Call it a tryptophan hangover or just a tough afternoon against the team with the best record in the NFL. Whatever it was, the Bears had it on Sunday. The team had no chance in the Week 12 contest against the Eagles, losing 31-3 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field. The Bears offense was unable to generate much, recording only eight first downs on the day. That was partially due to strong defense by the Eagles. But it was also due to an inability to capitalize on opportunities. Chicago is generally a running team, but on Sunday it gained just six net rushing yards, the second-fewest total ever recorded in a single game in franchise history.
Quarterback Mitchell Truibsky wasn't much better through the air. The rookie completed 17-of-33 passes for 147 yards, with no touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. That performance gave Trubisky a quarterback rating of 38.3, the lowest total so far in his seven-game career. Again, credit is due to Philadelphia for taking away Trubisky's options down the field. But there are also some things he and the rest of the team's offense could have done to make the passing game more of a factor.
"We played bad and we played a good team," Trubisky said once the game had finally come to an end. "So put those two together you're going to struggle. We put ourselves in bad situations, third-and-long. We weren't being efficient on first and second down, I got take care of the football."
Get an insider's look at a Bears game day with these behind-the-scenes photos and angles that the TV cameras didn't capture in Philadelphia.
That inability to do anything on first down really proved to be an issue for the Chicago offense. On 18 occasions Sunday, the Bears took a first down snap. Thirteen of those 18 plays resulted in one, zero or negative yardage for the offense. Two of the negative first down plays were fumbles by the Bears where the offense was able to recover the ball behind the line of scrimmage. On another occasion, Trubisky threw a first-down pass that was intercepted by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, only to have tight end Dion Sims strip the ball from Jenkins on the return. Tre McBride fell on the fumble and gave the Bears an overall gain of 10 yards on the play, among their best first down gains of the entire afternoon.
Third downs weren't much better for the Bears, as Chicago converted just three of their 13 chances. With not much happening on early downs and a struggle to move the chains on third down, the offense was the equivalent of a car stuck in neutral. Only three drives all game lasted longer than four plays, two of which came in the fourth quarter.
Trubisky said the performance bothered him, as he has high expectations for himself and his teammates. But while some players may never want to relive such a poor showing, the first-year player said he is likely to begin reviewing film of the Eagles game on Sunday night, once the team returns to Chicago. It is that passion for learning and improving that makes Trubisky a leader at such a young age.
"You can learn from every opportunity, every mistake and every game we play, so we're definitely going to look at it and get better from it," the quarterback said. "At the same time, you want to bury it and get ready for next week."
Trubisky does have some positives to take away from Sunday's performance in Philadelphia. He is developing a strong rapport with wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, who led the Bears with four catches and 64 yards. All four of Inman's catches went for 11 yards or longer, and Trubisky threw six passes that went for completions of 11 or more yards on Sunday.
For the second week in a row, the rookie also showed off his skills as a runner. Just as he did last Sunday against Detroit, Trubisky evaded pressure and was able to run for a first down late in the fourth quarter. This week, he showed off his speed, running by a pair of defenders before getting out of bounds following a gain of 11. In fact, Trubisky's 12 rushing yards were a team-high on the afternoon, an alarming sign for a Chicago offense that entered the game averaging nearly 132 rushing yards per game.
For the Bears, it was mostly an afternoon to forget in Philadelphia. Facing a talented team, there were too many offensive problems to overcome. Nobody is absolved from the blame, but the team is well aware they need to play better. The emotions that come with a blowout loss can either deflate a team's sense of confidence or inspire them to do better in the future. Trubisky, the young leader of the offense, said he will make sure that it's the latter approach the Bears take.
"Being (frustrated) can be a good motivator," Trubisky said. "But you still got to execute and do your job. It's good to play with emotion but you can't let it get out of hand. So hopefully, we can bounce back from that. I know I don't like being embarrassed and hopefully everybody else feels the same. So use that as a motivator, come back this week, go back to work, compete in practice and play with a little emotion, play with a little passion. Hopefully that helps us moving forward."