Is Nick Foles the answer?


Preetham Gopu, Contributing Writer

The Bears 2020 NFL season so far has come with many surprises, including outstanding plays by their rookies, but they have been mainly overshadowed by the poor offensive performance. While their 5-2 record is one of the best records in not only the NFC, but the NFL, there are many glaring concerns for them as shown against the Rams.

First, let’s start with what they had in Mitchell Trubisky. With Trubisky running the offense, the Bears played a very conservative style in which they ran the ball 48% of the time, which could be one of the signals that display a lack of trust and hope the Bears have in Trubisky’s game. They tried to compensate for this by running the ball on early downs often, hoping that their rushing game could lead to points. And while many would question this type of playcalling, the Bears had no other option. Trubisky showed that he was a terrible passer, only completing around 59% of his passes in the two full games that he played, paling in contrast to the league average 66%. Due to this low completion percentage, Trubisky couldn’t keep the offense on the field, mainly because he couldn’t convert crucial 3rd down passes in order to sustain drives, forcing them to punt or settle for a field goal far too often

Although Trubisky made many mistakes, they were covered up by the Bears’ outstanding defensive performance. Holding the Lions and Giants to only 36 combined points is no easy task especially with Trubisky at the helm. Due to Chicago’s poor offense and quick three and outs, their defense was forced to make plays that would stop opposing offenses quickly in hopes that the Bears offense would score. Luckily, this happened at the perfect time for them against the Lions. Trubisky finally looked like a first round quarterback, throwing three touchdown passes to win the game in a nail biter. The problem was that we haven’t seen this type of performance from him anytime else, even against an abysmal Falcons secondary. It was at this point where the coaches had enough– it was time for Nick Foles

Right as Foles was put in, we saw immediate success, as he threw three touchdowns in a comeback victory against Atlanta. And although the Bears had a comeback win, the most encouraging result wasn’t the W – it was his pass attempts. Foles had 29 pass attempts in less than two quarters, which is almost as many as Trubisky’s highest pass attempts in a game. Not only does this benefit the offense, but the defense also performs better since they don’t need to be on the field for as much time.

After that comeback win against the Falcons, the Bears completely flipped the script in terms of their game plan. After being one of the lower percentage passing teams in the league at 52%, from Weeks 4-7 they passed the ball 69% of the time. Immediately, we can see that the Bears trust Foles with the ball in his hands because Foles could actually back it up. Not only were the Bears throwing on almost 70% of their plays, but Foles was completing about 65% of those which is much better than what Trubisky had. 

Even with this improvement at quarterback play, however, the Bears still averaged one of the least amount of points scored in the league. Why? The answer comes in their red zone touchdown percentage. The Bears convert a measly 45% of their red zone appearances into touchdowns which is the 4th worst in the league.

Now to finally answer the question: Foles or Trubisky? The answer is not that straightforward. Foles is no doubt an improvement over Trubisky and he has proved that he can win big games against great teams. However, unless he can become a more consistent passer rather than getting hot and cold, and the Bears show some sort of life in their offensive line, I don’t see the Bears making it very far through the playoffs. Not to mention that their record is not indicative of how poorly they have been playing recently. The real solution, in my eyes, will be our draft pick next year that can hopefully finally put an end to the Bears quarterback dilemma.