Matt Nagy says Mitch Trubisky had a good game; I’ll have what he’s having
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Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s protection was excellent Sunday. Coach Matt Nagy picked up all pass-rushing questioners after his team’s 38-31 loss to the Patriots.
‘‘There’s a lot of things that you guys won’t see on tape that I will see, and he was really good,’’ Nagy said of Trubisky. ‘‘He had a really good game mentally. He made good decisions. There’s a couple of passes that he made where he was the first to come off [the field] and say, ‘Shoot, I shouldn’t have made that throw.’ That, I like.’’
Mitch was ‘‘really good’’? I just want to make sure we’re talking about the same guy: Mitch Trubisky, right? Not Mitch McConnell. Not Mitch Kupchak. Mitch Trubisky.
The Mitch who threw two interceptions.
The Mitch who almost threw two other interceptions in the end zone.
The Mitch who too often had trouble completing passes to open receivers.
The Mitch who looked confused at times by the different looks Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave him at Soldier Field.
‘‘When you throw the ball 50 times, there are going to be some that are inaccurate,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘This is this kid’s second year in the NFL. This is his first year in our offense. Not everything is going to be dead-on. So he had a good game.’’
Trubisky isn’t the reason the Bears lost a game they could have won. They gave up two special-teams touchdowns — on a 95-yard kickoff return and a blocked punt. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes, none to all-everything tight end Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t play because of injury.
But nothing about Trubisky’s 69.8 passer rating and 52 percent completion rate says he played well, and he doesn’t need Nagy shielding him (or us) from the truth 18 games into his NFL career. It’s OK for Trubisky to have subpar games. It’s expected, even. After the previous two games — in which he threw a combined nine touchdown passes and one interception — you almost could see trouble coming. Yet Nagy tilted his head after game and saw a work of art.
It was an oil painting only if 10W-30 was the medium.
The question of the afternoon was how 31 points could feel so empty. Nagy pushed the storyline that the Bears came within one yard of tying the Patriots, but it certainly didn’t feel that way. Trubisky’s 54-yard Hail Mary completion to Kevin White ended at the Patriots’ 1-yard line as time expired. And those 54 yards made Trubisky’s total (333 passing yards) look a lot better than it would have otherwise.
If you want to say he was excellent as a runner, that’s more than fair. He scored on an eight-yard run in which he needed 70 yards to avoid Patriots defenders. He gave a hesitation move that relieved a few would-be tacklers of their motor skills. His 81 rushing yards led the Bears and included a 39-yard run.
Perhaps the Bears should look to use his running ability more, as long as opponents don’t crumple him and sell him for parts.
But Trubisky was good? No.
‘‘There were a lot of throws where he gave some guys chances,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘We had some drops early on. We had some big drops. Again, this is collectively. We all need each other to make plays.’’
Trubisky got a little closer to the truth than Nagy did.
‘‘I thought I played all right,’’ he said. ‘‘I made some plays here and there. . . . We’ve got to continue taking care of the football. That’s on me.’’
The Bears are 3-3. It’s hard to argue this was a step back after their loss to the Dolphins on the road last week. The Patriots were a step up as an opponent. Yet despite the close-ish score, it felt like something went badly wrong. It was somewhere between a step backward and a driver mistaking the gas pedal for the brake and smashing into the storefront.
So now Nagy will do what all coaches say they’ll do: He’ll watch tape. But he took it a step further and said he’ll watch tape and see things the rest of us can’t see. That’s next-level stuff. And very convenient while protecting a young quarterback.
‘‘They played good defense, but, shoot, man, our offense, we were right there,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘I think our offense is growing, and I like where they’re at right now. I really do.’’
Sigh. OK, Coach.
This loss might have been a little more palatable if Nagy hadn’t tried to make it into something it wasn’t. We all have eyes.