Trubisky Inspires Confidence In Second Season

"We're lucky to have him," Matt Nagy says. "I'm looking forward to the future."

Chris Emma
January 06, 2019 - 10:32 pm
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Quarterbacks become legends in playoff games, leading their team down the field in the fourth quarter, throwing the go-ahead touchdown and sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Mitchell Trubisky did just that at Solider Field on Sunday evening, bringing the Bears to the brink of the divisional round and a rematch with the Rams. He led a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 22-yard scoring pass to Allen Robinson with 9:04 remaining to give the Bears a 15-10 lead against the Eagles. After Philadelphia responded with a go-ahead touchdown, Trubisky directed Chicago back into range for the potential game-winning field goal with just 10 seconds remaining.

The Bears would lose 16-15 when kicker Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal off the upright and crossbar after the 24-year-old Trubisky did all he could. In his second season, Trubisky inspired the confidence of many in his first career playoff performance, with coach Matt Nagy so optimistic in what's to come.

"No one, not one person, truly knows how far that kid has come this year (better) than me," Nagy said. "I mean, we're lucky. We're lucky to have him. I'm looking forward to the future. I really am. Because the city of Chicago is lucky to have that kid at quarterback."

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Trubisky finished the game 26-of-43 for 303 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky set up his touchdown pass to Robinson with two other big throws -- a 19-yard strike to Taylor Gabriel on third down and a 34-yard connection to Josh Bellamy that brought the Bears from their own territory to the Eagles' 22-yard line.

What the stat line didn't show was that Trubisky also made some poor throws that nearly cost the Bears dearly. A risky throw in the first quarter nearly went for a pick-six, and a near-interception in the second quarter only became that after video replay overturned the initial call, as Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox failed to get a second foot in bounds. 

In the end, Trubisky's first playoff game and second season at large will be remembered for giving these Bears a chance.

"I feel like I've come a long way, but I also feel like I'm really getting started," Trubisky said. "There's a lot that I can still improve on and just this season, experiences like that in the end are just going to motivate me more for the future. I'm hungrier than ever, and I just can't wait to get back to work and get started. I think the future's bright."

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The Bears envisioned this being a season of strides for Trubisky, the second overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. After Trubisky's rookie year was rocky and at times wasted under the John Fox regime, Nagy was brought in to Chicago in large part because of what he could do for Trubisky's development. The Bears built an innovative offense around the strengths of Trubisky and were rewarded with steady growth.

Trubisky finished the regular season 289-of-434 for 3,223 yards, 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 14 games. There was good, there was bad and there ultimately was progress and hope inspired for Chicago's football future -- something clear to the Bears at their bitter end.

"You see the potential," linebacker Khalil Mack said of his team. "It's up to guys to take this, learn from it and get better this offseason, including myself. That's what we have to look forward to now."

The Bears' renewed defensive identity will likely be the leading force in Chicago's quest at a championship in the years to come. Beyond that, the hope is that with continued growth from Trubisky, the Bears will have an offense that matches the level of their defense.

His second season done, Trubisky was already looking to what's next.

"I thought I got better," he said. "But I'm just scratching the surface."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​