In the big picture, the result of Sunday’s game — a 15-14 Bears loss to the San Francisco 49ers, who scored all their points on five Robbie Gould field goals — doesn’t matter a whole lot. It does to the players, of course, and will have some impact on the draft positions of both of these teams.
But what Sunday’s meeting between two of the worst teams in the NFL did highlight was the gap between Jimmy Garoppolo and Mitchell Trubisky.
Garoppolo, who’s in his fourth year in the league, made his first start with the 49ers and completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards with an interception and an 82.4 rating. Trubisky, making his eighth career start, completed 12 of 15 passes for 102 yards with one touchdown and a rating of 117.2. But this less about each player’s respective stat line and more about how each player looked on Sunday.
Garoppolo — who was barely pressured by the Bears’ front seven — picked apart the middle of the field and made a number of impressive throws, even with a lackluster group of receivers and a running game that didn’t go anywhere (Carlos Hyde rushed 17 times for 54 yards).
For all the talk in the Bay Area of Garoppolo not knowing coach Kyle Shahanan’s offensive system, he looked comfortable and confident throwing the ball and operating the San Francisco offense. Garoppolo’s interception was less about him making a bad throw and more about Kyle Fuller making an outstanding play to rip the ball away from receiver Louis Murphy.
Meanwhile, Trubisky started the game well, finding Dontrelle Inman for an eight-yard touchdown and showing good timing on some quick slant throws. But whatever modest level of success he had against a 49ers defense that entered Sunday ranked 27th in DVOA fizzled in the second half. Trubisky fumbled twice in the span of three plays at one point and looked “hoppy” at times, though he once again did well to avoid any dangerous throws.
Everyone shares in the blame for the Bears’ offensive struggles, from Trubisky to the running game to the wide receivers to the offensive line to the coaching staff. It’s not like the 49ers have markedly better players surrounding their franchise quarterback, though there’s an argument to be made the coaching around Garoppolo is better.
But while Garoppolo out-played Trubisky on Sunday, this isn’t necessarily a sky-is-falling take second-guessing the Bears’ decision to get their guy instead of the 49ers’ guy. Worth noting: Garoppolo will be a free agent after this season, and given the market for quarterbacks (see: Mike Glennon’s contract) he’ll be in line for a hefty payday from San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the Bears control Trubisky for four more inexpensive years during which he can develop and grow. It might be easier to build a core around a quarterback who will earn a little over $29 million on his current contract than having to pay around $20 million just to keep said franchise quarterback.