CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Where was that all season?
The Bears took it to the Texans in a 36-7 win at Soldier Field on Sunday. They pummeled a bad team and snapped a six-game losing streak, doing so with the kind of complete effort that has eluded them in 2020.
Here are the observations from the game.
Trubisky, Bears' offense rise up
While the Texans are a bad team, there were legitimate positives for the Bears on Sunday, notably their offense that has struggled for much of the season. Coach Matt Nagy was right in saying the Bears finally have an offensive identity budding as they still fight for a playoff spot.
The success starts with a reshuffled offensive line that has played well in the past three games. Sam Mustipher has been an anchor since being inserted at center. Alex Bars assumed the right guard spot and is proving he can be an NFL starter. Cody Whitehair slid over to left guard, where he's better suited than center.
Beyond that, the Bears are done trying to mold quarterback Mitchell Trubisky into a pocket passer who looks to dissect a defense and pick it apart. Trubisky will never be Patrick Mahomes, and Chicago has accepted that.
Instead, the Bears are playing to Trubisky's strengths. It starts with emerging quickly from the huddle to get to the line of scrimmage, where the Bears either snap the football quickly or adjust to the defense and go. The Bears have also found success with pre-snap motions that have manipulated the defense and created opportunities. The Texans seemed to be off balanced each time Trubisky snapped it quickly Sunday.
The idea is to catch the defense off guard. Then the Bears keep it simple for Trubisky. They're no longer asking him to drop back and scan the field for so long. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the team's new play-caller, is setting Trubisky up with a moving pocket and more simple reads within his line of sight. He's rolling out with bootlegs and using his mobility if there isn't a target available. That helped Trubisky pick apart one of the worst defenses in the NFL on Sunday.
And that meant a lot for running back David Montgomery, who has had more rushing lanes in recent weeks behind a more reliable offensive line and with the balance that Trubisky has helped create.
If the Bears can sneak into the playoffs by earning wins in the final weeks, it will be in large part because of their offensive breakthroughs.
More on Mitch
When Trubisky says he doesn't care about the narratives stemming from the 2017 NFL Draft, he means it.
Since ascending to the NFL, Trubisky has deleted social media apps from his phone. He doesn't seek out the storylines or care what's being said. But Trubisky certainly had to be satisfied with his Sunday, when he outplayed Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson in a much-needed victory. After the Bears drafted Trubisky at No. 2 overall in 2017, the Texans took Watson at No. 12.
Trubisky had one of the best games of his career Sunday, going 24-of-33 for 267 yards and three touchdowns. His 126.7 passer rating was the fourth-best of his four-year career.
But Trubisky wasn't thinking about his personal play.
"(The losing streak) makes you sick to your stomach," Trubisky said. "I was willing to do whatever it took for the team to go out there and get a win."
It still seems more likely than not that Trubisky is playing for another team next season. A fresh start would be for the best, with a coaching staff willing to commit to a scheme that fits him better than what the Bears have utilized.
Trubisky would also be free of the scrutiny that comes with his place in Chicago. At the least, this Sunday was all his to savor.
Defense dominates Deshaun
In a stunning turn of events, Watson was a sympathetic figure in Chicago on Sunday.
Watson was missing his top three receivers and starting running back, and he was forced to search for targets who weren't open behind an offensive line that didn't give him much of a chance. Watson was sacked seven times and threw only one touchdown.
After three poor defensive performances, the Bears responded with the type of effort seen so many times before. They were relentless in getting to Watson and forcing their will on the depleted Texans offense. Perhaps most importantly, the Bears believed their performance was a result of self-reflection in the last week.
"We had to look ourselves in the mirror," linebacker Roquan Smith said.
But there is one complaint
On the Bears' first play from scrimmage, Montgomery saw the biggest hole of his two-year NFL career and rushed 80 yards for a touchdown.
Montgomery carried just 10 more times despite the Bears leading the entire game, finishing with 113 yards on the ground. Perhaps that was intentional on the Bears' part as they looked to make it Trubisky's day and create more looks on film for the division rival Vikings, whom they visit next Sunday.
But Montgomery still isn't being treated like a starting running back despite continuing to prove himself as such.
-- An hour before kickoff Sunday, the clouds broke over Soldier Field and the sun shined down. The metaphor couldn't be ignored as the Bears finally stopped their losing streak.
-- For the first time in more than a month, Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack was impactful. It started in the first quarter as he ripped the ball away from Texans running back Duke Johnson. He followed it later with a sack to snap his five-game skid without one.
-- Looking at the stat sheet, you'd have no idea Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn even played. He didn't register even a tackle. Quinn had Watson wrapped up in the second quarter but couldn't get the sack. He has one sack on the season, coming in his first snap with the Bears on Sept. 20. Quinn was guaranteed $30 million and is under contract four more years.
-- The Bears brought in veteran tight end Jimmy Graham to be a red-zone threat, and that's exactly what he has been. Graham has six touchdowns this season, each coming on jump balls in the end zone. Graham hauled in a five-yard score Sunday, which was similar to his average of 5.3 yards per touchdown catch in 2020.
-- Nagy and the Bears haven't busted out a trick play like "Santa's Sleigh" at the goal line since 2018, but the design of Graham's score was creative. They stacked four receivers in a diamond formation to the right and created a one-on-one matchup between the 6-foot-7 Graham and 5-foot-11 safety Eric Murray. All Trubisky had to do was put it on the spot.
-- The Bears seem to have a new top tight end, and it's not Graham. Rookie Cole Kmet played in 85% of the offensive snaps, the most of any skill player. He has played at least 70% of the Bears' offensive snaps in the past four games, over which Lazor has been the play-caller.
-- On WBBM Newsradio 780 on Monday morning, Nagy noted that Kmet came to him on the sideline Sunday and yelled out, "Nobody's going to bring me down, nobody's going to bring me down." Nagy certainly liked what he heard, saying, "We got to continue to keep feeding him the ball." Kmet had four receptions for 41 yards.
-- Nagy showed plenty of emotion on the sideline. He channeled Tiger Woods with a grand fist pump after Montgomery's 80-yard run, then later threw down his play sheet after Kmet dropped a sure touchdown.
-- The Bears will return to Halas Hall this week with their coaches preaching playoffs. It's a natural motivator. At 6-7, the Bears are one game behind the Cardinals (7-6) for the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC.
-- After six straight losses, all it took was one win make the season interesting again.
-- Was this the start of Nagy saving his job? The next three weeks will tell.
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.