LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy insisted he pulled Mitchell Trubisky near the end of Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams because of pain in his right hip and not because he’s ready to bench his struggling quarterback.
Nagy said Monday the decision to have Chase Daniel work Chicago’s final drive was based solely on Trubisky’s injury.
He wasn’t sure about his quarterback’s status, with Chicago (4-6) hosting the New York Giants this week. But he made it clear Trubisky “absolutely” remains the starting quarterback as long as he’s healthy.
“This one’s so simple because there’s nothing but pure honesty in all of this,” Nagy said. “Literally, everything that I just told you conversation-wise, every decision that was made, it had zero to do with his play. It was completely based off of the injury that he had last night and where he’s at, 100 percent.”
Nagy said Trubisky suffered a right hip pointer when he took a knee from Michael Brockers as Troy Hill sacked him near the end of the second quarter.
Nagy said he was aware of the injury, but it was not “significant enough” to remove him from the game at first. Trubisky got treatment at halftime and led the Bears on an 80-yard touchdown drive early in the third quarter.
His hip tightened as the game wore on, and Nagy started noticing that his quarterback was struggling to generate power from his lower body. He was all arm on his throws and the offense stalled following the TD, punting on the next four possessions.
Chicago went three-and-out on three of those drives and gained just 30 yards. Along the way, Nagy made some calls in key situations that put Trubisky on the move.
One was an option pitch to David Montgomery on third-and-1 that led to a tackle for loss by Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam. Nagy second-guessed himself for calling that play, saying, “Even in general without an injury, I still even sometimes to myself wish in that position you’d made a different play call.”
By the time Los Angeles went on a 76-yard TD drive, sealing Chicago’s fifth loss in six games, Nagy said he had decided to switch quarterbacks.
It took the Bears several minutes to announce Trubisky’s hip injury. Along the way, the national broadcast crew announced that the team had nothing to report on him.
Daniel was not shown warming up — though Nagy insisted Monday the veteran backup did. And as Chicago’s offense got ready to head back onto the field, Nagy stood with Trubisky and talked into his ear while using his large laminated call sheet to provide some cover in front of about 70,000 fans in Los Angeles.
It all fueled speculation that the struggling quarterback drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017 was being benched.
As for the sideline conversation with Trubisky? Nagy had a simple message.
“He needs to be brutally honest with me in regards to his pain and where he’s at. And that’s exactly what it was,” he said. “I sat there and I told him, I said, ‘Listen, man. We appreciate your toughness. We appreciate you being as tough as you can possibly be and want to stay in the game. But I need to be able to make a decision because there’s a fine line of that pain or being injured to where it affects how you play or decisions that you make because of being injured.”
Trubisky was 24 of 43 for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception in another shaky performance. His completion percentage, yards per game and yards per catch are all down from last season. He has nine touchdowns and four interceptions in nine appearances after throwing for 24 and 12 a year ago. And Chicago ranks 30th in offense.