In the afterglow of Sunday’s last-second victory, Bears coach Matt Nagy is still looking inward.
Two weeks removed from preseason predictions of a memorable year, the Bears seemed to have lost a bit of the luster of preseason expectations.
"Our own expectations is not to be 31st in the NFL in offense right now, I can tell you that," said Nagy.
The Bears have scored 19 points through two games. Their primary offensive weapon has been kicker Eddy Piñeiro, who entered the season as one of the team's most prominent question marks. However, there was some improvement between the first two weeks. The team put together two second-half scoring drives to beat the Broncos. The running game reappeared, as Nagy vowed it would in the days after the loss to the Packers.
"There's a little bit of rhythm to it," said Nagy. "So when I say that, I feel like right now some of those chunk plays like the one yesterday with C.P.—with Cordarrelle (Patterson)—you could sense it. After that play, you could really feel that sense, that vibe on the sideline, guys running off like there was a rhythm to 'OK, next play's in. We're going with this. We're gonna keep our foot on the pedal.'"
The Patterson play, a 46-yard sweep that catalyzed the Bears’first touchdown drive of the season, didn't just stand by itself. A 12-yard carry by David Montgomery preceded the run, and a 17-yard fly sweep by Taylor Gabriel followed.
The Bears found success running the football.
"I feel like for us, just looking at the tape and seeing it, right now it's just about getting into that rhythm and then understanding the execution of the plays," said Nagy. "And us as coaches, too, making sure that we're putting them in optimum position to make the plays with whatever play call is made. We're not running different plays. We're not running anything different than we did last year."
While much of the attention has been on the play of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Nagy emphasized that the entire offense needs to be sharper. He highlighted a supposedly errant throw to Allen Robinson II during the last drive of the game.
"You don't know the specifics of our offense, you would say that was a bad throw, right?" said Nagy. "But guess what? It wasn't. You want to know why? And I can say this to A-Rob because he does a lot of routes. In that route specifically it was supposed to be a flat route, he was supposed to flatten it off. But because he went high, it looked like a bad throw, right? So when everybody sees that, who does it go to? The quarterback, right? But really he's throwing it to where he's supposed to throw it."
The past three starts have been among the roughest stretch in Trubisky's career. However, in all cases, the third-year quarterback has driven the ball down the field to give his team an opportunity to win.
Nagy has been candid about the early struggles of the offense, but he isn't resigning himself to a season full of tight, low-scoring games.
"We feel good with where we're at," said Nagy. "I think it just comes down to more rhythm and just keep trusting in one another and keep fighting through it. Eventually, it'll crack. And when it does, I think it's going to be pretty good."