Yes, it’s Week 1. Yes, the Packers defense is expected to be much improved this season, after general manager Brian Gutekunst dedicated big bucks during the offseason to improving the personnel. Still. Chicago’s offense Thursday night was totally punchless, even amateurish, outside of a few nifty plays by rookie David Montgomery, and the result was plenty of frustrated booing directed at the offense by the opening-night crowd. Most troublingly, third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was horrendous in the 10–3 loss.
It turns out allowing Trubisky to stand back there and just be horrendous was a key part of Green Bay’s game plan coming into Thursday night. The idea was to stuff the run, pinch the pocket, and force Trubisky to make throws, which the Packers felt confident would amount to very little by way of successful offense. We know this because Packers veteran cornerback Tramon Williams just came right out and said so:
That’s, uhh, about the worst thing that can be said about a quarterback in the NFL. If that quarterback has to function as a quarterback, his team will be in real trouble. Evidence supports the strategy: Trubisky completed 26 of 45 pass attempts, for a miserable 228 yards, plus a pick, and the Bears managed just the one field goal. Chicago’s offensive futility is fun when written out: punt, field goal, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, downs, punt, interception, downs. Trubisky seemed reluctant to throw the ball down the field, which is probably wise, because he was also observably incapable of throwing accurately beyond seven yards.
The offensive futility doesn’t all come down to Trubisky, of course. Matt Nagy called just 12 running plays in a game in which his team never trailed by more than one score. The Bears mustered just one interesting second-half drive, stringing together 13 plays and covering 59 yards to put themselves in position for a tying touchdown at the two-minute warning. That drive ended with a jackpot-style interception in the end zone, but what’s troubling about that play is that Green Bay’s defense apparently knew what was coming. Here’s Williams:
It’s a little redundant to say about a team that managed just three total points in a regular season game, but basically nothing went right for Chicago’s passing game. Trubisky sucked, the play-calling was predictable, the results were crud. On the other hand, Eddy Pineiro made his only field goal attempt of the game. 100 percent accuracy! Small victories.