Mitch Trubisky had a career game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, setting new career bests in completions (21), pass attempts (35), and yards (297), while his 97.0 passer rating was the second best showing of Trubisky’s young career.
And yet, it wasn’t enough to beat a short-handed Packers team coming off a short week and licking their wounds while nursing a three-game losing streak.
Pro Football Focus gave Trubisky a 74.2 overall grade for his efforts, which is his best showing of his five starts to date. How PFF came to this grade comes with some encouraging signs, but also some reason to pause.
First, the good: Green Bay blitzed on 40 percent of Trubisky’s throws yesterday, but that didn’t necessarily shake the rookie, who completed 10 of 14 for 157 yards, a touchdown, and a 132.1 passer rating when blitzed. Those are all very good numbers. But beyond the stats, Trubisky showed he can quickly identify blitzes and make the right throws in those moments. That’s huge.
Development isn’t linear, but to this end, the arrow is pointing up five weeks into Trubisky’s career.
The aforementioned touchdown (which was Trubisky’s first since Week 6) was this beautiful strike to Josh Bellamy, who ran a great route, created separation, and hauled in a 46-yard bomb. That the Bears called an aggressive pass play on first down, Trubisky made an on-target throw, and Bellamy made the catch is something Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains should take into consideration when game planning for the team’s Week 11 matchup against the Detroit Lions.
And along those lines, Trubisky’s big-play ability shouldn’t be lost in the mix just because the Bears lost. He has thrown touchdowns of 20, 27, and 46 yards, and had a 25-yard strike taken away because of the NFL’s replay rules. Trubisky has shown a knack for making something out of nothing, and we would love nothing more than to see those skills showcased more often.
HOWEVER, it wasn’t all good for Trubisky on Sunday. PFF’s data also paints Trubisky as a rookie who needs to make adjustments when facing pressure. Trubisky completed just 3 of 9 passes for 38 yards, dropping his passer rating to 32.0 while under pressure. To put it in perspective, PFF notes that if all of Trubisky’s passes under pressure were to fall incomplete, his rating when pressured would be 39.2. Yikes.
It would be fair, then, to describe Trubisky’s play in Week 10 as uneven. Trubisky started strong completing five of his first six passes for 72 yards, but went 7 for 13 with 88 yards for the rest of the first half. Indeed, it was reminiscent of his debut against the Vikings where his numbers looked good early, before fading after Minnesota made some adjustments.
But with that said, Trubisky did show some fourth-quarter signs of life, when he connected on 8 of 14 passes for 125 yards, a touchdown, and a 110.7 passer rating. A 57 percent completion rate isn’t pretty and needs to be improved, but all things considered … signs of life.
So even though the Bears were trying to push their way back into the playoff picture, the top priority of 2017 remains Trubisky’s development. Five weeks into his era, and the rookie is making steady progress from one week to the next. It might not be by leaps and bounds, but it’s a step in the right direction.