After Mitch Trubisky went 6 times 6, he hopes ‘this is where it all started’
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Mitch Trubisky didn’t know he’d quarterbacked one of the best performances in Bears history until the Soldier Field scoreboard wrote the historical context over a video of him.
His six touchdown passes in the Bears’ 48-10 victory against the Buccaneers were the most since Johnny Lujack threw six in 1949. He finished one shy of Sid Luckman’s 75-year-old franchise record.
This performance, though, was more about the future than the past.
“Hopefully, this will be something I can look back on and say, ‘This is where it all started,’ ” Trubisky said.
After stumbling through his first three games in coach Matt Nagy’s system, Trubisky was masterful, completing 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards, the six TDs and a 154.7 passer rating.
He helped improve the Bears’ record to 3-1. They’ll spend their bye week in first place.
“This is a big day for him,” Nagy said. “And hopefully this is a day where we look back down the road and say: ‘You remember that day where he had that great game that helped catapult him into being a great quarterback?’ ”
Statistically, he might never be as great as he was against Tampa Bay.
He became the first Bears quarterback since Lujack in 1949 to throw five touchdown passes in the first half. He’s the second NFL player to throw five first-half touchdown passes to five players. The other: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who buried Marc Trestman’s head-coaching career when he threw six in the first half of a 2014 victory against the Bears.
Trubisky was the third player since 1991 to throw for 250 yards and run for 50 more in the first half, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, joining Steve Young in 1991 and Michael Vick in 2010.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter’s words, though, were more telling than any stat: “We should fire every person that was on that field, starting with me. That was horrific.”
Trubisky’s first score was a 39-yard pass down the right sideline to tight end Trey Burton, whose defender fell down. His second was a gorgeous 14-yard jump ball to Allen Robinson in the corner of the end zone. Jordan Howard was wide-open underneath, but Robinson was the first read.
Up 14-3 about two minutes into the second quarter, he found Tarik Cohen — who led the Bears with 121 receiving yards — for a nine-yard touchdown pass.
Three and a half minutes later, Josh Bellamy, whom the Bears tabbed to help replace injured wide receiver Anthony Miller, caught touchdown No. 4, a 20-yarder.
Trubisky’s fifth score came with a flourish: Backup Chase Daniel stood alongside Trubisky in a shotgun formation. Trubisky took the snap and shoveled it forward to Taylor Gabriel on a fly sweep for a three-yard score. Daniel ran a run fake.
The name of the play, which the quarterbacks helped design during practice: Willy Wonka.
“I have been here awhile, and I’ve never been part of a win like this,” guard Kyle Long said. “It feels really good to sit in here with a smile on my face. For the last five, six years, I’ve been saying, ‘We’re getting better, we’re getting better, we’re young, we’re gonna get there.’ . . . Now you guys get to see what I’m seeing.
“The secret’s out. We play good football. And when we get rolling, our confidence level . . . gets high.”
After scoring 38 points in the first half — the third-most in team history — Trubisky threw his sixth score on the Bears’ first drive of the third quarter.
Cody Parkey’s field goal in the fourth quarter gave the Bears 48 points, their most since they hung 51 on the Titans in 2012. That season was the last time the Bears had a 38-point margin of victory, too.
Trubisky, though, was more worried about what it meant for the rest of the season.
“Continue to live in the present — don’t dwell on the past,” he said. “Also, be proud of what you accomplished. But I know I’ve got a lot of work to continue to do in the future.”