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A critical success: Mitch Trubisky steps up with ’laser focus’ in win over Lions

It was probably just a coincidence that Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky was at his best after a week in which he was the subject of national criticism.

“I thought Mitch had his best game of the season, without a doubt,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “He was on fire. He was efficient. He threw the ball with conviction. His eyes were great. He played confident, and I like that. Laser focus today. Not that he hasn’t had it before. But you could just see it. And you could feel it.”

Trubisky was statistically perfect at the outset of the Bears’ 34-22 victory against the Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field. He completed 13 of 15 passes for 208 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, with a four-yard touchdown run to boot, as the Bears took a 26-0 lead in the second quarter.

“Just felt really comfortable out there,” Trubisky said. “I thought the O-line played fantastic. We got open on the outside, and it was just me doing my job, sitting back there and getting the ball to the
playmakers.”

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) calls a play against the Detroit Lions during the first half Sunday at Soldier Field. | Nam Y. Huh/AP photo

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) calls a play against the Detroit Lions during the first half Sunday at Soldier Field. | Nam Y. Huh/AP photo

The Great Trubisky Debate is a long way from over. This was just one game — against a Lions pass defense that came in ranked 30th in passer rating and was missing Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay.

But the impressive performances are starting to add up. And in the big picture, this was a big win for the notion that Trubisky is a “reps guy” who might not be able to succeed intuitively like Patrick Mahomes seems to do in Kansas City but will get there eventually as those practice reps and game-speed snaps accumulate in an offense that is maturing along with him.

Trubisky is way too steady and measured to fall into the “I told you so” trap. So his answer was predictable when asked what he had to say to his critics after completing 23 of 30 passes for 355 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 148.6 rating.

“Nothing,” he said. “I don’t say anything. I don’t listen to it. I don’t hear it. So I don’t say anything.”

And he doesn’t care what anybody thinks, a sentiment that for some reason seems more becoming of Trubisky than it did Jay Cutler.

“I don’t care one bit,” Trubisky said. “The only thing I care about is coach Nagy, what he has to say; what my teammates have to say and what they think of me.

“I know there’s been talk and noise going on this week. I didn’t hear it directly. But I heard my teammates had my back, and that’s the only thing I care about. That’s what means the world to me.”

And in reality, this was as big a step for the offense as it was for Trubisky. On two plays in particular, all Trubisky had to do was hit a wide-open receiver: rookie Anthony Miller on a 45-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bears a 19-0 lead, and Miller again on a 55-yard pass on the first offensive snap of the second half.

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A year after the Bears couldn’t get anybody open, that sure seems like a sign that Nagy’s offense is kicking into gear and causing the kind of defensive confusion that makes it tough to stop.

But it all starts with Trubisky. The critics have every right to doubt him. And the Bears have every right to believe in him. And they do.

“That’s all that matters,” Nagy said. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. But he’s playing his tail off right now and I love where he’s at.”