The Bears don’t have a quarterback controversy.
The way Mitch Trubisky played Thursday night, though, it’s only a matter of time.
The Bears’ rookie quarterback was the most exciting thing inside Soldier Field on Thursday night — a low bar, given the Bears’ embarrassing start to their preseason debut — in a 24-17 loss to the Broncos.
Trubisky went 18-for-25 for 166 yards and one touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 103.1. He led the Bears to scores on his first three possessions, and was throwing into the end zone when time expired.
He walked through the Bears locker room afterward in a black T-shirt printed with this slogan on the back: “Greatness is there for the taking.”
But is it?
The Bears have maintained since they traded four picks to move up one spot and draft Trubisky that Mike Glennon will be their starter this season. That won’t change after Glennon’s disastrous debut — he threw a pick-six and finished with a passer rating of 0.0 — but it’s fair to wonder how many such performances it would take for the Bears to rethink their position.
Whatever the number is, it’s more than one.
“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game,” Fox said. “Particularly a preseason game.”
Trubisky repeated the same line he’s used since late April.
“Mike’s the starter,” he said. “This is his team.”
It didn’t look that way Thursday. Trubisky entered the game with 1:55 left in a dreadful first half. He took over a midfield with his team trailing by 10.
Forced to use his athleticism in a two-minute drill — that’s why the Bears put him in then — he marched down the field and found Victor Cruz for a two-yard touchdown pass.
Not bad for someone who started only 13 college games.
“Honestly, I think your teammates can see it in your eyes,” Trubisky said. “If you’re ready, how bad you want it, and what’s about to happen.”
On his next drive, he took the Bears 75 yards, ending with a 1-yard Benny Cunningham run. His third possession was capped by Connor Barth’s 25-yard field goal.
“I already knew he was a gamer,” running back Ka’Deem Carey said. “You put him in a game, and he does what he wants. You see highlights in practice, but you go into a game, and you see it all.”
Trubisky threw 10 consecutive completions before his first incompletion early in the fourth quarter.
“I was like, ‘He’s gonna go perfect the whole game,’ ” running back Tarik Cohen said with a smile. “The passer rating was going to be 158.3. I was keeping stats for him.”
As they have during training camp, the Bears used Trubisky’s athleticism to their advantage, rolling him out of the pocket to either side and creating passing lanes on crossing patterns.
His accuracy on the run has been remarkable in practice; a 13-yard fourth-quarter completion to Tanner Gentry, with both quarterback and receiver sprinting right, proved it can translate to games.
Trubisky used his legs to scramble, too; on a free play because of an offside call, he ran 12 yards and slid for a first down on the first drive of the third quarter. He finished with 38 rushing yards on three plays.
“Who wants to get tackled? Who wants to get sacked? Not me,” Trubisky said. “No negative plays, right? So yeah, I’m gonna take off.”
Judging by Thursday, his career might do the same.
“I tell you what, the stuff he’s doing on the field right now is something that you hopefully look forward to seeing in the regular season and against better competition,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “He looks really good right now.”
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