Bears

New week, same excuses for Mitch Trubisky

Bears

PHILADELPHIA — If the Chicago Bears' season was on life support after Week 8's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, it may have flatlined following Sunday's 22-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

For the first time this season, there's a legitimate argument to be made that the defense actually failed this team. With the offense "surging" and momentum clearly on the Bears' side in the midst of a fourth-quarter comeback at Lincoln Financial Field, Chicago's allegedly elite defense surrendered a 16-play, 69-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes and resulted in a game-sealing field goal for the Eagles. Tight end Adam Shaheen fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Philadelphia recovered. Game over.

But should it have even been that close?

Prior to that life-sucking final drive, Chicago's defense played winning football. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw for just 239 yards and a touchdown, and while running back Jordan Howard did have a quality performance (89 yards and a touchdown), there was never a moment prior to Philadelphia's last possession that felt like the Bears' defense was overmatched.

That wasn't the case for Mitch Trubisky and the offense, however.

This feels like an all too familiar place. Trubisky and the Bears' passing game once again looked like a varsity high school team trying to move the ball against an NFL defense. He completed just 10 passes, totaled just 125 yards, and nearly half of them came on a 53-yard completion to wide receiver Taylor Gabriel on a pass that, if we're being honest, should've led Gabriel to the end zone had the ball placement been better.

 

Off the field, Trubisky deserves a ton of credit. He doesn't pass the buck for the offense's struggles, even though he isn't the only one guilty of inept play.

"They had the pass rush going a little bit and they were teeing off in the first half, which they were getting the run game in the second half and the play-action game helped slow that down a little bit," Trubisky said after the game. "But for the times that I did have vision, I felt like I could've maybe put it in a different spot than when I did. When you have a rush like that going like that you just have to get the ball out quick and you have to be able to beat man coverage. So I think we can all be better in different areas and I am just going to look at myself to see where I can put the ball in different places on film and come back and try to improve."

Is anyone else experiencing Deja Vu?

Trubisky hasn't had success this season with the most critical aspect of playing quarterback in the NFL: Accuracy. Against the Chargers in Week 8, he airmailed a would-be touchdown over Gabriel's head on a play that probably would've won the game for the Bears. Back in Week 3, Trubisky threw an egregious pass intended for Allen Robinson that was intercepted by Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. In fact, Week 1's opening night kickoff game against the Green Bay Packers was a sign of things to come when Trubisky tossed an ill-advised late-game pass into double coverage that was intercepted by former Bear, Adrian Amos.

The list of Trubisky misses extends way beyond just his interceptions. At this point, it feels like he's good for at least one head-scratcher per series. And, at some point, a difficult question needs to be asked: Can he get better?

Matt Nagy talked about the Bears struggling to get into an offensive rhythm against the Eagles. He said the offense, as a whole, played a sloppy game. All of that is true. But the least rhythmic and sloppiest of all the players on offense happens to be the franchise's most important asset. And if Trubisky doesn't start stacking good throw on top of good throw (forget about games at this point!), then his future with the Bears is the least of his worries. 

Quarterbacks who complete just 10 passes in a game don't last long in the NFL. Trubisky will never play for another coach or organization that'll be as patient with him as Nagy and the Bears have been. 

 

Chicago's playoff hopes appear over. Now, it's time to figure out if Trubisky even has the potential to be average.

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