Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky won’t spend much time — if any, really — watching film of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, his counterpart Sunday at Soldier Field. Coach Bill Belichick’s defense presents enough challenges for Trubisky to digest.
“You know he’s going to try to throw out a couple of confusing looks and blitzes,” Trubisky said Wednesday.
But Trubisky’s passion for his position — one that has involved studying great quarterbacks and now includes a friendship with Peyton Manning — has inspired an appreciation for the upcoming duel.
Trubisky didn’t hide behind a clichéd answer that highlights the obvious: He’s facing the Patriots’ defense — not Brady — on the field.
He knows Brady — with his five Super Bowl rings and unparalleled success in his 40s — is a barometer. That’s the case for all young quarterbacks who go toe-to-toe with the ultimate measuring stick.
“[Brady has] just really been able to push the limits of what can be accomplished at this position and how everybody looks at it,” said Trubisky, who is 17 years younger than Brady. “He’s really taken this thing to new levels, and it’ll be cool to compete against him Sunday.”
That was the case this past Sunday night for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He led Kansas City to a second-half comeback against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, tying the game at 40 with 3:03 left on wide receiver Tyreek Hill’s 75-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
Mahomes then watched Brady deftly drive the Patriots down the field for kicker Stephen Gost-kowski’s game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired.
It’s what Brady does. He’s definitive in defining moments. According to Pro Football Reference, the Patriots’ 43-40 victory against the Chiefs featured the 43rd game-winning drive of Brady’s Hall of Fame career.
For Trubisky, it’ll be consistently making enough plays in a game, understanding that your counterpart has made so many throughout his career. In the end, Mahomes played well against the Patriots, but he still wasn’t great enough against an all-time great.
“Just following [Brady’s] journey and what he’s had to overcome to be able to get where he’s at, it’s very admirable, and doing it this long —this well over a long period of time — is pretty incredible,” Trubisky said. “You always look at that, and what [great quarterbacks have] been able to do. As a quarterback, you’re judged by how many games you win, and he’s been successful at that.”
This game should have a similar feel to the season opener, when Trubisky went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers and watched as he staged a remarkable comeback in the second half despite a knee injury.
But this week still is different. Trubisky will face Rodgers twice every season. Beating the Patriots means beating Belichick’s defense, too. Rodgers might be special, but the Brady-Belichick combination is unmatched.
It helps that coach Matt Nagy has experience against the Patriots. The Chiefs went 2-1 against the Pats — the one loss coming in the playoffs — when Nagy was part of coach Andy Reid’s staff.
The Chiefs blew out New England 41-14 in 2014 and 42-27 in last year’s opener. Quarterback Alex Smith was exceptional, too, completing 48 of 61 passes for 616 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions in those victories.
“[Nagy has] had success against this team, so that definitely gives me confidence,” Trubisky said.
Given how the NFL schedule is planned out, this could be Trubisky’s only game against Brady, who’s 41.
“Obviously, he’s one of the best to do it,” Trubisky said. “And it’s cool to watch his film, as well as many other guys over the years, to pick up anything you possibly can. He’s had a lot of success, so you definitely look at what kind of traits he has to be able to lead his team to that many wins over a long period of time.”