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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.