1. Mitch Trubisky was magnificent, but…
So, who’s ready to read way too much into preseason stats? After Mike Glennon struggled (more on that in a bit) and a brief, inconspicuous interlude from Mark Sanchez, Mitch Trubisky took over at the second quarter two-minute warning with the ball at midfield…and promptly marched the Bears into the end zone, completing all four of his passes. In just one series, Trubisky threw for more yards (24) than Glennon did in four (20), and his two-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz sent the Bears into halftime with some positivity.
What we saw from Trubisky during that two-minute stretch wasn’t any different than what we’ve seen during practice in Bourbonnais — the athleticism, arm strength and accuracy all showed up at Soldier Field Thursday night. And it continued into the second half.
The Bears scored their first possession of the second half — Trubisky nearly threw a touchdown to Rueben Randle, who was tackled just shy of the goal line — and after his first two drives, he was 9/9 for 74 yards with a quarterback rating of 138 (his QB rating actually went down after completing his 10th of 10 passes, a nine-yard gain).
Trubisky’s evening was breathtaking, but he’s had an up-and-down training camp in which he hasn’t been able to string good days together. Perhaps Thursday night can propel him to starting rolling good practices, which — if he’s able to do that — could mean he’ll enter the season as the Bears’ backup, instead of staying where he is now at No. 3 on the depth chart.
Still, here’s what Trubisky, earlier this week, said he hoped to accomplish from his first preseason game.
“Just play great situational football, control the game,” Trubisky said. “Each time I’m in there with my teammates just show command at the line of scrimmage, drive the ball down the field, be efficient, pick up first downs and hopefully finish in the end zone a couple times. It’s all about taking care of the football, going out there having fun and doing my job.”
2. Mike Glennon didn’t help his narrative.
Throwing a pick-six on his first series as the Bears’ QB1 and ending his day with a quarterback rating of 0.0 was a pretty rough first impression for Mike Glennon. The Bears’ offense didn’t have any spark while he was quarterbacking it, outside of a handful of electric carries from Tarik Cohen. And Glennon couldn’t connect with Cam Meredith on a deep ball when it looked like the Berwyn native had separated a bit down the sideline.
Thursday was a stark reminder that, while Glennon remains in line to be the Bears’ starting quarterback Sept. 10, he still has plenty of developing to do. Glennon’s had both good and bad days since the Bears reported to training camp in late July, but this one was about as awful as possible and came on a much grander stage. How he — and his teammates — respond from it over the next few days of practice will be interesting to watch.
3. The defense showed some positive signs.
Maybe a little lost in the Glennon disappointment/Trubisky hype was that Vic Fangio’s defense had a solid day. Leonard Floyd sacked Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian on the Bears’ first defensive snap of the game, and we saw big plays from Bryce Callahan and Jonathan Bullard as well. It wasn’t until Isaiah McKenzie embarrassed the Bears’ third/fourth-string secondary midway through the fourth quarter that Denver’s offense scored a touchdown.
While reading into one preseason game is, of course, dangerous and foolish, a thought here: Some key players on that side of the ball have noted that they’re playing faster with a better knowledge of Fangio’s system. Defensive end Akiem Hicks is one of those second-year guys (as are Floyd and Bullard) in the defense, who explained the year-to-year improvement earlier this week.
“Through the things that we installed last year and being able to see those things again, you get just a little bit faster at them,” Hicks said. “You don’t have to look for as many keys. You say to yourself — OK, I got this. Now I see that, let’s go, rather than scanning the whole field. I think that happens when you’re in a scheme for more than a year, going into our second year.”