After yesterday’s games, there can be no more doubt as to the owner of the keenest offensive mind in the NFL.
That’s right: Bears head coach John Fox.
The veteran head coach presided over a comfortable win over his own team, with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completing an awe-inspriring 4-of-7 passing for 102 yards.
If it reminded you of a few things, it should have.
The last time a team won with a quarterback completing four passes or fewer was Nov. 13, 2011, when one Timothy Richard Tebow of Denver was a clean 2-of-8 for 69 yards and a touchdown to beat the Chiefs.
Or you might have recalled a Christmas Eve, 2006 game, when the Panthers were without a healthy quarterback, but a hobbled Chris Weinke led them to a win by completing 4-of-7 passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.
That’s right, Fox had his thumbprints all over those games as well.
“This is a team game,” Fox said, via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. “Sometimes it’s going to be one-sided in one way or another. I’ve seen that before. But at the end of the day, you have smiling faces in the locker room and they fought hard for that victory.”
Fox grew up as a defensive coach, and that remains his specialty. But in football, there are many ways to skin a cat, and Fox has figured out a number of them. He wants to play a rookie quarterback the same way I want a colonoscopy this morning, but he’s found a way to insulate Trubisky from having to do too much.
Which is the same way he held his nose and figured out a way to win with Tebow.
And while others have generally gotten more of the credit, Fox was the instigator of the modern Wildcat back in 2006, when the Panthers were without healthy quarterbacks but had plenty of running backs.
The mantle of “offensive genius” is generally bestowed upon those who want to throw the ball all over the yard, and draw many pretty Xs and Os in unique ways. But sometimes, football can be as simple as figuring out what you do well, doing that, and not trying to do the stuff you’re not as good at. If that means playing without a quarterback, so be it.
“It’s not always going to be perfect,” Fox said. “You have to give the other team some credit. But I thought as a football team, we played well today, and it was enough to get a decisive win.”
And that, ultimately, is the point, regardless how many points your offense is able or willing to try to put on the board.