Mitch Trubisky knows he must be better than so-called ‘best game’
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The clock kept ticking, but Mitch Trubisky was unfazed. His offense hurried to the 2-yard line with 12 seconds left; the ball was snapped with six seconds left.
Trubisky then threw a perfect fade for a touchdown.
That’s how the Bears’ prized rookie quarterback wrapped up one of his best games — at North Carolina.
His two-yard touchdown pass to receiver Bug Howard and the ensuing extra point resulted in a 37-36 win against Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, 2016. In his fourth start that season, Trubisky erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter and completed 35 of 46 passes for 453 yards and five touchdowns, setting the bar high for himself in a season in which he became a legitimate NFL prospect.
Now that he’s with Bears coach John Fox, the bar is unfortunately much lower.
Fox said Trubisky played “arguably his best game” against the 49ers on Sunday, yet it ended with Trubisky watching former Bears kicker Robbie Gould make a game-winning field goal.
“There were a couple decisions I think he’d like to have back, not that they were huge errors,” Fox said Monday of Trubisky’s performance. “We did not turn the ball over. We were plus-1 in the turnover ratio. We had a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown. If you’d have told me that before the game, I probably wouldn’t have envisioned any way we’d lose that game.”
Never mind that Trubisky only had 102 passing yards.
Or that the Bears only had eight first downs against a 49ers defense that had allowed an average of more than 22 first downs over its first 11 games.
Or that the 49ers began Sunday last in the NFL in average time of possession, then controlled the ball for 38 minutes, 47 seconds against the Bears.
The 49ers’ defense also entered Sunday ranked 28th in points allowed — more than 25 per game — but Trubisky’s “arguably best game” produced only seven offensive points.
Seriously, what’s going on here?
Fox’s low expectations for Trubisky are damning. He’s trying to win without him. How is Trubisky supposed to develop in such a situation?
Trubisky surely has much to learn as a rookie, but he should be held to higher standards — coached so he can win, not coached around.
That starts with Fox . . . or the Bears’ next coach.
Trubisky knows he wasn’t close to his best against the 49ers.
“We just didn’t feel as an offense that it was good enough on our side of the ball to win the game,” he said.
Trubisky was closer to his best against the Ravens in Week 6, when he eluded pressure and threw an 18-yard strike to receiver Kendall Wright on third-and-11 to set up the Bears’ 27-24 win in overtime.
Or perhaps his best was in the final 30 seconds against the Lions, when he scrambled for 19 yards on fourth down and completed a 15-yard pass to receiver Dontrelle Inman to give kicker Connor Barth an opportunity to tie the game, which Barth blew in a 27-24 loss.
“I’m trying to win,” Trubisky said.
The small victories the Bears want him to accept and embrace clearly aren’t enough. Perhaps no NFL player needs a real victory right now more than Trubisky. And no player seems more driven to get it.
“I look within myself — what more can I do as a player and as a leader on this team to get my guys going more at practice [and] on Sundays, so we can just execute better and come out with a win,” Trubisky said. “The only thing I know is to go back to work, go harder.”
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