All Mitch Trubisky could do in the waning moments of Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings was stand on the sideline and watch the Vikings run the clock down and kick the eventual game winning field goal. Watch, and think about his biggest mistake of the evening, an interception on a first down play, that all but handed the Vikings a victory over the Bears on Monday Night Football.
The interception wasn’t horrible, it was an excellent play by the defender to make the grab in front of the intended Zach Miller, but none the less it was a play that shouldn’t have happened. Trubisky should have thrown it away and lived to play another down. He didn’t, the Bears lost. But he will in the future, that I’m sure of.
Sure, Trubisky made some mistakes on Monday night, and his stat line (12/25, 128 yards, 1 TD, I INT, 1 FUMBLE) didn’t scream “superstar” in his NFL debut, but Trubisky showed everyone that he has the ability to be the quarterback of the future moving forward. Trubisky showed us all that he can make plays and stretch the field. Trubisky showed us that he has the arm and the feet to become a successful quarterback in the NFL in the years to come. But he showed us a trait more important than any of those things on Monday night, he showed us that he has the mental ability to tie the physical skills together.
Trubisky was thrust into his NFL debut on Monday Night Football against one of the best defenses in football and a division rival in the Minnesota Vikings. Evident by the loud cheers when he trotted onto the field for his first drive on Monday night, the weight of years of struggling has been fully thrust upon the shoulders of the kid from Mentor, Ohio. Mitch proved to us all that he is more than ready for the challenge of resurrecting a struggling franchise and taking on the responsibility of giving one of the most passionate fan bases in sports reason to believe.
The first quarter was as good as we could have drawn up, Trubisky immediately made plays outside of the pocket and extended plays with his ability to move forward and laterally in the pocket under pressure. Trubisky made those movements and extended plays with his eyes up the field, quickly going through his progressions and making throws downfield.
Unfortunately for Mitch, the Bears have a ton of work to do around him on the offensive side of the ball, mainly at the receiver position. Offensive lineman killed drives with errant holding penalties. Receivers dropped quality passes often, and the second overall draft pick kept patting his offensive comrades on the rear end and chugging onward.
Veteran offensive lineman Kyle Long said that being in the huddle with Trubisky running the show was “amazing”, and Trubisky’s best wide receiver Kendall Wright oozed compliments after the game having this to say, “[Trubisky] was calm. He was cool,” Wright said. “We can’t put him in those positions. We had plenty of opportunities to win the game before the last minutes. We had plenty of chances in that game to win it early on.”
While physical errors like the interception or the fumble lost can be corrected, Trubisky’s composure and presence can’t be taught, and it was plentiful on Monday night. Speaking of the strip fumble, Charles Leno Jr, who has been bad all season was beat like a drum by the Minnesota pass rush and allowed Trubisky no chance on the play.
Trubisky’s mental acumen was on full display on his lone touchdown pass of the evening when he rolled out on a bootleg and directed his tight end Zach Miller into position for a strike over the middle, all while on the run, and all while keeping his head downfield and running through his progressions with ease.
Miller had this to say about Trubisky after the game, “I thought he was really good,” Miller said. “He extended plays for us, made plays downfield, made plays with his legs and put us into a position to win that game. I think he did everything he could for us to win that game. I’m excited about his future.”
While we can’t just disregard his stat line, or more specifically his physical errors from Monday night, we have to keep them in perspective and take note of all of the excellent plays that he made that were lost in a flurry of ill-disciplined play by his supporting cast. But most importantly for the future of the Bears and the future of Mitch Trubisky, we must take note and appreciate the obvious above average ability to handle pressure and welcome the challenge of taking the reigns of a bruised and battered franchise.
As far as I’m concerned, the kid passed the eye test on Monday night against Minnesota, and I for one absolutely share Zach Miller’s sentiment – I’m excited for this kid’s future.