Mitch Trubisky didn’t think anything was amiss going into Week 3. Why should he have? The Chicago Bears were 2-0 and facing a banged-up Atlanta Falcons team. As long as he played an efficient game, his team should be able to win and he could roll forward as the starter. Sadly that didn’t end up happening.
Trubisky has a long history of picking bad times to have his worst outings of a season. That was never truer than in this one. It would’ve been one thing if the Falcons defense was simply suffocating him. Yet that wasn’t the case. The Bears quarterback had numerous chances to get the offense going. Every time he just couldn’t make it happen.
Finally, after a brutal turnover in the 3rd quarter, Trubisky realized he’d gone that proverbial bridge too far. Head coach Matt Nagy inserted Nick Foles into the starting lineup. Just like that, another era in Bears quarterback history came to a close.
So how did it all go down? Here’s a recap of the five moments that likely led to the big decision.
Five throws that led to Mitch Trubisky losing his job
Throw #1 – Missed 3rd down to Miller
One thing that really started to gnaw at Nagy was how the Bears were unable to finish their early drives. He hates settling for field goals. Especially when the kicker doesn’t hit them. Trubisky’s inability to convert on 3rd down was the big culprit. What makes this throw on the second drive so bad is two-fold. He had good protection so he didn’t have to go to his first option, which was Anthony Miller. What made it worse though was the ball placement.
Despite time to throw, the pass was high and behind the receiver, allowing the Atlanta defender to get his hand in there. If Trubisky had led Miller properly, that’s a completion and a first down. Instead, they settle for a field goal.
Throw #2 – Wild deep ball to Cohen
Another 3rd down. The decision here is the right one. Trubisky has Tarik Cohen isolated in man coverage on the outside with single-high safety. Taking a deep shot makes sense. Again the protection is good. Cohen uses a quick shimmy to create separation. If the ball is on point, that is at least a 28-yard play and maybe a touchdown. What makes it so awful is Trubisky never even gave his guy a chance. The ball sailed five yards out of bounds. Cohen couldn’t have gotten close to itl if he was seven-feet tall.
Throw #3 – Hesitation throw to Cohen
This play occurred on 1st down and the drive ultimately ended up in the end zone. So it’s probably the least egregious of Trubisky’s mistakes in this game. That being said, it still illustrates how bad he is at resetting and looking for the next read. Cohen is the first option here. Trubisky locks in on Cohen and you’ll see the brief pump of hesitation before he finally unloads it. Cohen can’t corral it.
If the QB had bothered to come back to his right, he would’ve noticed two things. The blocking would have blasted open a huge lane to scramble and two receivers wide open. Miller on the short out and Darnell Mooney streaking all alone down the sideline.
Throw #4 – The deep ball to Miller
Trubisky’s fatal flaw is his deep ball. It’s hard to calculate how many times he’s missed a wide open receiver down the field. This one was probably the hardest to stomach. The defense had just forced a 3-and-out after the Bears’ previous drive which ended in a TD. It’s 3rd and 2. Atlanta has their entire defense within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The perfect situation to take a shot down the field.
Trubisky gets the snap. The protection is great. Miller beats his guy and splits the safeties. He has a full step on the closest man. If Trubisky puts it on him, that’s a TD and the Bears tie the game. Charles Leno Jr. is even signaling touchdown. Alas, doesn’t happen. The ball goes too far and they’re forced to punt. Those are the plays you have to have.
Throw #5 – The interception
If this is the final pass of Trubisky’s career in Chicago, it’s rather fitting. One thing that became apparent over the past year about him was his inability to recognize coverages. Defensive coordinators could often fool him with disguises, leading to prime takeaway opportunities. Here is a classic case. Atlanta is playing zone. Blidi Wreh-Wilson sits on the crossing route by Jimmy Graham. If Trubisky recognized the play properly, he’d see Robinson open for a first down.
Instead, on 3rd and 8 he throws short of the sticks to Graham, failing to see Wilson waiting on it. The pass is intercepted, setting the Falcons up for an easy field goal to stretch their lead to 26-10. That was the final straw.
Thus ended the Mitch Trubisky experiment.