Matt Nagy hears the refrain emanating from the heart of Chicago, wondering why the Bears struggle to run the ball.
Sunday's blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints was the latest example of the Bears coach eschewing the running game after it got off to a wonky start. Despite the game being close at halftime (12-10, New Orleans), the Bears ran the ball just five times through two quarters. They ran it just twice more in the second half, including a fumble from David Montgomery on the first play of the third quarter. For the game: 7 rushes for 17 yards.
The seven rushes are the fewest carries in a game in franchise history in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research.
"I know we need to run the ball more. I'm not an idiot," Nagy said Monday. "I realize that. ... I totally understand that. We need to (run the ball). I never go into a game saying I want to throw the ball 54 times. I would love to go into a game and say I want to run the ball 54 times, but ... that just hasn't happened, so this is what I have to answer to."
With Mitchell Trubisky returning from a shoulder injury, it was particularly head-scratching to see Nagy call numerous pass plays early in the close game. The coach said the ineffectiveness on the few running plays -- which included a pitch to receiver Anthony Miller that ended in a fumble -- led to the lopsided play-calling.
"Now how do you, get it going a little bit," the coach said. "Let's maybe pass to open up the run game. And so, before you know it we didn't have a whole lot of plays in the first half, there weren't a lot of runs, and then we get behind in the second half. But to have seven rushes and two fumbles that's not good either."
The Bears' ineffectiveness in both the run and pass has been troubling for Nagy through the team's first six games. His squad is the only offense in the 32-team league that has yet to generate a 300-yard performance this season.
Whether it's the running game stymied behind a porous offensive line, backs coughing up the ball or Trubisky missing wide-open receivers, every phase of the Bears offense has been a failure through the first six tilts.
Nagy admitted Chicago is having an identity crisis on offense.
"When you go through these struggles like we're going through identity-wise and having struggles running the football ... it's not where we want to be and it's unacceptable for all of us," he said. "We're definitely searching right now there is no doubt about it."