We’ve all heard the fan outcry: “Mitchell Trubisky needs to be let loose!” “We need more first down passes!” “Stop with the run-run-pass!”
It just so happens the game in which John Fox has gotten the most criticism in the game in which he most followed what fans want.
Before I get into this, I just want to make something clear: John Fox is not absolved from blame for last Sunday’s game against the Packers. In fact, the contrary. He deserves a lot of blame for leading a team into battle completely unprepared after having more than double the preparation time of the opposition.
That is a completely fair gripe to have from that loss to Green Bay. However, criticizing the gameplan that the Bears used in that game, in the vast majority of cases, is incredibly hypocritical.
All those outcries I mentioned in the opening of this article were all covered. All of them.
Of the twenty-four first down plays the Bears ran, thirteen of them were passing plays. That is more than half of their first down plays.
Sure, this was due in part to the fact they were trailing at the end of the game. However, even before their second to last drive, which consisted of zero runs, they had passed on seven of their eighteen first down plays. That is as many passes on first down as total passes Mitchell Trubisky threw in total against the Carolina Panthers.
In fact, the Bears rank 13th in the NFL in first down passing percentage the past three weeks, with a 63.89% rate (per teamrankings.com).
Trubisky threw 35 passes in total, topping his season high of 32, which came in the Bears’ last game against the New Orleans Saints. That topped his previous season average of 20 passing attempts per game. It’s almost like the coaching staff has decided to do what the fans have been yearning for, and have let Mitchell Trubisky loose.
Trubisky’s 33.5 passing attempts per game would still be below average but would be the 18th most passing attempts per game if it held up for an entire season. Surprisingly, that would trump Philadelphia’s, Dallas’s, Los Angeles Rams’s and Kansas City’s amount of passes per game this season.
However, neither of these even come close in comparison to the heat Dowell Loggains has come under for his predictable play calling. However, even that, the biggest gripe Bears fans had towards their offensive coordinator, went out the window on Sunday.
The Bears only had that sequence, rushes on 1st and 2nd down and then a pass on third, twice. The entire game. Only twice.
In comparison, the Green Bay Packers had five such sequences against the Bears. It’s not like Mike McCarthy is a good coach or anything, but come on, you have to give Dowell Loggains and John Fox props where it is due.
After all, this is the gameplan we all wanted. We wanted to see a lot of passing. We wanted to see unpredictable play calling.
And we got it.