Chicago Fell For The Backup QB Again, But Bears Have More Holes Than Foles

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You live in Chicago long enough and watch the Bears long enough, you learn to live by one rule:

Do not fall in love with the backup quarterback.

Just don’t. The Chicago Bears put everything into Mitch Trubisky for the past 3½ years as the team’s Next Great Quarterback. Of course, the term “next’’ implies that they had a previous great one, and they did: Sid Luckman, who wore a leather helmet and retired 70 years ago.

But this week, they finally benched Trubisky and went with backup Nick Foles against the Indianapolis Colts. Nick Foles. I fell for it, I admit. Chicago fell for it too. We all fell for Nick Foles. We still haven’t learned after all.

Colts 19, Bears 11. Foles isn’t the answer. The Bears had three points until the first touchdown of the Foles era, which came with 3:47 left in the game when the Colts let him throw 10 yards at a time.

The NFL is breaking all kinds of scoring records inexplicably. With no preseason, offenses haven’t had a chance to get their timing down. Defenses should be way ahead of offenses, but it’s just not happening that way. Except in Chicago.

Same old Bears. Good defense. No quarterback.

General manager Ryan Pace has had six years to build the Bears. This is the Super Bowl window he created. It’s supposedly open now. Pace made Trubisky the second overall pick of the 2017 draft, selected ahead of Pat Mahomes, even though they told Mahomes he was their guy. This should be Trubisky’s year.

The Bears gave him $29 million over four years. During the offseason, they gave Foles $21 million guaranteed over three years.

They have $50 million worth of quarterbacks who can’t play.
They spend very little on a supporting cast. 

It’s true that the Colts are really good. On Sunday, there wasn’t one player on the Bears offense as good as any player on the Colts defense. 

Bears receivers were dropping balls. Offensive linemen couldn’t open holes or hold off the pass rush. The running back couldn’t run. And Foles couldn’t hit a receiver.

At the end of the year, when Pace goes in for an annual job review and his boss says, “Well, you’re doing a fine job at GM, Ryan, because. . .”

How does he finish that sentence? Not only has he not built an offense with a quarterback despite spending $50 million, but has also put together a team that doesn’t have one really good offensive player.

Without looking, who is the No. 2 receiver behind Allen Robinson II? Darnell Mooney, a fifth-round rookie, has 14 catches. That number theoretically makes him the No. 2. Anthony Miller, now in his third season, has yet to develop. He has just nine receptions. The Bears’ most recent big acquisition is Jimmy Graham, a man who is closing in on 34 and has not been a relevant threat at tight end since 2014.

Foles went 26-42 for 249 yards, which sounds OK. But on one drive in the first half, he had completions of 33, 27 and 17 yards. Those passes accounted for 30 percent of Foles’ yards. The drive ended in a field goal.

Chicago is a little unusual in that it prefers defense to offense. It would rather run over you than around you. In Chicago, bloodying someone’s nose is considered an art.

Still, sometimes you’d just like a little bit of a flash. The Bears have a long history of disappointing starting quarterbacks, and the city often places its hopes in the backup. Eventually, the backup fails, too.

At some point, you think you’d learn to expect that, but Foles has a Super Bowl ring. He also came in last week against Atlanta and threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

Foles actually has a history of coming off the bench and bringing a spark to his team. He’s more of a relief pitcher than a starter, which is why the Bears ought to consider starting Trubisky and then switching over to Foles around the end of the first quarter.

I guess it’s too soon to give up on Foles. He did stand well while under pressure in the pocket and did look from one receiver to the next before passing. His feet weren’t hyper.

The Bears are 3-1, and this is who they’ll be all year. Good defense. No QB. A mediocre team.

Late in the third quarter, the scores on TV were scrolling across the bottom of the screen, scores like Cleveland 49, Dallas 38. . .Tampa Bay 38, San Diego 31. . .New Orleans 35, Detroit 29.

Just above that, I looked and saw the score for the Bears: 3.

They then showed Trubisky sitting there on the sideline, looking like the backup now.

He looked awfully good.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.


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  1. Watched the game pretty closely, Foles is a a streak shooter, which explains how he got red hot a few years ago and won the SB, before crashing back down to earth. He’s not a franchise QB, nor is Trubisky. Yes the Bears had a shot at Mahomes and Watson, frankly either would have been a huge upgrade to Trubisky, but I don’t think either would thrive playing for the Bears and Matt Nagy. Nagy is a weak Head Coach and the Bears do a poor job of building offensive weapons around their QB’s.

  2. I think Montgomery is a good running back. O line could use improvement, and Miller needs more consistency. QB is by far the biggest problem though, it’s a miracle the colts only scored 19 points on us with how bad the offense was.

  3. As mentioned, outside of Robinson they pretty much have nothing. The offensive line is atrocious. Running backs, tight ends, receivers(outside of Robinson) are average at best. Thankfully you didn’t use great to describe their defense. I will agree that they are good, far from great. If you follow the money trail it will usually lead you to the issue. As pointed out a lot is being spent on the QB position with not much return. However, are they getting the return from the defense considering how much is being invested? They rarely make game changing plays and yesterday when they had an opportunity they dropped an INT right in their hands. They don’t force turnovers, aren’t very good on 3rd downs and regularly give away field position. When you have the kind of offense the Bears do, the last point(field position) is very important. I don’t know what to think about Nagy because I am not sure any coach would produce any type of consistently good offensive numbers with this group of players. They should have tanked this year and tried to get Trevor Lawrence, but now they messed that up too.

  4. The Bears have a Defense which should keep most opponents under 24 points, that’s good enough to go to the playoffs nearly every year if they had a top 10 QB to go with that defense.

  5. Both Bears lines were pretty much manhandled by the Colts. Bears are playing. ALOT of money to guys like Mack, Jackson, Fuller, and Quinn and they simply aren’t making big splash, game-changing play (bottom half of the league in turnovers and sacks).

    • I agree. I know it doesn’t make sense to criticize the defense considering how poor their offense performs. However, when you dedicate the amount of your payroll that the Bears do to the defensive side of the ball I would expect that they would be making some exceptional plays. Just not seeing that, they play pretty good defense, but pretty good doesn’t really match up with their salaries. Offense is flat out horrible, but sorry I can just give the defense a pass.

    • Sorry, had to look it up lol. Bears defensive spending is 3rd in the NFL. Their offensive spending is 21st in the NFL so really not a huge surprise their offense struggles. As a side note, Colts defensive spending is 31st in the NFL.

  6. Another trend I see is the Bears receivers almost always fall down after they catch the ball. Rarely do you see YAC compared to other teams. Nagy also seems to like to call patterns high outside (70% high out of bounds) or sideways resulting in a loss. Where are the quick crossing routes? Where are the tight ends? Watched with a lot of people Sunday and we were predicting most of the plays before they happened….. THAT is not good and telling.

  7. The offensive line has been their biggest weakness the past few years. They can’t run block. They can’t impose their will on the other team’s defense. When you become none dimensional, and that’s being polite, you are not going to be good. Ever.

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