The mystery of whether or not Mitchell Trubisky’s removal from the final drive of the Bears 17-7 to the Los Angeles Rams loss was due to injury or performance will linger around Halas Hall for the rest of the week, if not longer. Perhaps it was a bit of both. The image that circulated around Twitter of Matt Nagy apparently breaking the news to his quarterback paints the picture of an emotional benching, but further review of the play he was said to injure his hip on leaves a possibility that it was due to injury.
“We’ll have to find out more here,” Nagy said of his quarterback’s injury. “We have to see how serious it is, number one. And so we’ll do that here when we get back and find out exactly where he’s at.
“The kid did not want to come out but at the same time we had to know exactly what was going on.”
What was going on may have been injury-related. It could also be Trubisky continuing as the quarterback he’s been. Not including the Vikings game he was injured in, he failed to eclipse the 200-yard mark for the fourth time this season, completing 24 of 43 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was taken out of the game for Chase Daniel with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter, a move that, in the moment, seemed to signal the end of an experiment that was only in its third year. The apparent benching of Mitchell Trubisky may have been the official conceit from the Bears that their drafting of and investments in Trubisky were all for not. But a different story arose, that Trubisky suffered a hip injury in the game, limiting him to the point that necessitated removal.
“I was just trying to keep it loose in the second half and be able to make plays for my team,” a solemn Trubisky said afterward. “And it just kept getting tighter and tighter in the hip region. And I just couldn’t move around like I wanted to. And I was just throwing with a lot of arm and I was trying to make plays and stay on the field and fight through. Just disappointed I couldn’t finish the game out.”
Naturally, much of Twitter all of a sudden became doctors and weighed in on the situation, trying to find the true answer he was taken out. It’s silly to spend time trying to figure out what the motivations for Nagy’s decision were, but because of the timing, each option still raises questions. Assuming it was because of the hip pointer still doesn’t explain why the decision came on the last drive of the game. Trubisky said it happened in the second quarter and it was limiting what he could do. Why does that decision come on the final drive of the game? It is fine to make that decision, but it seems to be one that came from a lack of communication if it took so long to be made.
Regardless of how the game ended, only one thing mattered: Another loss for the Bears, who are now 4-6. The same script was followed: A good defense just not having enough to make up for a broken offense.
“I just felt like we never could get into a flow,” said Taylor Gabriel, who had seven receptions for 57 yards. “We never could get into a rhythm. And I mean that was all night.”
To make matters worse, there remains no answer at kicker, as Eddy Piñeiro missed two field goals in the first half that could have changed how the second half of the game was played.
“Not worried about anything right now,” Piñeiro said. “Just got to keep making kicks in practice and just go back, see what I did wrong and just try to make kicks.”
The Rams gained only 267 yards of offense, and the Bears prevented Jared Goff from any sort of rhythm, letting him throw only 173 yards on 11-of-18 passing and one interception. Todd Gurley looked revitalized though, and the loss of both Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan caused the Bears to get gashed on the ground, allowing 110 rushing yards on the night.
If there are any positive takeaways, Roquan Smith looked like himself, making 11 tackles and an interception. He’s performed better over the past few weeks, and for a Bears team likely to make a franchise-altering change at quarterback on the fly, they will need players like him to play at a high level.
Sunday night may have been an inflection point for this regime. Injury or not, there are massive issues at quarterback that have persisted, if not gotten worse, since year one. Any improvement on offense from this point forward will likely only be incremental, and even a massive leap forward won’t be enough to save their season. In front of a national audience, the Bears showed just how far away they are.
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