UA-59049186-1 2020 Week 3: Chicago Bears 30, Atlanta Falcons 26 - Good if it Goes

2020 Week 3: Chicago Bears 30, Atlanta Falcons 26

Bears 2020 week 3: Miller TD

Get to the L and hand them the L. (Photo: NFL GamePass)

Player Grades

The grading scale goes from -3 to +3 for each play. Screens are graded as runs. Penalties are counted in whatever phase they were committed. Pre- and post-snap penalties are in the “Misc.” column. “Short” throws are 10 yards or less, “Medium” is 10-20, “Deep” is over 20. Everything else (scrambles, throwaways, reads, etc.) is under “Miscellaneous.” Parentheses in a column denote grades/snaps from the opposite side of the ball and are not included in grades/snaps from the player’s usual side. Snap counts are from Pro Football Reference. Box score and other relevant info can be found at that link as well.

So the trigger was pulled…

Yep. I was concerned that Trubisky was going to have to totally set a game on fire before Nagy made the switch, and while he certainly tried, Nagy didn’t let it get so bad that Foles couldn’t salvage it. Trubisky’s third-quarter interception was the final straw, and for good reason.

Bears 2020 week 3: Trubisky interception

I mean, come on, man. That’s a ball that a decent high school QB should be smart enough to not throw. For a fourth-year pro to do that is ridiculous. That’s not even a case of placing too much trust in your arm and trying to do too much, otherwise known as the Brett Favre special. That’s just a case of not seeing a guy because you have no idea what you’re looking at. I said last week that his throws have gotten better. Going into this game, I pondered the possibility of signing Mitch to a one-year prove-it extension, letting Foles take the reins this year and letting Mitch sit back and learn the offense, which he never really got to do earlier in his career. Of course, that was never going to happen, but still I thought that there was a chance the Mitch could be a quality QB in this league and that that was the path to it. He’s got plenty of athleticism. The throws had looked better. The footwork, while still needing serious improvement, had taken a step (pun absolutely intended) in the right direction. He just couldn’t process the offense. Well, forget about any of that. It’s over. 100% over. This was a complete regression to the 2019 version of Trubisky that repeatedly shot the team in the foot. The same bad decisions being made. Heaves off his back foot to nobody in particular. The whole package. It was all there. He’s not going to be a star, or a quality QB, or even a passable one. Nagy has tried to shape this offense based on what Mitch can do and Mitch still screwed it up. He cannot read a defense. He cannot process this offense. He cannot go through a progression in a timely fashion because he cannot understand that a guy’s not going to be open before snapping the ball and thus check off of him; no matter what, he still has to start at #1, and then even when a guy’s going to be open, he doesn’t recognize that until he actually sees the guy open. Both sacks he took were his fault. He held the ball too long because he can’t make a decision because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Frankly, the writing was on the wall last year when he was botching RPOs just about every time Nagy tried one. This moment only didn’t come last year because Ryan Pace, for some reason beknownst only to him and cut from the same cloth as the rest of his decisions at the position, decided that going into the 2019 season with Chase Daniel as the backup was acceptable. Had there been a backup capable of doing anything other than putting together Twitter videos demonstrating how utterly forgettable he is, even to his own teammates, Mitch gets yanked at any one of a multitude of opportunities, is shipped out to the first bidder during the off-season, and Foles is the guy from the get-go this year. Or maybe said capable backup catches on. The Bears were one of the teams looking into Gardner Minshew going into last year’s draft, after all. I digress. If Foles is the guy from week one, the Bears are 3-0, but instead of the media narrative being that we’re lucky to be here, everyone’s talking us up as a real contender after handing out three clobberings. And if you think I’m exaggerating, remember that Foles was a bad call and an Anthony Miller drop away from throwing 5 TDs in less than a full half. If he starts this game, the Bears hang 50 on the Falcons or at least come darn close to it.

So what can we expect from Foles?

I’m not going to pretend Foles is an All-Pro waiting to happen, but he can be the steady presence this team needs to unlock the potential of Matt Nagy’s offense and not waste this defense. He had a few mistakes Sunday, to be sure. He missed a few throws and threw a couple dangerous passes. I can forgive the latter, given the situation. Ideally, he wouldn’t take chances like those. Ideally, the Bears wouldn’t be down 16 points.

How do the Bears replace Tarik Cohen?

The Bears signed Lamar Miller to the practice squad this week and he should be on the 53-man roster as soon as he gets up to speed. In the interim, they can increase Patterson’s role on offense and have Ted Ginn return punts. Ginn’s not the ideal fit there, but he at least has experience and allows Eddie Jackson to remain focused on defense.

Anything else on offense?

Yeah, remember last week we talked about the Bears’ new tendency of cut blocks on the back side of run plays? Well, Juan Castillo obviously doesn’t read these posts, because it’s still happening and it’s still not working.

Bears week 3: Cohen outside run

There’s a cutback lane for Cohen there if Leno isn’t on the ground. I’ve been very happy with Castillo thus far except for that. Knock it off. If they keep doing it, I’ll reach out to a couple pals on Twitter that coach offensive line in hopes of getting an explanation because I’m lost here. In outside zone, you disregard the end man on the line on the backside because he’s not going to be a factor in the play. The constraint to that is split zone, which looks like outside zone, except that a blocker comes across the formation to block the backside end man. This keeps the linebackers honest, because if they flow too hard to the play side and play it like they would play outside zone, there’s going to be a gaping cutback lane. What the Bears are doing here is just…I dunno man. In outside zone, Leno’s job here is to get to the second level. This looks like the principles of split zone, but run in the worst way possible. Next week’s post might be an abbreviated one since it’ll be a quick turnaround with the game on Thursday, so I’ll try to have a better answer for you in the recap of the Bucs game.

What’s happened to the defense?

Dude, I’ve been saying since last year that they need to go back to a zone scheme. Pagano’s man scheme is part of the problem with the run defense because it’s taking guys away from run support, which they absolutely can’t afford during a season sans Eddie Goldman. Bilal Nichols is not the space eater in the middle of the line that a defense like that requires. John Jenkins is injured and was JAG when he was healthy anyway and I’m not expecting anything of Dan McCullers beyond filling the JAG spot vacated by Jenkins.

The pass defense, I’m less worried about. Matt Ryan ended up completing only half his passes for 238 yards and over a quarter of that came on one deep strike to Calvin Ridley. The only Bear to finish with a coverage grade more than a hair into the negatives was Eddie Jackson, who is the one guy in that secondary I am 100% not worried about.

What does this mean going forward?

The run defense is going to be in for a tough test. The Colts have a strong offensive line and a quality running back in promising rookie Jonathan Taylor. Their passing game is a question mark with T.Y. Hilton having a slow start to his 2020 season and rookie Michael Pittman, Jr. out for the game. The name of the game is get to Rivers, get the Colts behind the chains and limit what they’re able to do with the run game.

On offense, the Bears can attack the Colts with a lot of slants over the middle. A starting quarterback capable of consistently hitting receivers in stride helps here. If the Bears can hit a few of those, that should open up some opportunities deep. The same qualification relative to the starting quarterback applies here.


Hicks, A-Rob, Foles, Whitehair, Tashaun Gipson


Trubisky, Nichols, Trubisky, Daniels in pass pro, Trubisky

Four Stars of the Game

4star Nick Foles

3star  Allen Robinson

2star  Akiem Hicks

1star  Cody Whitehair

Honorable Mention: Tashaun Gipson

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

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