Payton Presser: Bears offense shines under the bright lights
Hey, Bears fans! The Bears took the field for a second straight Thursday and third game in eleven days. Could they make it three in a row? All the games are must-wins for us fans, but Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys was a must-win for Matt Nagy and his squad. While the Cowboys’ record was only 6-6, they are a playoff contender in their division. The Cowboys also came into the game ranked first in the NFL in total yards per game and passing yards per game. It was a great test for the Bears, who passed it with flying colors. The Bears beat the Cowboys 31-24 under the bright lights on Thursday Night Football. We have so many things to break down. Let’s just jump right into it with my takeaways from the contest.
The Mitchell Report
We’ve all seen Mitchell improving his game over the last month, but Thursday he was the QB we want to see week in and week out. Thursday night was one of his best performances in a Bears uniform. After throwing an interception on the first series of the game, which he probably should have thrown into the third row of the stands, Trubisky calmed down and got to work. He led the Bears to points on his next four possessions with two touchdown passes to Allen Robinson and another to Anthony Miller. The connection with Robinson has been there all season, but the Miller/Trubisky connection has really started the click over the past few weeks. It’s so much fun to watch!
Trubisky completed 23 of his 31 passes for 244 yards, three passing TDs and a rushing TD. The balance to make throws or to use his feet to get himself out of trouble was on display. His ability to run is what I thought gave him a chance to be special. We didn’t see much of his footwork early in the year. But Thursday showed me that when 32 and a little bit of 10 run the rock, everything else falls into place. Defenses have to line up knowing that Trubisky might take off and it causes enough uncertainty. Just ask teams that play the Ravens. Much love to the Bears O Line for stepping up and clearing the way for whoever is running the ball.
Nagy gets his credit too for the game he called. Early in the game, I glanced down to my computer to see the difference with run and pass plays. It was balanced. They ended with 34 runs and 31 pass plays. If you’ve read any of my former Pressers, you know that’s what I’ve been preaching. Nagy seems to have a better understanding for what plays his QB feels comfortable with. I also feel like Nagy is getting more comfortable as a play caller as well. Let’s not forget these two are growing together. With all of the criticism and talk about how 10 started the year, you can’t deny his arrow is pointing up as the season comes to an end.
Roquan’s Injury Hurts
Injuries have really taken a toll on this Bears squad this season. Thursday night, they suffered a monumental one on the defensive side of the ball. Roquan Smith suffered what is said to be a significant pectoral injury in the first quarter. If you follow this team closely, you know what he’s been through this season. Smith’s battle with an off-the-field personal matter seems like such a long time ago now. He found a way to get back on track. Smith is not only the Bears leading tackler, he’s also the future at the inside linebacker position. Losing Smith for the rest of the season would be a big blow to the Bears defense.
Young Guys Stepping Up
One thing that is so much fun to see is young guys and backups getting a chance to shine. When injuries occur, guys have to step up and fill the void. When young players are still trying carve their place out in an organization, they have to ball out. Thursday night we had a chance to see that from this group. Starting with David Montgomery, he balled and showed us why his future is bright. We might need sunglasses down the road to watch him. He had 20 carries for 86 yards. Montgomery has a lot of tricks in his bag. His ability to jump stop, wiggle his shoulders and get up field is amazing. I’ve said this many times before. He is always falling forward when he runs the ball. That’s something you just can’t teach. Other guys stepped up their games as well. LB Nick Kwiatkoski led the team with 10 tackles. Kevin Pierre-Louis finished his day with 5 tackles, a tackle for a loss and a QB hurry. Kevin Toliver filled in for Prince Amukamara, who was out with a hamstring injury. The fact that guys are filling in not only helps this team out right now, but in Toliver’s case this could be an audition for down the line.
I really can’t explain how I was feeling after watching the Bears have success on the big stage of Thursday Night Football. As I saw the offense having success, it prompted me to tweet, “Where has this offense been all season?” As I thought about it after the game, it’s been there. It just took most of the season for them to figure out what works and what doesn’t. They’re still a work in progress. But seeing them have success is very fulfilling. Matt Nagy is figuring out his duties as a play caller and what suits his QB. A few weeks ago I mentioned, if Trubisky was going to progress, Nagy was going to have to switch things up a little. We can’t go back in time, so we have to look to the future and that’s the next three games. All the games are against playoff teams. The Bears need to look at the next three games like the playoffs: single elimination, win and you have a chance, lose and you’re out. We will see what they are truly made of as the season comes to a close. Nagy and his squad are heading to Green Bay for their rematch against the Packers on a three-game winning streak. It’s time for payback, but it’s also time for the next tough task on the Bears list. I’m going to stick with the vibes the Bears have stuck with all season long, one game at a time. That’s the only thing they can do now. They can’t worry about playoffs. They can only play their tails off and let the chips fall where they may. Let’s see where this thing takes us. Buckle up Bears fans, I think it’s going to be a fun ride. Till next time everyone. Beardown!!