Mitchell Trubisky’s first four starts in the NFL came against a run of top-level, playoff-caliber defenses, beginning with the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 9. That game ended for the Bears rookie when Vikings safety Harrison Smith baited him into an ill-timed aggressive throw just before the two-minute warning.
Starting with that Minnesota game, Trubisky faced the Nos. 3, 1, 8 and 7 defenses (by Football Outsiders’ DVOA) in October; a month later, he faced the Philadelphia Eagles’ No. 5 defense. While John Fox and Dowell Loggains kept the gameplans conservative/controlled/limited for Trubisky, a sizable segment of Year 1 was trial by fire for him.
Trubisky completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards against Minnesota on Oct. 9, throwing that interception but also recording his first career touchdown (though it was on another aggressive pass that safety Anthony Sendejo deflected). Sunday’s season finale represents another crack at the Vikings for Trubisky, though he struggled in his second go-around against the Detroit Lions earlier this month.
“Just from the experience I've gotten since the last time we played them hopefully the game will slow down for me a little bit, I'll be able to see things a little better and then just open up in the pass game more,” Trubisky said. “But it's going to be up to us on offense just to go out there and execute because they've got a really good defense, so we just have to go out there and execute, play our game plan, keep our defense off the field and convert and find ways to score.”
Disappointing for Trubisky is that he may not have Adam Shaheen (chest, questionable) active for the third consecutive week; Shaheen played only 11 snaps in Trubisky’s debut Oct. 9. That relationship still needs to grow, but may have to wait to re-start until OTAs and offseason workouts.
So more than anything, Sunday’s trip to Minneapolis will be another notch of experience for Trubisky, and that’s positive even if it’s a slog against a division-winning defense that still has something to play for.
Prediction: Vikings 23, Bears 14