Mitch Trubisky is no match for Aaron Rodgers, possibly the greatest QB ever
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In the wake of the Packers’ astounding 24-23 comeback victory Sunday night against the Bears, many head-spun Chicagoans are still trying to figure out what happened.
Here’s what happened.
Aaron Rodgers happened.
This is no knock on young and hopeful quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but he will never be Aaron Rodgers.
Not a chance.
Reason? Rodgers someday might be considered the best quarterback to play the game.
Yes, Tom Brady is still out there at 41, eating ‘‘alkaline’’ foods and winning titles. And Drew Brees keeps gunning along. Nor should we forget oldies such as Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, etc.
But Rodgers is in contention for greatest of all time because of games like the one he pulled out against the Bears.
I’d wager that most players taken off the field on a cart because of injury — as Rodgers was in the first half after nearly a quarter-ton of Bear meat fell on his lower leg — never return to the game at hand. Most don’t come back for weeks. How many come back midway through the third quarter, half-crippled, 20 points down and lead a fourth-quarter rally?
We know who Rodgers is, and we know the Bears must play against him twice a season for years to come. That’s the Cheddarland Curse.
Rodgers is 34, and geniuses like him play until they’re Brady-like, which means until AARP cards are handed out or Gisele Bundchen (or Danica Patrick) says, ‘‘Honey, enough.’’
Nor is this a novel dilemma for the Bears.
Before Rodgers, there was Brett Favre to contend with. That Hall of Fame quarterback started 32 consecutive games for the Packers against the Bears over 16 seasons, finally turning the keys over to Rodgers in 2008.
Rodgers has played 11 straight seasons against the Bears, which means the Bears have been battling Van Gogh and Picasso with cartoonists and graffiti clowns at quarterback — for almost three decades!
This didn’t start out to be a column about Rodgers and Favre. It would be nice to break down Trubisky’s game, to inspect his development in his second season as the apparent Bears quarterback for years to come.
Let’s not forget Trubisky is more than a placeholder at QB; he’s supposed to be the superstar quarterback the Bears haven’t had in over a half-century, if ever.
I liked Tru’s quick release on some passes and his ability to scramble. His first half looked ever so promising, with him and the new defense taking a 17-0 lead.
It was hard not to love that game-opening 10-play, 86-yard touchdown drive Trubisky engineered. When he ran the ball in for the score, zipping past jock-less Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, it seemed that he was channeling Steve Young. Remember that Hall of Famer?
But the second half came about, and if it hadn’t been for Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer bumbling about earlier, showing why the Browns dumped him so fast, the Bears might never have had that big lead at all.
It often comes down to late-game heroics in the NFL. Great quarterbacks lead mind-blowing two-minute drives that seem to come out of nowhere. Leads aren’t safe against the very best quarterbacks until time expires.
This is where Trubisky and his mentor — former Arena League quarterback star and now head coach Matt Nagy — find themselves. Tru had a chance at the end to drive the Bears down for a game-winning field goal.
It was probably asking too much for him to pull it off, and he didn’t. Bad play-calling? Lack of skill? Lack of experience? Your guess. Rodgers, after all, didn’t make his first Pro Bowl until the 2009 season, when he was 26. Trubisky is 24.
Thus, the issue is twofold. First, there is the anticipated growth of Trubisky, who has started only 13 NFL games. Did he look much beyond average against the Packers? No, he did not.
His bland 77.2 passer rating jibed distressingly well with his 2017 blah rating of 77.5. Rodgers, FYI, has a career rating of 104.0.
You can beat legendary quarterbacks, but you have to do it with a team plan and a quarterback who is not asked to do more than he’s capable of.
It’s hard to say if Trubisky can do more. If this is the peak, uh-oh.
The other problem is the Packers. And their quarterbacks. They’re not leaving Green Bay or the NFC North.