September 27, 2021

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Is he a franchise quarterback? Mitchell Trubisky…

3 min read
Is he a franchise quarterback? Mitchell Trubisky...

CHICAGO — Whatever growth the Chicago Bears expected from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in Year 2 under coach Matt Nagy never materialized in Thursday night’s season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Chicago’s offense, captained by Trubisky, ruined a stellar effort by the defense, losing 10-3 to Green Bay in front of a capacity Soldier Field crowd that just before kickoff believed the home team had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. Now, not so much. It’s early, but the offense — lowlighted by Trubisky — looked worse than last year when Nagy first took over. It’s not a good sign, either, that, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, no team has reached the Super Bowl after failing to score a touchdown in its season opener.

QB breakdown: Bad, bad, bad, bad. Outside of a couple of nice throws to Allen Robinson, Trubisky looked out of sync the entire game. A third-year quarterback can’t let the offense be called for two delay of game penalties on the same drive, as Trubisky allowed in the third quarter when Chicago appeared on the verge of scoring. The Bears praised Trubisky’s during preseason at every turn, but all the 25-year-old quarterback did in Week 1 was provide fodder to those who criticized the Bears’ refusal to play starters in preseason games and brought up familiar criticisms about Trubisky’s viability as a franchise quarterback. Trubisky capped off the evening by throwing an interception in the end zone into double coverage. It was a fitting end to such a lackluster game by Chicago’s starting quarterback.

Selling a breakout performance: Leonard Floyd wishes he played the Packers 16 times per year. After Thursday night’s impressive two-sack performance, Floyd has 7.5 career sacks against Green Bay. Against all other teams, Floyd has eight career sacks. Floyd hasn’t proved yet he can avoid the nagging injuries that have plagued him since Chicago drafted him ninth overall out of Georgia in 2016. Floyd has many desirable traits — he’s an athletic, fast and long outside linebacker. But far too often Floyd has shown flashes only to disappear for prolonged stretches. Floyd is off to a great start to 2019, no doubt, but whether he sustains it is a serious question.

Pivotal play: Surprisingly, the Bears opted against having Eddy Pineiro try a 50-yard field goal attempt and went for it on fourth-and-10 in the third quarter. The result: Trubisky was flushed out of the pocket for a 3-yard gain and the Bears turned it over on downs. The conditions were not bad at Soldier Field on Thursday night, and Pineiro easily converted his lone attempt. The decision not to kick took the life out of the stadium.

Promising trend: Chicago’s defense is electric. Good luck trying to attack the Bears on the edges. Chicago’s team speed renders that approach almost useless. Whenever the Packers ran jet sweeps, tosses or misdirection plays, the Bears sniffed them out almost immediately because they are just so darn fast. The only success Green Bay had was when quarterback Aaron Rodgers hit the Bears for big plays over the middle. That, however, happened only on rare occasions due to Chicago’s stifling pass rush that sacked Rodgers five times. The Bears had four different defenders sack Rodgers. Khalil Mack wasn’t on the list, but his presence was felt all evening on run defense. Barring a rash of catastrophic injuries, the Bears should again be the league’s best defense.

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