Bernstein: Bears' Mitchell Trubisky Got Good

Trubisky has catalyzed an offense to complement an elite defense.

Dan Bernstein
December 20, 2018 - 2:26 pm
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(670 The Score) We've come a long way from our soft expectations for the development of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, already seeing a player more than capable of commanding a playoff team. What had been the prevailing thought that this year would be one of incremental improvement under the tutelage of first-year coach Matt Nagy has now become the belief that Trubisky can catalyze the scoring of enough points to complement a championship-level defense.

It happened rather quickly for a relatively inexperienced player thrust into his second pro offense in his two NFL seasons, and Trubisky is already passing the ball for a 94.1 efficiency rating in 2018, completing 246 of his 379 throws for 2,814 yards, 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his 12 starts.

We had asked that he make the same kind of leap that the Rams' Jared Goff did in a similar situation a year prior -- graduating to a more complicated system with a smarter and offensive-minded head coach after languishing as a rookie under a defensive dinosaur -- and Trubisky has come close enough to doing so.

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Football Outsiders' statistical analysis includes the Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) invented by ESPN, which takes into account everything a quarterback does to influence winning and losing. It measures running as well as passing, strips out drops, spikes and purposeful throwaways. It also assigns commensurate credit regarding running after the catch to reflect what is and isn't the quarterback's doing.

By QBR, Trubisky ranks fifth in the NFL at 70.9 this season, trailing only Pat Mahomes, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. He has been buoyed in part by 402 rushing yards and three more touchdowns on the ground.

Forget comparisons to Mahomes and Deshaun Watson for now and imagine that you had the chance in July to be promised just this kind of performance from Trubisky. You know you would've taken it.

There's no question that his handful of clunkers along the way have to be a fair part of the overall eye test, however, and his lack of hero moments driving the team down for critical late scores has contributed to his ascension being quieter than it otherwise may have been. Those criticisms are entirely legit.

But so is Trubisky as a quarterback, unquestionably on the rise for a team doing the same.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​