Do the Bears have a quarterback that even their fans will actually like? Maybe.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Do you believe in love at first sight? I fell head over heels in love with new Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky Thursday night while watching him play against the Denver Broncos during Chicago’s first preseason game.
I know it’s only an exhibition game. And I understand he was playing against a bunch of players who will likely go on to careers outside of football when the cuts come. But I know what I saw. The numbers were impressive—15-23 for 166 yards with one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 107.3. He completed the first 10 passes he threw. But it was more than just the numbers. I have never been just a numbers guy. It’s when you watch someone play that you get the true picture of what they can do.
For a quarterback who only played 13 games in college, Trubisky was poised behind center and looked like a 10-year veteran. He rolled out and threw on the run. He stepped up in the pocket and hit his target. Hell, he ran for a first down when it was there. He was patient and found receivers—hitting them on the numbers. Trubisky looked quick and athletic running the ball. Play-action was a snap for him. He didn’t put the ball up for grabs like Mike Glennon did in his first set. In other words, he looked like quarterbacks I have watched and lusted for my entire life.
When it comes to exhibition football, my viewing habits usually entail watching the first team unit and switching to other activities once the backups come in. This time I was entranced the moment Trubisky stepped on the field with less than two minutes left in the first half and the Bears trailing by 10. Then he drove them to a score just before the half, and I was hooked.
When he had the ball again, Trubisky took them 75 yards for another TD. On his third possession, he just missed another touchdown when his third down pass was dropped in the end zone. Ultimately, the Bears had to settle for a field goal. Still, that’s three possessions and 17 points.
It was fun to watch—a word that is rarely associated with Bears football. In recent years I have pulled for them to lose so they could be bad enough to get a high pick and draft a quarterback. I knew without one they were doomed to fail.
When Jay Cutler is considered the best quarterback, (at least statistically) in team history, it shows just how bad they have been for all those years. I may be jumping the gun, but Trubisky looked better in his first game than any game I can remember watching Cutler play with the Bears. His teammates were excited watching him. They were into the game. With Cutler, it was usually quite the opposite. The negative vibe he put out permeated the entire team. There was no excitement, anticipation or hope with him out there.
And that’s what this is about—hope. That’s what a potential franchise quarterback gives a fan base. The callers to sports radio today were giddy while gushing about the kid. Hell, the hosts of the shows could barely contain themselves. I thought one of them was ready to nominate him for Canton.
Watching Bears games for the past several years has been a chore. It’s almost like as a Bears’ fan you are supposed to suffer and take your medicine. You don’t want to watch but you are compelled to. It’s passed down from generation to generation. It’s what you do. Period.
I am actually looking forward to the next game. At least once Trubisky enters the mix. When he’s out, I’m out. I watched Thursday’s exhibition in its entirety. Let’s just say I can’t remember the last time I did that.
Once the regular season comes, I expect Trubisky to be glued to the bench. At least that’s the plan. So it’s likely to be another sorry season of Bears football. But it feels different. This time, they have someone who could change that in the near future.
The Bears made two bad defensive plays in the fourth quarter with third and long that morphed into touchdowns—which put the Bears down seven. Trubisky attempted a comeback in the last two minutes to force a tie, but his final pass in the end zone didn’t connect as time ran out.
That’s okay, though. Because it left you wanting more. It leaves your imagination open to what more looks like. Is Trubisky Chicago’s Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady?
I know I sound like I’m going overboard after one exhibition game. That’s just because I don’t know how to act right now. I didn’t expect what I saw, but I want to see a lot more. And I’m not the only one.
The Bears are about to become relevant again in Chicago and it’s about time. We have Mitch Trubisky to thank for that.