It’s Mitch Trubisky or bust for Bears as they try to save their season vs. Texans
If he can repeat what he did in the Lions game — except, of course, his disastrous fumble at the end — Trubisky could keep the Bears in the playoff race.
Mitch Trubisky was at the center of one of the ugliest Bears collapses in recent memory last week. With just under two minutes remaining, he stood at his own 7-yard line grasping for a ball he’d fumbled, which the Lions recovered to set up their game-winning touchdown.
It was as bad an ending as the Bears could have imagined, and there’s no excusing it. But before that, Trubisky actually did pretty well.
And as the Bears roll with him into a potentially season-deciding game against the Texans on Sunday, coach Matt Nagy is counting on him to continue everything he did right last week. If he does, they have a shot at snapping their six-game losing streak and making a run at the playoffs.
“He’s playing the game at a fast pace,” Nagy said. “This past game, his decision-making was really good. And I love where his mindset is at.”
If not for the fumble, it would have been Trubisky’s best game of the season. He completed 76.5% of his passes — the sixth-highest percentage of his career. He led the Bears to points on their first three possessions. He threw for 267 yards, a mark this team has hit just five times the last two seasons, and finished with a 108.3 passer rating.
Trubisky and the Bears fell flat at times, but it was one of their best overall performances of the year.
“We’re making progress as an offense,” Trubisky said. “And I feel that it’s just a little reassurance that . . . you’re seeing the hard work in practice translate to the game a little more. The execution is coming to life, and we’re able to make plays and move the ball and score some more points. It’s just another step in the right direction. We have to keep doing that.”
The key disclaimer is that this came against the Lions, against whom a lot of offenses look good — something Trubisky and Nagy seem to forget. But the Lions aren’t much different than what Trubisky will face Sunday.
Not only are the Texans one of the NFL’s 10 worst defenses, but they’re especially bad against the pass, allowing a league-high 106.6 opponent passer rating, which essentially means every quarterback they face turns into Russell Wilson.
These are the kinds of teams Trubisky has feasted on throughout his short career. In 18 games against defenses that finished in the bottom 10 in opponent passer rating, or are in that tier this season, he has completed 69% of his passes, averaged 232.8 yards and thrown for 29 touchdowns against seven interceptions for a 106.1 rating.
The Texans’ defense is an ideal adversary for him, and that’s the part of this matchup that matters — not the showdown with fellow 2017 first-round quarterback Deshaun Watson. The only way Watson comes into play for Trubisky is if he lights up the Bears so badly that Trubisky can’t keep up.
Given Trubisky’s obvious improvement against the Lions after Nagy talked up his return against the Packers, it seems increasingly likely the Bears will sink or swim with him for the rest of the season. Nick Foles has recovered from the hip injury he suffered a month ago, but Nagy sounds committed.
Asked whether he’d be willing to make an in-game change, he said, “We’re just focusing right now on Mitchell at quarterback against the Texans. That’s what’s important. Nick’s been doing a great job on where he’s at right now and getting back from the injury. I think Mitch is in a good place, too.”
Maybe not a great place, but good enough to handle the lightweights the Bears need to beat to stay in the hunt. If Trubisky can repeat 99% of what he did in the Lions game, that should be sufficient.