The best part of Mitch Trubisky’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Josh Bellamy wasn’t the perfect placement or the arc of the throw itself.
It wasn’t the abrupt out-and-up move that Bellamy used to separate from Packers cornerback Davon House or the dance moves Bellamy showed off in the end zone while surrounded by teammates.
It was that Trubisky threw the ball on first down.
It wasn’t a predictable run by Jordan Howard.
“That was a perfect ball by Trubisky,” Bellamy said. “He did everything. It was all Trubisky.”
It wasn’t enough as the Bears lost 23-16 to the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field. And that’s part of the problem.
Trubisky was the more talented quarterback on the field, yet Packers backup Brett Hundley left it victorious. The sense in the locker room is that Trubisky is capable of doing more. The problem is that it’s on coach John Fox to allow that.
It’s time for Fox to allow offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to build his game plans more around Trubisky than a predictable ground game that had five more negative runs.
The Bears will be better off with a change in philosophy this season and undoubtedly next season. Fox must know that. With a 3-6 team, what else does Fox have left to lose but his job? Developing Trubisky — who completed 21 of 35 passes for 297 yards, his touchdown to Bellamy and a 97.0 passer rating — is all that matters for the rest of the season.
The Bears rarely try to establish an early rhythm for Trubisky. He threw a season-high 35 passes, but eight came in the final 1:37 of the first half and five were in the final 1:03 with the Bears trailing 23-16.
The Bears might have issues at receiver and tight end, but their use of them also tends to be confusing.
Bellamy was a focal point against the Packers after being on the field for only 14 offensive snaps in the Bears’ previous four games.
Rookie tight end Adam Shaheen had two catches in the first quarter, including a rumbling 31-yarder, but he wasn’t targeted again.
Tre McBride had three catches for 92 yards two weeks ago against the Saints, but he and the bunch formations he succeeded out of were featured sparingly.
According to the official game stats, Markus Wheaton, who was active for the first time since Week 5, didn’t play, but he did take the field in the fourth quarter.
Running back Tarik Cohen? He touched the ball twice.
And yet, Trubisky still produced.
“Statistically, poise-wise and in handling situations, I thought his play was probably the best to date,” Fox said. “Was it perfect? No. But I was impressed with the young guy.”
Fine, now prove it.
It starts by getting out of the rookie’s head. Reminding Trubisky to be mindful of risky throws is part of his learning process, but making him gun-shy is another. The Bears appear to be dangerously trending toward the latter.
The Packers’ five sacks of Trubisky were the result of their coverages, but also the rookie’s risk-averse mindset.
“[It’s] probably me just being careful with the ball [and] holding it,” said Trubisky, who has been sacked 16 times in five starts.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews described the Bears as “one-dimensional.” He said that’s why they got to Trubisky so much.
Fox might blow off such a comment, but it’s true. It’s time to change. As stubborn as he is, Fox has to see that.
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