Mitch Trubisky is by no means off the hook. He has a ton to prove. He benefitted from good pass protection and faced a bad Detroit Lions defense. However, for the first time, it genuinely felt like he had the look of a true professional quarterback on Thanksgiving. Not just a talented thrower of the football. An actual passer who operated the offense the way it was meant to be and the results spoke for themselves.
Trubisky finished with 338 yards passing and three touchdowns. By far his best statistical output of the season and rather impressive given it was on the road against a defense that had already played him once before. Yet this felt different. Games of this nature that Trubisky has had in the past were more due to great scheming by head coach Matt Nagy or simple talent. This time around it genuinely felt like it was because the quarterback executed the plays with efficiency.
Some people will doubt this given how he’s looked in the past. That is understandable. It’s one game against a bad team. Still, every sign of progress must be noted. Here’s a breakdown of three big plays that showcased how Trubisky might finally be evolving as a passer.
Mitch Trubisky is learning to lead his targets
One of the primary issues that Trubisky has had since his rookie year was not being able to lead his receivers better to give them a chance to make a play after the catch. There were two big instances against the Lions where he showed progress. One was a nice slant to Javon Wims that hit him in stride, allowing the receiver to pick up several extra yards.
Another more prominent example was a third quarter touchdown to tight end Jesper Horsted. Trubisky sold a fake toss to Tarik Cohen perfectly then came back left and led the rookie who was well-covered to where only Horsted had a chance at it. A spectacular catch followed.
That was far from all. Trubisky’s best throws were still to come. With six minutes left in the game, the Bears took over from their own 10-yard line needing a field goal to tie and a touchdown to take the lead. After a series of minor gains, he faced a 3rd and 5. Rather than go for a short pass to get the first down, he took a shot to Anthony Miller.
The drop he took was clean and he stood firm at the top of the pocket rather than retreat further. The ball came out with conviction. Miller did the rest.
He wasn’t done yet.
A few plays later, Trubisky had his best throw of the year. Again on 3rd and 5, he took the snap. His eyes start left. As the Lions rush starts to close in, he comes back right and fires the past on a beautiful arc to Miller again, setting up 1st and goal. The Bears would score shortly after to take the lead and win the game.
It’d be one thing if Trubisky just made nice athletic plays or threw the ball to wide open guys. These throws were not like that. They were made from the pocket to targets who were well-covered for the most part. Not easy in any respect. They were throws professional quarterbacks are expected to make. Does this mean he’s figured it out? No. It’s more a sign that the light might finally be going on.