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It took them long enough, but Bears finally made right call at QB

If Trubisky had been taken as the second pick in the fifth or sixth round of the 2017 draft instead of the second pick in the entire 2017 draft, he might never have hit the field as a starter.

It took the Bears three-plus years to acknowledge Mitch Trubisky is not a starting-caliber quarterback.
It took the Bears three-plus years to acknowledge Mitch Trubisky is not a starting-caliber quarterback.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

After the Bears’ game Sunday against the Falcons, I have two questions:

First, did we really have to go through this quarterback nonsense?

Second, are the Bears really undefeated?

After much pondering, I have the answers:

Sadly, yes.

And, good Lord, yes.

It took the Bears three-plus years to acknowledge Mitch Trubisky is not a starting-caliber quarterback.

Good guy, good teammate, good athlete, good tackler. (Did you see him nail the Falcons cornerback after that third-quarter interception?) But a good quarterback? No.

So why did it take so long to bench him and install somebody else — in this case, Nick Foles — as the offensive leader?

I think we all know.

If Trubisky had been taken as the second pick in the fifth or sixth round of the 2017 draft instead of the second pick in the entire 2017 draft, he might never have hit the field as a starter. Indeed, he might have been projected as a backup, stayed a backup and performed only as a backup.

But general manager Ryan Pace had his reputation on the line with this guy, who was drafted as high as any Bears quarterback has been taken. Trubisky crashing was also Pace’s reputation crashing.

Yet kudos to the Bears, at last, for doing what had to be done. (It should be a long time before Pace gets to draft a quarterback again. Maybe never. If it ever does happen, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson will be there as ghostlike apparitions, hovering over Pace’s shoulder, chuckling away.)

Still, amazingly, the Bears are 3-0. It does not seem true, but it is. With only a few turns of the ball, they could be 0-3.

Each one of their games has come down to the wire before a victory was assured. Is that dominance? Karma? Pure luck?

Yet here they are, one of only three undefeated teams in the NFC, along with the Packers and Seahawks. Historically, teams that start 3-0 have a 74% chance of making the playoffs.

Win Sunday against the Colts at Soldier Field to go 4-0, and there’s an 82% chance of making the postseason.

Maybe that’s not a splendid goal — just getting somewhere to look around at the pretty sights — but a lot of folks thought this team was a .500 club, at best.

Which brings us back to quarterbacks. There seem to be a lot of them having up days, down days, losing when doing well and squeaking by even when playing great.

Consider the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, who has thrown a record 14 touchdown passes in the first three games. Yet his team easily could be 1-2. The Seahawks’ 38-31 victory Sunday against the Cowboys wasn’t settled until Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s last pass was intercepted in the end zone.

The Bears’ game ended almost the same way, when safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan with about a minute left.

Maybe that kind of stuff is the new normal. Hang in there and hope the gun sounds before you lose.

At this point I think of 17-year veteran Philip Rivers, the quarterback of the Colts, whom the Bears play Sunday. Rivers has passed for more than 60,000 career yards, is one of six players in NFL history to throw 400 touchdown passes, is fifth all-time in completions — better than Hall of Famers Dan Marino, John Elway, Dan Fouts, Joe Montana, etc. — but never has made it to a Super Bowl.

Yet Foles, who had to come off the bench after removing splinters from his behind, not only has played in a Super Bowl, but he has won one — and was named MVP of the game. Is that fair?

The Titans are undefeated this season behind quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Ever thought of Tannehill as a superstar? Ever thought of him at all?

We got all the up and down we could stomach with Trubisky, but Foles could be like a yo-yo himself. This is a guy who looked great Sunday, with three touchdown passes in the final six-plus minutes in Atlanta. And in 2018, he tied the NFL record with 25 consecutive completions in a game.

But he also had a dreadful 69.0 season passer rating in 2015. And don’t forget he supposedly was beaten out for the Bears’ starting job fair and square by Trubisky.

So away we go. Strap yourself in.