The Bears beat the Seahawks 24-17 last night, and did so while looking like a team a few weight classes above their opponent. The defense, led by all-world linebacker Khalil Mack, was particularly impressive, getting into the backfield at will throughout the first half and keeping Seattle’s offense pinned in its own territory. The score was 10-3 in favor of Chicago at halftime, but it felt like the Bears should have had a two- or three-score lead by that point. The main reason they didn’t was Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky is a young, relatively unexperienced quarterback, and so far this season he’s playing like one. His two best drives of the season were the ones that opened the game in Week 1 against the Packers and last night against the Seahawks. In both instances, Trubisky was able to effectively follow head coach Matt Nagy’s script of plays and produce long touchdown drives. It’s when the script reaches its end that Trubisky starts to look shaky.
Everyone will remember Week 1 for Aaron Rodgers’s incredible second-half comeback, but the Bears losing a 20-point lead in that game had as much to do with Trubisky’s inability to make a play in the second half as it did Rodgers’s heroics. Last night’s game came very close to becoming a similar story. It was a game that the Bears should have killed off in the first half, but drive after drive kept petering out due to Trubisky’s poor decision making, and Russell Wilson looked to be engineering yet another come-from-behind win until Prince Amukamara saved the day with a late pick-six.
Trubisky made some rough plays in this game. There was a drive-killing run on third-and-short when he ran right into a tackler instead of cutting upfield; there was a forced ball into the end zone that should have been picked off; and there was the first interception of the night, a severely under-thrown ball that probably should have gone for a long touchdown:
None of these mistakes are surprising to see from a quarterback as green as Trubisky, but he was the No. 2 overall pick a year ago, and his development timeline may no longer be on the same schedule as the rest of the team. They have a defense that can dominate large portions of the game, an ideal running back tandem in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, a collection of quick, athletic receivers, and a creative offensive scheme designed to embarrass opposing defenses. Right now, the biggest impediment to all of that coalescing into a truly good team is Trubisky.
Perhaps it’s unfair to saddle Trubisky with so much responsibility, but it’s hard not to look at Patrick Mahomes—who plays in a system that Nagy helped build and wants to recreate in Chicago—raining touchdowns on people and not want to see a little more spark from Trubisky. Maybe he won’t be able to get there until next season or the season after that, but the Bears look ready for him right now.