Payton Presser: On the I-110 having a Bears conversation
When I sit back and think about how this Bears season has gone, it hurts my heart. I’m not just saying that, I mean it. When we are on the road, after every game, my cameraman Ike and I break down the game on our ride back to the hotel. We both have different perspectives, but always end up coming back to the successes and mistakes from this Bears team. Sunday in LA was a tough ride back to the hotel. The Bears fell to the Rams 17-7 at LA Coliseum. Here are some of our takeaways from what we saw in The City of Angels.
The Mitch/Offense Report
It was a roller coaster day for Trubisky on Sunday night. Let’s start with his stat line. Number 10 finished the night 24-of-43 passing for 190 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 65.1 passer rating. He said he suffered a right hip injury near the end of the second quarter and played through the pain until he was sidelined with just under 4 minutes left in the game.
Ike and I had the same view on Trubisky, the continued mixed bag of unpredictability. He would miss some throws and then throw some strikes, but seemed to throw more misses. Trubisky wasn’t the main reason why the Bears lost on Sunday night, but he didn’t do enough to quiet his critics.
After watching the film, you can see Trubiksy making some throws with no push off his feet or fluidity in his hips. Overall, it was a good game for Trubisky. However, in comparison to top QBs around the league, it wasn’t up to par. Of course, like most teams, Trubisky is the focal point because he is the QB and a lot of the success of the team rides on his shoulders. Sunday’s performance was a perfect example of Trubisky’s usual output: not bad, not great, not enough to get a win. His hot and cold performances drive all of us crazy because one minute you’re on the edge of your chair and then you suddenly find your head in your hands. His receivers didn’t do much to help him on Sunday with quite a few dropped balls and his offensive line could have been better as well. One of those “wow” moments came in the third quarter when Trubisky lead an impressive 12- play, 80-yard drive to start the half that was capped off with an amazing throw and catch to Tarik Cohen for a 14-yard TD. Seeing glimpses of what looks to be a great offense is what frustrates us the most. Why can’t we see more consistency from the offense? Nagy said it himself. You can’t only put up 7 points. There’s not just one person to blame for the offense’s struggles. The whole offense from the top down has to take blame. For whatever reason, Nagy hasn’t been able put his finger on calling a balanced game all season. He had some questionable play calls last Sunday night that still have me scratching my head. The option pitch to David Montgomery on a third-and-one play really stands out, but even more now knowing Trubisky was injured. Where is the rhythm with this offense? Ike said it the best when he looked over at me while he was switching lanes and said, “You know what it’s like to shoot a good game, it’s when you can shoot in a rhythm. I haven’t been able to do that with the offense all season long.” That says it all right there.
Defense Started Fast
You can’t ask for more from your defense. Ike and I talked about it on the car ride on the 110. The defense did what they could to help to win the game. They held the Rams to 281 total yards on the night. Chuck Pagano’s crew gave up 97 of those yards to Todd Gurley on 25 carries. According to Bear Wire, that is the 5th highest rushing total against this defense over the last two seasons. One thing that was good to see in their Sunday night performance was the takeaways. The Bears defense got back to their old ways early in the contest. On the first play from scrimmage for the Rams, Eddie Jackson forced a fumble on Gurley giving the Bears the ball on the Rams 38 yard line. On the next series, Roquan Smith got into the action and picked off Jared Goff. It’s hard to watch this team over the last few weeks without Akiem Hicks. The big man is so vital to the success of the defense. Ike asked me what crazy stuff I was seeing on Twitter as I sat in the passenger seat. I told him that I saw some people questioning the Mack trade. Ike almost swerved off the road. I get it. When the team is not playing well, the criticism lands on the superstars. But if you watch Mack, you can never question his effort. Also, watch how many guys are blocking him on each and every play. He misses Hicks on that line. The Bears also need Leonard Floyd to contribute more on his side. The Bears defense hasn’t had the luxury of playing early with the lead. That’s when they can get after it and get to the QB. It’s been a vicious cycle of too much time on the field. I look over at Ike and say, ”If you don’t have the lead you can’t control the narrative of the game.”
Ike and I have had many conversations about the kicking game over the last few weeks. When it comes to ups and downs this season, Eddy Pineiro has had his fair share. Pineiro missed two field goal attempts in LA. That marks a bad trend for the once-best offensive weapon to start the season. He’s now missed four of his last seven field goal attempts. Sunday’s attempts were both from 48 yards out. That was a much needed 6 points the Bears missed out on. Eddy is now 12-for-17 on field goals for the season. The pressure on him to produce this season was through the roof. He won the job before the season but still hasn’t been the answer. It’s mind-blowing that GM Ryan Pace hasn’t found the right guy to secure that job. It’s a mark that is highlighted on his resume so far. If the Bears aren’t bringing in guys for workouts to push competitions for Pineiro, then they are doing this team a disservice. Ike’s response: “They should have done that last year.”
It’s been a tough year to say the least. The hardest part is the season isn’t over and I fear more painful conversations are to come with my roadie, Ike. We never like talking about a loss. It hurts us to the core. The times we had last year feel like an eternity ago. We both came to the same conclusion at the end of all this. There needs to be change. Not in people getting fired, but a change of philosophy, change in approach, game plan and even how they are doing things on the practice field. The toughest thing to go through is when you’re on a team that’s struggling and try to rack your brain on what’s going wrong. One thing’s for sure. They have to get to the root of it or these things can carry over into games and seasons. There is something to be said about Nagy and Trubisky’s post-game press conference. Something doesn’t feel right. Ike and I talked about how, when we were both listening to their comments, we agreed something seems off with those two. Whatever it is, we’re all going to be watching closer now as the season unfolds. I said to Ike, maybe Nagy can’t turn Trubisky into the QB that Ryan Pace envisioned. Ike said maybe Nagy should try and give the play calling to someone else or maybe it’s all just an unlucky season. You can say maybe to all those things. But the fact is that this team is playing well short of its expectations. We both see a change in the vibe surrounding this ball club. We see the changes that need to be made on the field. Which brings us back to top. We want to see change for the better. As we pulled into the hotel, Ike looked over and said, “Did you see all the Bears fans there tonight? They’re the ones that hurt the most!” He’s so right because not only do I cover this team, I’m a fan first and foremost. I looked back at him and said, “When you love something so much, it hurts when you see things not working.” See you guys next week when the Giants come to town. #Bearsdown