BALTIMORE — If you’re looking for progress from Mitchell Trubisky from his first start on Monday night to his second on Sunday, his decision-making was better against the Baltimore Ravens than it was against the Minnesota Vikings.
To that point: Facing a third-and-three near the end zone in the second quarter, Trubisky rolled to his left, didn’t see anyone open and threw the ball away. That was not the time to force a throw into coverage and risk turning the ball over. The Bears settled for a chip-shot field goal and took a 3-0 lead.
“When you get in the point zone, you take an incompletion over a risky throw,” Trubisky said. “Didn’t put ourselves in a lot of sticky situations for that, we came away with points and it paid off in the end. Try to learn from my mistake last week, forcing the ball when I didn’t need to, this week play within myself and took what the defense gave me. And that’s a really good defense out there so it’s good to come away with a win, especially on the road.”
The Bears won, 27-24, not necessarily because of what Trubisky did (8/16, 113 yards, 1 TD), but more for what he didn’t. Jordan Howard carried 36 times for 167 hard-earned yards, 53 of which came with the Bears backed up near their own goal line in overtime. Tarik Cohen carried 14 times and threw as many touchdowns as Trubisky. The first wide receiver to record a catch was Kendall Wright about six minutes into the third quarter.
“It’s all about what’s necessary to be done for the team and what you have to do to get a win,” Trubisky said. “Today, my job was to manage it (and) take care of the football.”
Trubisky, with time, won’t be asked to “manage” many games. But while we’re still in the nascent stages of his development as an NFL quarterback, and with the Bears’ coaching staff needing to win games, that’s what the task was on Sunday. He was asked to make a play in overtime, with the Bears facing a second-and-11, and he found Wright for an 18-yard reception that set up Connor Barth’s game-winning 40-yard field goal.
That might’ve been a difficult situation for a rookie quarterback who hadn’t thrown the ball much — let alone with much effectiveness — for four quarters of the game. But that it wasn’t for Trubisky was a reminder why the Bears invested their highest draft pick in decades into him.
“For a normal young guy it’s tough,” Wright said. “I don’t know how normal Mitch is.”
Trubisky’s biggest mistake came when he lost a fumble when Lardarius Webb sacked him and dislodged the ball, which C.J. Mosley recovered.. But after the game, Trubisky already seemed to have a grasp on what he did wrong on that play — he said he moved off his first read too quick, which caused him to not be able to see the blitzing cornerback.
When he watches the film, Trubisky — and the rest of the offense surely will identify more things he could’ve done better. But unlike last week, he’ll be watching a game the Bears ultimately won. And that’s what counts, right?
“Every win is a good win,” Cohen said. “We might’ve got it ugly, but it’s a good win. So you gotta take that and run with it and try to run with it and string games together. And it’s really encouraging because we know that we made our mistakes so if we correct those, we know what kind of game it’s going to be.”