New week, same story. The Chicago Bears escaped Atlanta with a win in week three. The team improved to 3-0 but didn't quiet the skeptics just yet. There is still some doubt as to how good the team actually is, but that's beside the point. 3-0 is 3-0, and with the new playoff format that adds a third wild card team to the mix, the Bears are in a great position.
Even in victory, there are always several key takeaways from the Chicago Bears victory over the Falcons. This includes a major move made by Matt Nagy and the coaching staff.
Trubisky Time is Over...For Now
The Mitchell Trubisky era, for the time being, seems to be over. In a shocking but also not entirely surprising move, the Bears benched Trubisky in the third quarter and replaced him with Nick Foles.
Trubisky was pulled from the game after throwing a brutal interception in response to a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive by Atlanta. To his credit, however, the interception was looking like a pick-six but he hustled to make a tackle to prevent the score.
The 26-year-old QB finished the day with the following stat line: 13/22 (59.1%), 128 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 71.8 QB Rating.
Trubisky having a short leash was naturally assumed after the team named him the starter. However, after struggling with consistency and putting an entire game together through the first two weeks, the Bears were nearing the end with him. They had finally seen enough after one half against a bad defense that was depleted due to injuries. Trubisky was still struggling and the aforementioned interception was the straw that broke the camel's back.
It's important to keep in mind that this might not be the last we see of Mitchell Trubisky given Nick Foles' injury history.
It's Nick Foles Time...For Now
Enter Nick Foles. The QB finally took reins of the offense with 9:58 left in the third quarter. The Bears went on to score three touchdowns with Foles at the helm; including a dime that he delivered to Anthony Miller to give the team the lead.
This doesn't include the fact that two additional touchdowns were taken off the board due to Falcons' CB Darqueze Dennard ripping the ball out of Allen Robinson's hands on the first one and Anthony Miller dropping the other.
Overall, Foles brought a sense of calmness to the offense. The former Super Bowl MVP was in control and never looked rattled, which was the shot in the arm the offense and the team needed.
Foles finished the day with the following stat line: 16/29 (55.1%), 188 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT, 95.2 QB Rating.
Matt Nagy announced today that Nick Foles will be the starter going forward, so it is now the veteran's job to lose and the only way that will happen is if he sustains a significant injury.
Matt Nagy finally has his guy, of sorts, in Nick Foles and there is no turning back. He now has a quarterback familiar with his system and style of offense, and one who is competent enough to run it.
Fans should expect Nagy to open up his "entire" playbook with Nick Foles running the show. Nagy was somewhat handcuffed when having to construct a game plan around Trubisky's limitations. Until now, Nagy was fitting a square peg into a round hole with Trubisky.
Nick Foles is not outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but he is significantly better than Mitch Trubisky. The one knock on Nagy is that he didn't have the guts to give Trubisky the news of the benching himself. Instead, he had Bill Lazor do the dirty work. Regardless of the fact that the game was still going on, that should be on the head coach to deliver the news.
Nevertheless, the true evaluation of Nagy (the play-caller) can begin in earnest.
The Bears suffered a major blow on Sunday when Tarik Cohen went down with a knee injury. Cohen suffered the injury when Brian Hill was "pushed" into him after calling for a fair catch on a punt return.
Soon after, it was reported that Cohen suffered a torn ACL.
Later on, it was officially confirmed that the running back would miss the remainder of the season.
Cohen's season ends prematurely as he finishes with 14 rushes for 74 yards (5.3 avg) and six receptions for 41 yards (6.8 avg).
It was just another week that the Bears' defense was gashed on the ground. Todd Gurley and Brian Hill both ran all over the Chicago defense. Eddie Goldman's absence in the middle of the run defense has been extremely evident so far this season.
Stats per ESPN.com
The pass defense had its momentary lapses as well. They allowed Calvin Ridley to go off for 110 yards on five catches. Other than that, they were fairly solid, especially in the second half.
The Bears defense sacked Matt Ryan twice and forced one turnover, which was an interception to seal the victory. The unit as a whole is still not where everyone expects it to be, but there is still room for growth.
Officiating still continues to be inconsistent through three weeks and nobody else felt the brunt of it more than the Bears. Two roughing the passer calls led to two Falcons touchdowns and one strip-sack got called back due to a penalty. Meanwhile, fair catch interference on the Tarik Cohen injury wasn't called and the blatant holding and neck wraps on Khalil Mack went uncalled as well.
This might be some bias shining through, but the fact of the matter is that the Bears had a couple of momentum-changing plays go against them thanks to the officiating.
Robinson had himself a day, as he posted ten catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was spectacular, as he broke multiple tackles as he scampered down the sideline for a 37-yard score. This play was a turning point game, as it pulled the Bears within one score.
However, Robinson had a ball ripped out of his hands that resulted in an interception for the second consecutive week. Robinson simply needs to be more physical and sure-handed to stop the bullying from inferior defensive backs.
Jimmy Graham? Jimmy Graham.
Don't look now, but Jimmy Graham has a role in this offense and a chance to resurrect his career. Graham hauled in six catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. He has quickly become a red zone threat for the Bears.
On the season, Jimmy Graham ranks second on the team in targets with 17. He also touts ten catches for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
It will be interesting how much his numbers will look going forward with Foles now under center.
For a team with their backs against the wall at 0-2, a second late-game collapse in as many weeks was less than ideal. Atlanta punched the Bears in the mouth early, but after the QB switch, they just crawled into a hole and hid.
The Falcons had just come off a loss in which they blew a 19-point lead, granted it was against a high-powered Cowboys' offense. What was their excuse this week? How did they blow a 16-point lead at home to the Bears, who were a supposed fraud 2-0 team or the worst 2-0 team coming into the game?
At 0-3 with back-to-back meltdowns, head coach Dan Quinn still has a job. Falcons fans must be in pain.
3-0 and It Feels So Good
It's hard to win in the NFL. There are analysts and critics out there still skeptical of the Bears at 3-0. So be it. At the end of the day, wins are all that matter and the Bears have three of them through three weeks.
The Bears' opponents have a combined record of 1-8: Lions (1-2), Giants (0-3), Falcons (0-3).
Nobody can't pin that on the Bears. They only play whoever is on their schedule.
What's On Tap Next?
The Bears will host the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field on Sunday, October 4th at 12 PM CT. The broadcast will be on CBS. The Colts are coming off a dominant 36-7 victory over the lowly New York Jets. As Matt Nagy announced earlier today, Nick Foles will be at the helm of the Bears offense going forward. Next week will mark his first start in the orange and blue.
Be sure to tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reactions, updates and analysis throughout the week, and discussions on a variety of other Bears-related topics.