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The Three Trubisky Drop Backs That Meant Everything, But Counted for Nothing

Analysis and Commentary

Mitch Trubisky’s first pass on Sunday didn’t come until 8 minutes and 38 seconds came off the clock and his last came with just 5:38 left in the fourth quarter.


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In between, he attempted just five other passes en route to one of the strangest stat lines (especially in a win) you’ll ever see from a quarterback.

Altogether, Trubisky and the Bears offense were on the field for a grand total of just 14 passing snaps. But while this isn’t a large sample, there were three drop backs, in particular, that I want to point out and dissect. Let’s do it.

1. The Good-News-Bad-News Drop Back

Situation: 3rd-and-7 for the Bears at the Panthers 25-yard-line with 0:04 left in the first quarter.

At minimum, the Bears should’ve come away with a manageable field goal attempt for Connor Barth to extend an early lead. Instead, Trubisky held onto the ball for too long and took a sack. I know he’s still a rookie with very little experience, but he needs to show better situational awareness in that moment. In fact, this sack proved to be a double-whammy, as the error turned a 43-yard attempt into a 52-yarder into the wind for Barth.


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And to think, Trubisky could have kept the drive going had he seen an open Zach Miller.

The bad news is that the Bears missed out on a golden scoring opportunity and Trubisky showed some serious lack of awareness. The good news is that Trubisky can walk out of the film room with a very clear example of where he can improve. We’ve already seen Trubisky learn from a costly interception this season, so maybe he’ll avoid this issue next time.

2. The Almost-Doesn’t-Count Drop Back

Situation: 3rd-and-3 from their own 36-yard-line, 6:22 left in the first quarter.

After Jordan Howard ran for five yards, conventional thinking suggests the Bears would keep pounding Carolina’s front seven. Instead, Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains dialed up a shotgun passing play with Howard lined up next to Trubisky and four receivers out in a pattern. To be honest, I don’t love the play call, and neither did the CBS broadcast crew, which called it a low-percentage play.


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And yet, this might have been Trubisky’s most impressive throw:

Tarik Cohen lined up in the slot and ran a wheel route up the left sideline. Not only is this an example of good play design, it also shows how much Trubisky trusts his arm to make a tough throw and faith in Cohen’s ability to haul it in. Trubisky’s ball placement is perfect here, as it’s in a spot where only Cohen can make a play on it as Captain Munnerlyn turned into a pretzel in his attempt to make a play.

Everything went right here – except for Cohen completing the process of the catch while staying in bounds.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

3. The They-Should-Probably-Do-More-of-This Drop Back

Situation: 1st-and-10 from the Panthers 38,  7:08 left in the fourth quarter.

In what was ultimately the most frustrating drive of the game, Loggains had a pretty great idea and Trubisky and Cohen executed it well.

As you can see, Cohen is lined up at the top of the screen and is given plenty of operating room by the defensive back in coverage. The threat of Cohen going deep (remember, he was on the receiving end of a 70-yard pass earlier in the afternoon), the play call, and his precise route resulted in an easy pitch-and-catch for Trubisky that gained 10 yards and should have resulted in a first down.


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Except it didn’t result in a first down, as Tanner Gentry (as seen in the yellow circle) was whistled for illegal formation, because he wasn’t lined up properly.

The rookie mistake negated the completion and moved the Bears back five yards. This was just the beginning of what was arguably the most aggravating offensive sequence this season, featuring a loss of 13 total yards on two penalties (false start, delay of game) and a sack. Ultimately, the drive lasted three plays, chewed up just 2:38 off the clock, and resulted in a loss of eight yards.

And yet, the biggest takeaway here is that Loggains should dial up more quick and easy throws to help Trubisky form a rhythm and build a rapport with the pass catchers on the roster.


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.