The Vikings kept bringing the heat, and Mitch Trubisky kept beating it.
Minnesota was playing for everything in Week 17 and all they needed was a stop and a score. They brought the heat and Trubisky dissected them, despite playing without his top three wide receivers.
After a Vikings touchdown made the score 13-10, the Bears young QB took over.
Third and five, the QB runs for 12.
Third-and-six, Javon Wims for 16.
Third-and-six again, Burton for nine.
Third-and-seven, Wims for nine and a first down at the eight.
Two plays later, Cohen runs in a touchdown before Trubisky drills a pass into the chest of linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski for the two-point conversion.
Trubisky’s 2018 season has been dissected over and over and those doing the dissecting have always been able to find enough evidence to come to their pre-reached conclusion. The season was enough of a roller coaster for Trubisky that almost anybody can find evidence to prove any opinion correct. What isn’t debatable, however, is the mastery Trubisky showed at the end of the season, specifically that final regular season Sunday against one of the three best defenses in the league.
Before the season, the most common belief was that it would take the offense time. It did. Use that belief as the test and it’s easy to see that Trubisky aced it. After struggling against the Rams in his first game back from injury, Trubisky was great. His passer rating of 102.6 in the team’s last four games was the fifth best in the league among quarterbacks with 50 or more attempts.
It wasn’t just a matter of playing conservative football either. Trubisky’s deep ball was hitting late, connecting on 50 percent of his passes with a rating of 108.7 on passes 15 or more yards down the field — sixth best among quarterbacks with 15 or more attempts.
Trubisky is largely blamed for the team’s inability to move the ball against the Eagles, but they started moving it the second they opened up the offense. Young quarterbacks almost always struggle in their playoff debuts, but out of the four first or second-year passers in that situation last year, Trubisky was the best statistically.
Several months later, one of the most telling things about this offseason has been the team’s refusal to temper expectations. Everything they’ve said has been about Trubisky taking the next step and the offense exploding in the second year. During the Bears 100 celebration, Nagy offered the following quote: “I’m so excited to see where he’s going to take this thing.”
It’s possible the Bears are wrong. It’s possible they’re just so blinded by what they want Trubisky to be they can’t see what he actually is. But it isn’t just from the team.
On the Rich Eisen show last week, NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales said “Trubisky has this team humbly in the palm of his hand. He’s so awesome, he’s such a great guy. His teammates just love him.”
Maybe Dales is wrong too.
We can’t see any of that. We can’t see how much more control he has over the offense at this point; we can’t see how his teammates respond to him behind closed doors.
What we can see is how Trubisky ended the 2018 season. If you take that and combine it with the buzz around Trubisky from the spring, it’s difficult not to be optimistic about the QB’s future.