Bears

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky dominated the Cowboys with his legs in Week 14

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky dominated the Cowboys with his legs in Week 14

Mitch Trubisky looked like a quarterback who was selected second overall in the NFL draft with his performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Thursday night's 31-24 win. In fact, he's looked every bit the part over the last four weeks, but Week 14 showcased the complete skill set that made Trubisky the first quarterback drafted in 2017.

Against a Cowboys defense that was ranked as a top-10 unit coming into the game, Trubisky threw for 244 yards, ran for 63 yards and totaled four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). He threw the ball with conviction and completed passes that an average quarterback never could have. His eight-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson with 10 seconds remaining in the first half was special. Despite blanket coverage by Dallas linebacker Jaylon Smith, Trubisky put the ball where only Robinson could catch it. It was a heater, too. 

Trubisky had more than one throw like that Thursday night. His first touchdown to Robinson came earlier in the second quarter with 12:18 remaining in the half. This time it was Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones in coverage, and he didn't stand a chance despite being in position to make the play. There was no way to defend against the accuracy of Trubisky's five-yard strike.

But what really made Trubisky's game a signature performance was his running. He regained the form that made him such an exciting player in 2018 and a guy who had a sleeper MVP candidacy in the preseason.

Last season, Trubisky ran the ball 68 times for 421 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games. His legs kept opposing defenses honest and opened easier throws for his arm. Prior to Thursday night's win, Trubisky had only run the ball 26 times for 80 yards in 2019. He upped his carry total by nearly 40% (10 rushes against the Cowboys) and nearly doubled his yardage in just one game. It helped the offense stay on schedule and produced one of the night's most memorable moments when Trubisky broke the pocket and juked his way to a 23-yard touchdown run with 13:28 left in the fourth quarter. He earned his highest rushing grade on the season from Pro Football Focus, too.

"Just pulled it," Trubisky said of the touchdown run after the game. "Really an awesome block by Leno. We knew they were a squeeze-scrape team. The backer is going to scrape over top. He does a good job of locking him out. I just cut up in there, made a guy miss, got in the end zone.

"The best part of that for me was how excited my teammates got afterwards. Really cool moment. It was good."

Trubisky's running does more than just make his job easier. It also hides some flaws in the offensive line, which has struggled in pass protection this season. After Week 14's game, pass-rushers will have to think twice about pinning their ears back and going all-out for a sack. Trubisky reminded the league he's a dangerous quarterback who will make defenses pay if they take too many chances against him.

Trubisky's growth over the last month of the season has been pretty remarkable. It took him longer than expected to get to this place he's at now, i.e. a quarterback who can put Chicago on his shoulders and win a football game, but he appears to have arrived. At least, if his last three games are any indication, he's become the kind of productive playmaker the Bears have so desperately need. He's completed 70% of his passes for 860 yards (seven touchdowns, four interceptions) and a passer rating of 99.1 over that stretch.

Spread over 16 games, this three-week run would equate to 4,586 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 99.1 passer rating would rank among the top-10 starters in the league, too. 

Trubisky tucked and ran with more frequency Thursday night and it paid off. It made the Bears' offense look almost unstoppable at times. It's been a while since that could be said about this squad, but it's better late than never.

"We've gotten better over the last couple weeks, I'm talking about as a team, that's what's most important to me," Trubisky said. "That is what allows you to get better as an individual, is if you focus on the team first, focus on the guys around you."

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The Bears now have the dubious honor of motivating 49ers' RB Raheem Mostert's 4-TD day

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USA Today

The Bears now have the dubious honor of motivating 49ers' RB Raheem Mostert's 4-TD day

Raheem Mostert's been cut by six different teams since 2015, so a chip on the shoulder isn't exactly surprising. 

After his 220-yard, four touchdown performance in the NFC Championship, the 27-year old explained what still gets him motivated before every game:

And who was the last team to cut Mostert before he signed with the 49ers? The Bears of course! In 2016, Mostert was signed to the their practice squad, and he ended up appearing in two games before getting cut in October. He made another brief appearance on the team's practice squad later in the year, but was off the roster for good by Thanksgiving. 

It's not some huge indictment of the team, but since the 2020 playoffs are apparently solely focused on hurting Bears' fans without even involving the Bears, this feels about right. 

Under Center Podcast: Special guest Dave Wannstedt

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AP

Under Center Podcast: Special guest Dave Wannstedt

Dave Wannstedt joins host Laurence Holmes to discuss his friend Jimmy Johnson getting the nod to join the ranks of the all-time great coaches in the Hall of Fame. Later on, Dave discusses the Bear great Jimbo Covert getting into the Hall and what does Dave take away from the recent Bears hires mean.

(2:01) - Watching Jimmy Johnson getting into the Hall of Fame

(6:10) - Seeing Jimmy Johnson getting emotional on TV

(10:29) - Why Jimbo Covert is a Hall of Famer

(14:20) - Bears moving their training camp from Bourbonnais

(15:32) - Bear's new hires

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast

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