The Chicago Bears fell to 5-2 with a 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. Their only touchdown came via the defense, as the offense put up just 279 yards and 14 first downs with two Nick Foles interceptions. The ground game struggled again, netting 49 yards on 17 attempts.
Foles replaced Mitch Trubisky in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, and engineered a comeback with three touchdown passes. The move to Foles as the starter was obvious, and he’s four games in now.
The Bears are 2-2 in those four starts by Foles. One of those wins was a 20-19 victory over a banged-up Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad on a Thursday night in Week 5. The other win was a 23-16 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 6, and if not for three takeaways by the defense the result might have been different.
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk did the legwork, comparing Foles and Trubisky this season. The results are telling, but maybe not that surprising?
Nick Foles has been worse than Mitch Trubisky
Since Foles became the Bears’ starter in Week 4, the Bears averaging a league-worst 263 yards per game. In the three games Trubisky started, the Bears’ offense never had less than 300 yards. The Bears have gained fewer than 300 yards in all four games Foles has started. The Bears averaged 22.0 first downs per game in Trubisky’s two full games. In Foles’ four full games, the Bears have averaged 17.5 first downs.
Neither signal caller has guided a prolific offense. But Foles has been worse than Trubisky, and the Bears’ offense has not produced as well.
Foles has a worse passer rating (77.6) than Trubisky (87.4) this year. He’s also been worse in QBR (46.2, to 56.4), yards per attempt (5.9, to 6.5) and adjusted yards per attempt (5.2, to 6.3 for Trubisky). Foles has a 3:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his four starts. Trubisky had a 6:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio before being benched.
Trubisky adds something as a runner, averaging 10.9 yards per carry this season. Foles is the definition of a pocket passer (-1 rushing yard so far this season). Beyond occasional spurts, Foles is not even a proficient pocket passer regardless of how good his pass protection is.
The Bears’ offensive line has been bad and a bit injury depleted, as evidenced by the struggles of the running game. An offensive design that was shaped to fit Trubisky’s mobility by head coach Matt Nagy does not fit Foles, and the play calling at times shows it has not been adjusted.
Foles is what he is-great in short spurts but ultimately a below average quarterback. He has leadership intangibles Trubisky doesn’t, but that only goes so far when the Bears’ offense can’t get anything done. Facing three really good defenses in his four starts hasn’t helped Foles look his best either. By the time it gets much easier, with games coming against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 and the Tennessee Titans in Week 9, the Bears might be 5-4 with a three-game losing streak.
A quarterback change won’t suddenly make the Bears favorites win either of those next two games. But a flimsy 5-1 team has become a bad-looking 5-2 team, and they’re looking head-on at being an uninspiring 5-4 team.
The Bears are not going to get better than mediocre play from any quarterback this year. And the starting job may go back to Foles at some point, which isn’t ideal. Right now though, on the heels of a flailing offensive effort in Week 7, the Bears have nothing to lose by giving Mitch Trubisky another shot.