At the rate Mitch Trubisky is going — from 25 passes against the Vikings to 16 against the Ravens to seven against the Panthers — he will not throw a pass against the Packers in Week 10.
But that’s not the way it works in the NFL — not even with the chronically quarterback-challenged Bears. The offense is trending conservative since Trubisky replaced Mike Glennon in Week 5. But if you’re measuring Trubisky’s progress from game to game, last week’s minimalist performance — seven passes, four completions — is one you can throw out. It was dictated by a set of circumstances that prevented Trubisky from finding a groove and pushed Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains into a game plan that robbed Trubisky of his aggressiveness.
Trubisky was adamant in taking the blame for the offense’s poor performance in the 17-3 victory against the Panthers. But he acknowledged the reality — two possessions in the first 26:42 of a football game are not ideal for a rookie quarterback.
“It’s the strangest game I’ve been a part of,” Trubisky said, “as far as being off the field for that amount of time, two defensive touchdowns. It’s tough for quarterbacks to get into a rhythm, especially me being a younger guy. It’s all about rhythm, staying in a groove and really just continuing to evolve and find our identity and what works best for our offense to help out our defense.”
Loggains admitted the scenario against the Panthers was pretty new to him, as well.
“I told [Trubisky] after the game, ‘Look, dude, I’ve been coaching in this game 13 years, [and] I think this happened one other time in my life — we scored [two offensive touchdowns] in Tennessee in 2006 and won 31-13,’ ’’ Loggains said. ‘‘It just doesn’t happen.”
Other than one big play — a 70-yard pass to running back Tarik Cohen that led to a field goal — for the first time in three starts, Trubisky didn’t show the traits that have convinced people he can be a franchise quarterback. He didn’t have a feel for the rush, he held on to the ball too long and he didn’t show the mobility to turn a bad situation into a good one. He was sacked four times.
But Loggains was not discouraged and took his share of the blame for not being able to snap Trubisky and the offense out of their funk
“Not a step back at all,” Loggains said. “It was probably more feeling the frustration of the game, how it was going, knowing how it needed to be played.
“[It wasn’t] his fault, but . . . my fault and the coaching staff’s fault. I think we took a little bit of the aggressiveness out of him. The way the game was playing [out], that’s how it felt. He could feel it. You all could feel it. The fans could feel it. But he did what he needed to do.”
Therein lies the reason why Bears fans are more likely to accept this explanation rather than reject it as balderdash used to rationalize another disappointing performance. In the worst start of his NFL career, Mitch Trubisky had a 101.3 passer rating with no turnovers. And he won. After eight years of lamenting Jay Cutler’s one bad pass that cost the Bears a victory, Bears fans were celebrating the one big play Trubisky made that contributed to a victory. Can you feel the difference?
“You’ve got to win as you grow,” Loggains said. “He’s going to develop. He’s going to get plenty of snaps and throws. We all want to throw 30 times . . . and we believe he can. And when that time comes — this week, next week, whenever it is — he’s going to handle that well. But there’s nothing . . . like winning for a young quarterback.”
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash.