As the quarterback of the Bears, Mitch Trubisky knows that every move he makes will be scrutinized and often criticized – unfairly at times.
But Trubisky is pretty adept at self-criticism, as he demonstrated when asked about the final 2:08 Sunday night after the Bears had fallen behind the Packers, 24-23, at Lambeau Field.
“I wish I would have had a little bit different mindset going into that,” said Trubisky, who completed 2 of 8 passes for 18 yards on the final drive before he was sacked by Nick Perry, ending the possession. “I was thinking, ‘Try to make a big play; win the game right here.’ And it should have been, just (get) completions, get one more completion, one more first down. And when you get that first down, (get) another.
“Like we saw from the other team, you just dink it down underneath, (and) a missed tackle can turn into a big play. I should have had more of a completion mindset instead of trying to do too much. I’ve just got to stay within myself, stay within the offense, fire completions and move in the two-minute drill.”
When Trubisky didn’t try to do too much, he had success on the final drive. He went short to Taylor Gabriel for 11 yards to open the drive, but that was nullified when Cody Whitehair was flagged for being ineligibly downfield. On the next play, Trubisky threw to running back Jordan Howard for
6 yards, but then misfired on three straight passes, two of which were deep throws.
Still, the drive continued because Packers linebacker Clay Matthews roughed Trubisky, and then his short flip over the middle to Allen Robinson picked up 12 yards to the Bears’ 46. But three more incompletions followed, including a deep ball down the right sideline to Robinson when only
10 yards were necessary. Trubisky said he would benefit from the experience, distasteful as it was.
“I don’t think you ever will get that exact situation in practice with the noise, the stage and all that,” he said. “So it was a great learning experience for me, and I’m definitely going to take it with me. I’m itching for the next two-minute drill to prove myself. But I definitely have a new mindset: Take care of the football, but just move the ball down the field, because we had plenty of time.”
As for the criticism from the outside, Trubisky knows it comes with the territory and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight, even when it’s harsh. For instance, a screen shot made the rounds on social media showing tight end Trey Burton wide open in the middle of the end zone as Trubisky was throwing left to Gabriel for a 5-yard loss on the final play of the first quarter. The Bears had to settle for a 26-yard field goal.
“I’m sure everyone saw what I saw, and they’re like, ‘Oh, Mitch, throw it to the wide-open guy in the back of the end zone,’ ” Trubisky said. “Trust me, I wish I would (have). Tarik (Cohen) was the first option in the (right) flat. It’s one of those plays where [you think], ‘How risky are you going to be? Are you going to take care of the football?’ I checked it down; we lost 5 yards, but we got three points out of it and went up, 10-0. So that was the big positive takeaway for me.”
But there was another side to the decision, as Trubisky admitted, and to his credit, he did it with honesty, some self-deprecation and a sense of humor.
“Moving forward, if I want to evolve into the quarterback I want to be, you’ve got to take the opportunity, and I’ve got to anticipate that even more,” he said. “That wasn’t something that happened in practice at all that week. You’ve got to know as a quarterback if that opens up, take your chances and get it to the guy wide open. But it’s a little less wide open when you’re playing it full [speed].”
“When you’ve got the still picture, which I’m sure a lot of people saw, it looks like I don’t know what I’m doing,” Trubisky said with a smile. “Trust me, I’m hard on myself. You want touchdowns, not field goals.”
Lesson learned – hopefully.