded a fourth-round draft pick for Foles and guaranteed him $21 million of his remaining contract. Foles is a hot-and-cold quarterback, and the rest of the Bears aren’t dynamic enough to lift him up when he’s in a cold streak.

The Bears are still in very good shape at 3-1. Plenty of teams have issues to work out and they’re not two games over .500 while fixing things. It could be worse in Chicago. But the Bears can’t be too happy with the direction of their offense. It’s not like there’s another quarterback change to make.

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