The Chicago Bears looked much different on Sunday.
The Chicago Bears came back in dramatic fashion to defeat the Detroit Lions on Sunday. It was fantastic to finally have meaningful NFL football back in our lives, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it took a little getting used to. With no fans in the stands, or personnel on the sidelines, and artificial noise being pumped in, it just looked and sounded different.
However, the ambiance was not the only thing that was noticeably different about Sunday’s affair. Specifically, the Bears offense looked dramatically different than it has under head coach Matt Nagy.
For the better part of last year and all offseason, fans gave Nagy the virtual business over social media. Everyone with an opinion about how Nagy should run his offense shared it on the internet. There was a large contingent of fans who have long called for Nagy to run the football more and they got what they wanted on Sunday.
Before the game, we predicted Mitchell Trubisky would throw fewer than 25 passes and the team would rush for 175 yards. At the outset of the game, it felt like both of those predictions would come true. The Bears ran the ball on 5 of the first 8 plays (with one of them being a quarterback sneak).
Despite falling behind, Nagy stayed committed to running the ball, and it wasn’t till the 4th quarter when they were down that they start to throw the ball more and that was out of necessity as they were running out of time. On the game, they finished with 36 passes and 28 runs (for 149 yards).
But it wasn’t just the more balanced ratio that was different. Gone were the plethora of RPOs and read options, replaced with play-action passes. It was a stark contrast from last year where we saw Trubisky almost exclusively in the shotgun formation.
On Sunday, it felt as though we saw Trubisky lined up under center more than we have in the last two seasons combined. It showed that Nagy understands he needs to adapt as a play-caller to help out a quarterback struggling with reading defenses. He likely won’t get much credit for the victory but Nagy deserves a ton of it.