Mitchell Trubisky wants Bears' offense to 'open it up a little bit' vs. Saints

Mitchell Trubisky wants to fight fire with fire Sunday afternoon against the New Orleans Saints.

Heading into the postseason matchup, the Chicago Bears’ quarterback said the offense needs to stack points against an excellent defense to put pressure on the Saints.

“I think we definitely need to open it up a little bit,” Trubisky said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “As far as staying aggressive, I like going for it on fourth down. That’s just a mindset, but I think, more importantly, we’ve got to score more touchdowns in the red zone…

“Our special-teams unit is doing incredible, and we gotta keep that going. But we gotta help our team and put our defense in better positions by finishing with touchdowns. That just makes you a better offense and better team, so I think that’s the main improvement we want to see this week.”

In the Week 17 loss to Green Bay, the Bears converted five of six fourth-down attempts as they sustained long drives that ate up clock and kept Aaron Rodgers on the sideline. Yet, Chicago stalled time after time in the red zone (1/5), leading to the blowout loss.

In the past few weeks, Matt Nagy has handled Trubisky with care — not unlike how we’ve seen play-calling from Sean McVay with Jared Goff or Kyle Shanahan with Jimmy Garoppolo — giving the QB quick reads, mostly short tosses, putting him on the move, and playing dink-and-dunk instead of home-run ball. Getting the ball out quicker lessens the tight-window throws for the QB.

Trubisky in Weeks 1-3: 2.9 Time to throw; 10.2 air yards per attempt; 2.6 average target separation; 22.6 pressure rate.

Trubisky in Weeks 12-17: 2.56 Time to throw; 7.0 air yards per attempt; 3.4 average target separation; 14.0 pressure rate.

Nagy has called play-action for Trubisky at a 35.2 percent rate, highest in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. Expect it to continue Sunday. The Saints allowed 11 TDs on play-action passes this season (T-6th most in NFL) and allow a 100.6 passer rating with it compared to 77.8 without play-action.

In the Bears’ meeting against the Saints earlier this season, with Nick Foles at the helm, Chicago did take some shots, with 10 of 41 attempts generating 10-plus air yards — including 3 of 4 on 20-plus yard attempts, per NGS.

While Trubisky might want Nagy to call more shots Sunday, the coach will have to pick his spots — and they should almost certainly come off play-action. Trubisky has the lowest completion percentage (32.4 percent) and averages the fewest yards per attempt (3.1) under pressure in 2020. The Saints pressure the opposing QB on 31.2 percent of dropbacks (second-highest rate in NFL) and have allowed the second-lowest completion percent (39.2) and passer rating (51.1) to quarterbacks under pressure this season.

Trubisky believes the underdog Bears have nothing to fear in facing the NFC South Champs Sunday.

“We got nothing to lose,” Trubisky said, per the team’s official website. “We know everybody is overlooking us. They have the back half of the season. I think we’ve been just playing with that edge, that chip on our shoulder. We don’t have anything to lose. We should go out there and play free.”

The Bears-Saints wild-card game kicks off Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET and can be viewed on CBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access.

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