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Turn it up: Mitch Trubisky provides watchable TV as Bears beat Lions 20-13

A breakthrough for Trubisky? Hardly. But it was a nice day for him and the Bears’ offense after a miserable few weeks.

Mitch Trubisky completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
AP Photos

No haters here.

Mitch Trubisky is free to watch TV, listen to the radio, read the paper and even check his Twitter. Let the flat screens at Halas Hall shine brightly.

This was a legitimate, professional 20-13 win for Trubisky and the Bears, and it should not be minimized merely because the Lions have an atrocious defense, were missing several key players, including their quarterback, and came within a couple plays of forcing overtime.

And Trubisky was more than a bystander. It wasn’t like when your kid says he helped cook dinner. He genuinely contributed, and that’s worth celebrating regardless of the very favorable circumstances.

“It just feels good to win,” Trubisky said. “When you go through tough things, I think you’ve just got to remember why you play this game. You just love to play this game, and you love the guys you play with. That’ll get you through anything.

“Just continue to stick together, feed off your teammates and believe that you’re going to have a breakthrough. Whether you describe today as a breakthrough or not, we got the win.”

A win? Sure. A breakthrough? No.

And that’s fine.

This season is not about the big picture anymore with Trubisky or this team. It’s about whether he and the Bears can provide a few hours of entertainment and make people happy once a week.

There’s no sense in continuing to grade this team on a championship contender rubric or to debate whether Trubisky is a franchise quarterback. Both matters have long been decided.

This was a desperate team that hadn’t won in 42 days and a beaten-down quarterback struggling through a job that isn’t working out. Any day that ends in victory is a good one for them, even if it felt a little like one of those non-conference cupcake games in college.

Winning was very much in doubt, by the way, as the Bears opened with one of their signature sleep-inducing three-and-outs and failed to get past their own 30-yard line until 2:37 remained in the first half. Trubisky was 3-for-6 for 15 yards and had been sacked twice.

But there’s something about a two-minute drill that jolts this guy out of his worst habit: thinking. Trubisky completed 7 of 8 passes as he marched the Bears down the field and closed with a perfectly thrown ball to tight end Ben Braunecker for the touchdown.

Trubisky directed two touchdown drives coming out of halftime, too, and his numbers on the three scoring possessions were straight out of general manager Ryan Pace’s dreams: 10-for-12 passing, 132 yards and a 152.1 passer rating.

Never mind that at the same time, the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson topped that with a perfect 158.3 over a full game for the second time this season.

Also, never mind that Trubisky had a more Trubisky-esque 62.7 over the other nine possessions — all punts. The Bears had seven three-and-outs and totaled 36 yards after taking a 20-6 lead on Trubisky’s touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel.

Hold on. His final line was 16-for-23 for 173 yards and three touchdowns for a 131 passer rating. We’re supposed to be happy. It’s so easy to forget.

“The way Mitch played and has been battling through whatever everyone’s saying, I’m happy as heck for him,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said.

Trubisky was conservative in his post-game news conference, conscious to avoid making too much out of an outlier performance in an otherwise dismal season.

“We got the win today,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better.”

That’s all it was and all it needs to be: today. The Bears have seven more “todays” left, and if Trubisky plays well in any of them, it’ll be good TV.

That’s been the gauge for most Bears seasons — and quarterbacks — for the last three decades, and the expectations have settled back into that familiar place.