Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s 12-yard throw to receiver Kendall Wright was more than a first-down gain for the Bears on a third-and-six play.
It was the first throw of a new era for the Bears as a franchise. It was hope officially arriving in Chicago on a long out route.
“I see him throw it wherever he wants to throw it,” Wright said.
The fans were ready for it.
They’ve been craving it for years.
It’s why thousands of them — ones wearing the jerseys of old greats from Brian Urlacher to Devin Hester to Richard Dent — stood, applauded and screamed when Trubisky took the field for the Bears’ first possession Monday night against the Vikings.
In the short term, Trubisky represents a brand-new offense full of bootlegs, sprint-outs, zone-read looks and scrambles. That was evident early and often in the Bears’ 20-17 loss to the Vikings. He’s everything that Mike Glennon will never, ever be
But a long-term outlook should always be included when watching and discussing Trubisky. Expectations should never be tempered for him because of the hope he represents.
When the Bears traded up to select him with the second overall pick in the year’s draft, general manager Ryan Pace and Co. did so with the unwavering conviction that they were drafting what Aaron Rodgers is to the Packers.
Or what Pace personally saw firsthand with Drew Brees and the Saints for years.
The Bears believe Trubisky will forever change things for the better. They expect him to be a great quarterback, not just good.
It’ll take time to reach that level, but Pace said that Trubisky has the “potential to be a championship quarterback” after he was drafted. He should be held to that standard as he develops.
“Our guys feel it,” coach John Fox said after the game. “They feel his presence.”
On Monday night, Trubisky told his teammates that the loss was on him. It was a sign of his leadership — and his drive, which increases his potential for greatness in the Bears’ eyes.
Trubisky completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards. He first career touchdown pass was nearly picked off in the end zone, while his first interception came on a forced throw from inside the Bears’ own 10 in the final minutes. Trubisky’s top highlight was running in a two-point conversion on a trick play.
“It’s just taking ownership,” Trubisky said. “I feel like that’s what a quarterback is supposed to do. That’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. You just take it, especially when you make a play like that, the interception. You just feel like it’s your fault and you could have done more to help our team win.
“I felt like it was on me, but they know I’m going to go back to work. I’m going to fix my mistakes. I’m going to watch this film, be critical of myself. They know I’m going to get better. I appreciate them having faith in me and having my back. But yeah, I feel like it’s on me.”
That said, nobody seemed to want to help out Trubisky in the first half. Not his tight end Dion Sims, who dropped a pass delivered right into his hands on the Bears’ game-opening drive.
Or his center Cody Whitehair, whose holding penalty negated a 26-yard completion to receiver Tre McBride on the same drive.
Or his veteran coach as Fox bungled a fourth-and-short that resulted in a timeout, the punt team running on and off the field and eventually a delay-of-game penalty.
Or left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who was beaten by defensive end Everson Griffin on his sack and strip of Trubisky in the final minutes of the second quarter.
The Bears committed six penalties for 45 yards in the first half. Receiver Markus Wheaton’s holding penalty brought back a 42-yard touchdown run by Jordan Howard early in the second quarter.
Welcome to Bears football, Mitch. It’s become a world full of gaffes and endless injuries.
“He was telling everybody it’s his fault, but we can’t put him in those positions,” Wright said. “We had plenty of opportunities to win that game before those last minutes.”
In time, Trubisky will be asked to rise above it all every week.
Monday featured only flashes of his potential, whether it’s mobility, accuracy, arm strength or awareness. Tight end Zach Miller called him a “baller.”
“He was really good,” Miller said. “What we need to do is be better collectively around him.”
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