No matter what your opinion of Mitchell Trubisky – franchise quarterback, ascending young guy who just needs time, just a guy, the Bears flat-out got the wrong guy – Sunday’s 15-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams provided confirmation of that assessment of the No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft:
Trubisky was abysmal in the first half: 9-of-20 passing, 59 yards, 2 INT’s, passer rating 12.5.
He was “ascending” in the second half: 7-of-10 passing, 51 yards, another INT but a TD pass, rating 74.1.
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He was sometimes just a guy: “I think I just need to be better all the way around,” he said afterwards.
Whether the Bears got the right guy? Well, Pat Mahomes is third in the NFL with a passer rating of 115.2 for an 11-2 Kansas City team. Deshaun Watson is ninth at 100.9 and had led 9-4 Houston to nine straight wins before Sunday’s home loss to Indianapolis.
But the Bears have won Trubisky’s last four starts, albeit with a bit of help from the defense on Sunday, even if he has dropped down to No. 22 with his 92.1 passer rating. And he is No. 7 in ESPN’s more comprehensive quarterback rating, so if there are issues with what he is or isn’t, those don’t extend to his head coach, who didn’t view Sunday as any kind of “setback” in Trubisky’s development.
“Not when you win,” Matt Nagy said. “He made some plays when we needed to. For him to be able to keep learning, there’s gonna be some bumps in the road. You can’t throw for 350 yards every game. That’s just not gonna happen in this offense in Year 1. That’s not gonna happen.”
Just a little what-if?
These sorts of what-If’s are easy to find, but whimsical just the same:
Would Ryan Pace have stayed put at No. 14 in the 2014 draft, as Phil Emery did – or would the trade-inclined Pace have jumped over the No. 13 Rams and made sure Aaron Donald’s career went through Chicago?
Of course, running back Todd Gurley was waiting in the green room when the Bears’ turn came at No. 7 a year later, and Pace opted for soon-to-be-former-Bear Kevin White.
The NFL may have been cringing at a second straight prime-time game in which offense was largely absent and the winners relied on the time-honored 5-yards-and-a-cloud-of-sod.
But the Bears weren’t cringing at all as they watched the Minnesota Vikings lose 21-7 to the Seattle Seahawks for their third loss in the last four, beginning with the Bears last month.
The Bears clinch the NFC North with a win in any of their final three games. The defeat dropped the Vikings to 6-6-1 and into a position where the only way they can beat the Bears for the NFC North title is to sweep their final three while the Bears were losing theirs, including Game 16 in Minneapolis.
The Vikings still stand as the No. 6 playoff seed at the moment, which would make them the wild-card opponent for the Bears (No. 3) as records now sit. Minnesota with six losses and a tie has a teeny edge for that No. 6 spot ahead of seven-time-losers Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington.
But underneath all this were the Seahawks dominating the Vikings in this Monday Night Football game with a throwback 214 rushing yards on 42 attempts, vs. Seattle’s 22 pass plays – this after the Bears ran 35 times for 194 yards, vs. 31 pass plays in mauling a Rams team with an offense touted as one of the hood ornaments for the “modern” NFL.