Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

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Emma: Bears' Playoff Hopes Hardly Rest On Trubisky

The Bears have the right formula for a postseason run.

Chris Emma
December 18, 2018 - 4:42 pm

(670 The Score) Can second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky lead his Bears to the Super Bowl? It's a question you will be hearing plenty in the coming weeks.

The Bears (10-4) ascended from worst to first this season by clinching the NFC North crown with a win over the rival Packers on Sunday, securing their place in the postseason for the first time in eight years. Despite the great excitement in Chicago for its Bears, there's also skepticism that exists -- specifically at quarterback. 

Questions surrounding the 24-year-old Trubisky are valid, though it's worth wondering if he needs to be great come January. The Bears have been pretty tough even with Trubisky displaying inconsistencies.

Defense looks like it can still win championships in today's NFL, and it seems to have caught up with the offenses that thrilled early in this season. The league's 32 teams averaged 19.3 points in Week 15, lowering the post-merger record scoring average to 23.4 points per game. The Bears defense did its part in the 24-17 win over the Packers, flustering future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers a week after doing the same to the Rams' Jared Goff.

Trubisky had the worst statistical game of his career two weeks ago in the Bears' 15-6 win over the Rams, whom they may see again in the playoffs. He followed it with an efficient performance this against the Packers, going 20-of-28 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Trubisky was 15-of-17 for 148 yards (8.7 yards per attempt) on passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, and the two incompletions were each dropped.

Meanwhile, the Bears have rushed Jordan Howard 19 times in each of the last two games, given Tarik Cohen 23 touches and made Trubisky's run-pass option game a greater part of their offense. Bears coach Matt Nagy seems to have his playbook catering best to its personnel with Trubisky only needing to be efficient. He just needs to be good enough, not the reason the Bears win.

The Bears are third in scoring defense at 18.9 points per game, with the defense solely responsible for 17.8 in that mark. Chicago leads the NFL with 35 takeaways, in turnover margin at plus-13 and in points off takeaways at 107. All of those numbers are better than the 2017 Eagles, who relied on a terrific defense and effective play from backup quarterback Nick Foles en route to a Super Bowl championship.

Trubisky was disappointed in himself after that career-worst performance came in the big win for his Bears over the Rams. He went back to work last week determined to be better. There has been no disputing the work ethic in Trubisky, who often stays at Halas Hall late into the night honing his craft. 

Should Trubisky be at his best in the postseason, the Bears would be tough to beat. They could potentially boast the league's best combination of high-powered offense and dominant defense. That's a realistic hope, not just a postseason pipe dream.

It's certainly fair to ask about Trubisky and his playoff potential, but it's also worth wondering what the Bears truly need from him.

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