CINCINNATI — Mitchell Trubisky certainly wasn’t perfect, but he played his best game as a pro in the Bears’ 33-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. And that not only represented progress for the Bears’ franchise quarterback, but hope that these final three games of the 2017 season won’t necessarily be a lost cause.
Trubisky looked comfortable going through his reads in the pocket and zipped throws across the field, targeting nine different while completing 25 of 32 passes for 271 yards, good for a 112.4 passer rating. Helping matters was a strong game from Jordan Howard (23 carries, 147 yards) and an offensive gameplan that didn’t feel conservative.
Trubisky didn’t have pinpoint accuracy, and some of that falls on him, but perhaps some of it was due to the rookie still not having good timing with his running backs/receivers/tight ends. The receiver with which Trubisky has shown the best chemistry, Dontrelle Inman wasn’t targeted, for what it’s worth.
And a lot of what Trubisky had to do on Sunday was cover for a rash of penalties — four on the offensive line, though one was on him when he threw beyond the line of scrimmage — which served as a reminder that the Beras, while better, were still far too sloppy.
The Bengals, though, looked uninspired and disinterested six days after blowing a 10-point fourth quarter lead in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But no matter how much the Bengals were banged up, or how little effort they seemed to give, what Trubisky did on Sunday was impressive.
The same goes for Howard, Cohen (11carries, 83 yards), Adam Shaheen (four catches, 44 yards, one touchdown) and Eddie Jackson (an interception in the third quarter, a forced fumble in the fourth). The common thread between all of those guys: They all were drafted in the last two years.
It wasn’t just the Bears’ young core that had an impressive day, though. Kendall Wright caught 10 of 11 target for 107 yards, while Kyle Fuller swatted away two passes and kept standout Bengals receiver A.J. Green in check for much of the afternoon. And John Fox, while he curiously challenged Trubisky’s throw beyond the line of scrimmage in the first half, correctly challenged Jackson’s forced fumble in the second half, leading to the play being overturned and the Bears getting the ball.
This Bears win doesn’t change the course of this year, nor does it guarantee that these good vibes will carry over into next weekend’s trip to Detroit. But a blowout win on the road does give Trubisky and the Bears a much better base on which to build toward 2018 in the dying embers of the 2017 season.