What is it that drives us crazy about Mitch Trubisky?
We all know what it is. The bad, bad, OK, tease, then . . . good!
It’s tough to live that way, folks. Maybe yo-yos like it, but those of us without strings get dizzy and ill from being yanked around by erratic quarterback play.
The Bears’ 27-23 comeback victory against the not-very-good Lions was a perfect example of how a Chicago quarterback like Trubisky can drive us mad with poor play, weak judgment, inconsistency and then — bam! — moments of splendor that make us think, “You know what? This guy is all right!’’
I’m sure in Detroit they’re talking about how the Lions gave the game away with drops, penalties (seriously, headbutting a ref?), a missed field goal, overall stupidity.
But that’s the game. That’s the deal.
Consider that Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow was a debut hero, then a zero against the Chargers on Sunday, sprinting for an early touchdown, then apparently throwing the game-winning touchdown pass with nine seconds left — only to have the score waved off by penalty. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock promptly shanked a short field goal, and the Bengals lost 16-13.
Burrow was last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, the first pick in the draft. He’s sort of the Bengals’ Trubisky, the Bears’ man/savior who was taken second in the 2017 draft.
Either of those games could have been decided the opposite way. Each came down to the last play. Each had a dramatic comeback drive or two involved. Then a crapshoot.
Trubisky looked so bad in the first half against the Lions that it was shocking not to see backup Nick Foles start the third quarter.
Burrow, on the other hand, is the Bengals’ guy, come heck or high water. His backup, Ryan Finley, has a 62.1 passer rating.
Still, if young Burrow stinks up the ship for a couple of years, believe it, the terrible Bengals will be right back in the apple bob, searching for a star No. 1 quarterback in the draft.
That’s how it goes in the NFL.
So here we are in Trubisky’s fourth year in the league, as unsure as ever if he has developmental promise or if he’s just a millstone with a teaser tail attached.
If you were a sportswriter, your column was basically done after Trubisky “led’’ the Bears to a 23-6 first-half deficit.
End this experiment! Ship him out of town! The Bears could have taken Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson in that 2017 draft, and they took this dud? Lord almighty, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy, bring on Foles!
Then . . .
Then Trubisky engineered three late-game scoring drives, and the Bears won a thriller. Yank the paper out of your antique typewriter, wad it up, toss it in the garbage can, adjust your fedora, relight the cigar stub jammed in the corner of your mouth and grudgingly type that Trubisky had one of the gutsiest games you’ve seen in a while.
After all, the Bears won. Which is the point, right?
But what we can’t help thinking about is the big picture. Can this guy really, truly lead the Bears to a championship? Where do we see any of that possibility?
Yet the league itself is full of quarterback questions.
Other than, say, Mahomes, Watson, Lamar Jackson, Drew Brees, whom do you fully believe in?
Well, there’s the always under-appreciated Russell Wilson (never an MVP vote), Aaron Rodgers, the re-energized Cam Newton and those youngish guys such as Kyler Murray and Burrow.
But wasn’t Baker Mayfield supposed to be a great pick for the Browns? Third-year man Mayfield looked awful in a bad loss to the Ravens.
It could be that any team that ever pinned its hopes on Johnny “Football’’ Manziel is doomed to failure.
So the question is: Do you dump your quarterback and tank for a top pick? Or do you dance with the one you brought to the rodeo in the first place?
Suppose you’re the Colts and you laid out $25 million for one year with aging Philip Rivers. Then you watch Rivers get outplayed by Gardner Minshew II, who was drafted by the Jaguars at No. 178 in 2019.
It can hurt.
Tom Brady with the Buccaneers? The former superstar is 43, and he played Sunday like a guy who’s, oh, maybe 44.
So, Mitch, you’re confusing us.
We hate you; we love you.
Love is so much better. Please continue.