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The last time Mitch Trubisky quarterbacked his offense to a meager three points, he did so running John Fox and Dowell Loggains’ scheme, with an atrocious group of receivers, against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. 

Nothing was in place for Trubisky in 2017. It was easy to write off sub-optimal games from the Bears’ No. 2 overall pick back then. Those were valid excuses. 

Everything is supposed to be in place for Trubisky in 2019, from the coaching staff to the talent around him to his own growth in Year 3. 

And yet, here we are again. 

Trubisky completed 26 of 45 passes for 228 yards with no touchdowns and one back-breaking interception in the Bears’ hideous 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers Thursday night at Soldier Field. It’s not exactly a good look when an opposing defensive player says his team’s defensive strategy was to make the opposing quarterback play quarterback:

Coach Matt Nagy absorbed the blame for the Bears’ putrid performance, saying it was “unacceptable” and “starts with me.” And Nagy deserves plenty of criticism for what transpired Thursday, which didn’t involve the second-year coach calling a running play in the game’s final 25:52. The Bears had 12 men on the field for the lone touchdown they allowed and had two delay of game penalties whistled on a drive that ended with a bizarre fourth-and-10 attempt instead of a 51-yard field goal. The 10 penalties flagged on the Bears didn’t reflect well on the coaching staff, either. 

 

It was a disappointing game for the Bears’ offensive line, too. 

But what went down in the first game of the Bears’ 100th season begs an uncomfortable question: Why couldn’t Trubisky — the first quarterback selected in a draft that produced Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — overcome all this to win? Especially when his team’s defense looked the part of being elite, again, in holding Aaron Rodgers to a measly 10 points? 

“It’s really frustrating because it’s very uncharacteristic of this offense, especially the way we’ve been practicing,” Trubisky said. “… I definitely feel like I let a lot my teammates down, the fans down with the way that I played.”

The last time we saw Trubisky on a national stage, he led what would’ve been a game-winning drive in a playoff game had it not been for Cody Parkey’s double-doink. Trubisky struggled early in that game, yet mustered over 300 yards passing. He showed a lot of the things that gave the Bears confidence in him heading into Year 3 in the NFL, and Year 2 in Nagy’s offense. 

So we’ve seen Trubisky be better than this. The Bears saw Trubisky be better than this in practice leading up to this game. None of his worst days in training camp felt as hopeless as what played out at Soldier Field Thursday night. 

“We just got to get in a better rhythm, whether that's personnel-wise, whether that's stacking completions, getting the run game going different ways,” Nagy said. “But we've got to go back to the drawing board. And I'm not — I'm in zero panic mode. I'm in a frustration mode because I just feel like I know we're better than that.”

Fifteen games remain in Bears’ 2019 regular season. All the buzz and buildup to Thursday night’s game made it seem like it was bigger than it actually will be in the grand scheme of the NFL season. 

Overreacting to Week 1 is a time-honored tradition in the NFL. We’ve been waiting for real football for so long, after all, so it’s easy to jump to far-reaching conclusions based on six percent of the regular season being over. 

“We didn't lose the Super Bowl,” Nagy said, “we lost the first game of the regular season.”

Indeed, there are some valid excuses for Trubisky’s poor play outside of what he did. Whatever the Bears’ contingency plan was for not having tight end Trey Burton didn’t work. The run-pass balance was atrocious (“that’s not what we want,” Nagy said). The uneven personnel decisions weren’t on Trubisky. 

 

This is just one game, yes. This is also a team that kicked off 2019 with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. 

Eventually, Trubisky has to be better. Otherwise those dreams of a Lombardi Trophy will turn into nightmares sooner than you think. 

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