The difference between Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Bears’ Mitch Trubisky? Everything
Mahomes thoroughly outplayed the quarterback the Bears chose instead of him in 2017.
The Bears insisted their game Sunday against the Chiefs wasn’t a head-to-head competition between Patrick Mahomes and Mitch Trubisky, which is what you’d expect a team that drafted Trubisky over Mahomes to say.
So under no circumstances were the Bears going to pay attention to what was so obviously NOT a showdown, despite the fact that both men were playing the same position (quarterback) in the same place (Soldier Field).
The rest of us could do whatever we wanted with our shallow lives, but the Bears refused to get caught up in the what-if game — the what-if in this case being: What if they hadn’t passed over Mahomes like chipped beef on toast in the buffet line that was the 2017 NFL Draft?
As we all know by now, the Bears traded up a spot to take Trubisky with the second pick and the Chiefs chose Mahomes 10th. And as we all know by now, boy, was that a mistake.
But in case anyone had forgotten, Mahomes — the reigning NFL most valuable player — counted to 10 on his fingers after throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce in the second quarter. He’s exquisitely aware of his draft position. He said after the game he was just having fun when he gave the Bears the fingers.
Yeah, we could tell.
He did whatever he wanted to do in the Chiefs’ 26-3 victory, and Trubisky did whatever his limitations allowed him to do.
Mahomes: 23-for-33 for 251 yards, two touchdowns and a 112.1 passer rating.
Trubisky: 18-for-34 for 157 yards, no touchdowns and a 65.4 rating.
If anybody sees Bears general manager Ryan Pace, tell him Chicago is looking for him.
To see the quarterbacks side-by-side was jarring for the objective observer and, I assume, physically debilitating for Pace, the man who did the picking (and not picking) in 2017. Mahomes is so much better at reading defenses and taking them apart than Trubisky is. He’s far more accurate with his passes. His footwork is better. His arm is better. He’s more elusive. He probably sings in the shower better.
But we’re told this wasn’t Trubisky against Mahomes.
‘‘It just wasn’t our day’’ is how Bears coach Matt Nagy put it.
The Chiefs had a 95-yard drive late in the second quarter that summed up everything about, well, everything. Mahomes had six passes of between 12 and 15 yards on that drive. If command and precision had a handbook, this was it. The Bears were nice enough to keep the drive alive with penalties for illegal use of hands and running into the punter.
Oh, and the Bears’ offense had two illegal shifts to end the first half, but there had been no hint that Trubisky was going to lead them to points anyway. The Chiefs led 17-0 at halftime.
‘‘We let each other down, and we let the fans down,’’ Trubisky said.
I’m sure Pace had been dreading this game for months. He knew Trubisky, in the rosiest interpretation of the situation, still was finding his way. And he knew the attention on the meeting of the quarterbacks was going to be loud. But this had to be worse than he thought.
And after the thoroughly one-sided affair, there’s officially no escape for him on this topic.
It doesn’t matter that some draft experts rated Trubisky ahead of Mahomes heading into the 2017 draft. It only matters that the Bears’ draft experts did, too, and were wrong. It doesn’t matter that eight other teams passed on Mahomes. It only matters that the Bears did.
It’s not just a talent issue.
On the Bears’ first drive, Trubisky took an eight-yard sack on third-and-13 instead of throwing the ball away.
On the Chiefs’ first play, Mahomes threw the ball out of bounds rather than take a sack.
That’s basic. That’s remedial football.
The Chiefs’ offense is so much more creative than the Bears’. Is that a function of having a much more talented quarterback or a much smarter head coach? I’d say Trubisky brings down Nagy much more than the other way around.
On Sunday, you would have had a hard time telling that to the Soldier Field crowd, which booed short passes on third down that went nowhere. The crowd also booed Trubisky on general principle. Late in the fourth quarter, the stadium was about a quarter full. That spoke louder than any booing.
If you’re a Bears fan, comparing the quarterbacks could lead to long-term mental-health issues. But no matter how the team tried to quash the discussion, you were going to compare them anyway. One stat stood out in bold type heading into the game: Mahomes was fifth among NFL quarterbacks with 8.5 yards per pass attempt; Trubisky was tied for 46th with 6.2.
On Sunday, Trubisky averaged 4.6 yards per attempt. There’s your story — and possibly Pace’s epitaph.