Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense took a step in the right direction last weekend and hope to continue along the same path when they face the Rams Sunday night in Los Angeles.
After another slow start, Trubisky threw touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions to lead the Bears to a 20-13 win over the Lions at Soldier Field. He passed for only 173 yards, but the third-year pro didn't commit a turnover and posted a stellar 131.0 passer rating.
Trubisky's performance helped the Bears (4-5) snap a four-game losing streak and escape the basement of the NFC North, leapfrogging the Lions (3-5-1) into third place.
"It just confirms to me that as long as we stick together and work hard, we can overcome anything," Trubisky said Wednesday. "You've just got to take it one week, one game at a time. Just continue to work hard, do our jobs, come together as a family, try to go out there and have fun, and don't worry about results."
It was feast or famine for Trubisky and the offense against the Lions. While they scored touchdowns on three straight drives in the second and third quarters, all nine of their other possessions in the game resulted in punts, including seven three-and-outs.
The Bears had been held to 25 yards on 15 plays on their first four possessions before Trubisky engineered a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive late in the first half. Operating a hurry-up attack, the quarterback completed 7 of 8 passes for 66 yards including an 18-yard TD pass to tight end Ben Braunecker. Trubisky said Wednesday that he likes the up-tempo pace.
"For me and I think for the other guys on offense, it's not as much thinking," Trubisky said. "The plays are a little bit simpler, we don't have as much motion, the defense is usually a little bit more vanilla. They don't usually bring as exotic of looks, so we just go out, we're playing fast, everybody's in their spots, everybody knows their job and we're not thinking. We're just going out there, doing what comes natural, following our instincts and we're just playing fast."
Trubisky rebounded from a slow start against the Lions, something he was unable to do in losses to the Packers, Saints, Chargers and Eagles. So what was the difference?
"I would say it's just staying calm, communication on the sideline and just continuing to believe in my guys and my guys believing in me," Trubisky said. "So just get on the same page and fixing mistakes on the sideline and then going out there, correcting it and just making plays."
Sounds like a simple formula that the Bears no doubt will try to replicate Sunday night in Los Angeles. They'll head into the nationally-televised contest with a much more positive vibe after snapping their four-game skid against the Lions.
"We're not exactly where we want to be yet, but a win definitely gives you confidence moving forward because at the end of the day, no matter what you did you came away with the result you wanted and that's a win," Trubisky said. "We've still got to find ways to pull together, continue to work harder and get better and try to go 1-0 this week. That's the focus and we've just got to continue to stick to that."
Going 1-0 this week won't be easy. Like the Bears, the Rams (5-4) won their division last year but are trying to overcome key injuries and salvage what's been a disappointing season.
The Los Angeles defense is led by tackle Aaron Donald, linebackers Clay Matthews and Dante Fowler and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. In a 15-6 win over the Rams last season at Soldier Field, the Bears rushed for 194 yards but scored just one touchdown.
"They've got obviously really talented players in Donald and they do a lot of stuff up front with twists and getting pressure," Trubisky said. "Last year they kind of zoned us out and tried to keep everything in front and kind of take away our big plays, so for us it's just going to be being good on first and second down, trying to establish drives, stay on the field, and we've got to find ways to score points."
"They did a good job of keeping us out of the end zone and made us settle for some field goals last year, so we'd like to find ways to punch it in and when we get into the red zone, finish drives. That's going to be the focus. But we know we're going against a talented defense and they've played a lot of tough games this year, as have we, so we've just got to find ways to make it happen and on game day execute better than they do."