The Chicago Bears beat the Carolina Panthers yesterday 17-3, scoring on a 75-yard fumble return and a 76-yard interception return. Rookie Mitchell Trubisky finished the game 4 of 7 passing while being sacked 4 times. That’s right, he successfully completed a pass as often as he was tackled in the backfield. That came a week after winning at Baltimore in overtime, in a game where Trubisky completed 8 passes (and running back Tarik Cohen completed another for a touchdown).
If you think a team winning consecutive games in such a fashion in unique, well, you’d be mostly right. Unless your name is John Fox.
Here’s a full list of games where a team won a game while completing 10 or fewer passes in both. And here are the last five times it has happened consecutively:
- Chicago 2017, weeks 6-7;
- St. Louis 2013, weeks 10-12 (bye in week 11);
- Denver 2011, weeks 9-13;
- Cleveland 2009, weeks 14-17;
- Carolina 2008, weeks 10-11.
That’s right, of the five times when this has happened over the last decade, three of them were by a John Fox-coached team, and that’s with three different franchises.
I know we all try to block out the 2011 season, but that five-game stretch where the Broncos repeatedly won games late with Tim Tebow while basically completing no passes was the flukiest thing in recent memory. But with the Panthers also doing it twice in a row back in 2008, including in a game where Jake Delhomme completed 7 passes to his team, 4 to the other team, and 20 that hit the ground, you have to begin to suspect this is no accident.
John Fox may have his flaws, but he can coax unlikely wins when his quarterback has no business winning. This is a guy who was fired after going 38-10 over three seasons with Peyton Manning at his quarterback. He probably felt like a fish out of water when his quarterback would successfully throw forward passes. He’s in his element now, going from Mike Glennon to a rookie, and having absolutely no receivers. In a league where other coaches fall apart when their franchise QB is out, it’s an admirable trait. I’m sure Chicago fans are stoked that he’s about to go on a 5-game winning streak and turn Mitchell Trubisky into the next Tim Tebow.