There was half a moment on Sunday afternoon when Mitch Trubisky’s postgame stoicism broke. After fielding question after question about the zone schemes and the man coverages and the generally unexpected outcome of their wild 27-23 win over Detroit, someone was curious: Mitch, what's the vibe inside the locker room of the 1-0 Chicago Bears?
“It was lit, it was lit,” he said through a grin. “We had a good time. We’ve got some new songs in there – we got it going. It feels good.”
Sunday was the quintessential Trubisky experience. (And if it felt like you’d seen that game before, it’s because you have: Anthony Miller’s game-winning grab came on the same route, and in the same end zone, as his game-saving catch last Thanksgiving.) He was Brock Osweiler for three quarters and John Elway for the last one. Going 8-20 with 110 yards and six points at halftime had the Nick Foles bandwagon screaming, and if D’Andre Swift doesn’t drop the easiest game-winning touchdown of his life, they still might be. But he did, and Trubisky kept Matt Nagy’s perfect record (5-0) against the Lions intact by finishing 8-10 for 89 yards with three touchdowns.
“These types of wins are the ones you remember, and they can really help you get the season going the right way,” Nagy said. “You look at the other end of it, if you don’t get this win, what do we all do? We dwell on what happened in the first quarter, the second quarter and really part of the third. Instead, this win shows us a couple of things. It shows we can handle adversity as a team.”
Objectively, going 20-36 with 242 yards and three touchdowns looks good. Doing that in a win – a divisional road win, no less – looks great. Still, Trubisky took the long way to his 83.0 QB rating, hampered by a handful of surprising first half schemes from the minds of Lions head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin. And then, bless his heart, Patricia then did what Patricia always does: he switched back into man defense towards the end of the game, and the Bears scored 21 fourth quarter points.
“When they got down to the wire, they’re going to play what they trust most and that’s man for them,” Trubisky added. “And we knew that."
There are plenty of wrinkles to iron out, and the amount of emphasis Nagy put on the “tonight” part of “we’re going to enjoy this tonight” implied just as much. The Bears escaped from Trubisky’s two biggest blunders on Sunday – a dropped interception in the first half and a comically ill-advised scramble/fumble in the second – unscathed, which, of course, won’t always be the case. But there’s no denying that the start of Trubisky’s career-defining season has gone about as well as he could have asked for. It's certainly gone about as well as anyone predicted.
“I think if you're focused on writing the story while you're going through it then you can kind of distract yourself,” he said. “It's better to just stay present, live in the moment and that's exactly what I'm trying to do. And then one day, maybe I can look back on it and be proud of it because I know I'm going to give it everything I've got.”