Mitchell Trubisky's teammates and coaches agreed that his outstanding performance Sunday against the Buccaneers carried over from an equally-impressive red-zone practice Friday.
The second-year quarterback threw six touchdown passes in a 48-10 victory at Soldier Field, including four on the Bears' only four trips inside the Tampa Bay 20.
The Bears focused on their red-zone offense during the week in practice after mustering just one touchdown on three trips inside-the-20 last Sunday against the Cardinals.
"He had the best red-zone day on Friday that I've ever seen out of any quarterback I've been with in a long time, and that's saying a lot," said backup quarterback Chase Daniel, a nine-year veteran who has played with Drew Brees and Alex Smith.
Trubisky completed 19 of 26 passes Sunday, setting career highs with six touchdowns, 354 yards and a 154.6 passer rating. He also ran for 53 yards on three carries.
"I knew all week long he was going to have a good game," said coach Matt Nagy. "He was out there spinning the ball in practice. Our red-zone practice that he had on Friday might have been the best practice that we've had since we've been together."
Trubisky completed six passes of at least 30 yards Sunday, connecting for gains of 47, 39, 35, 33, 31 and 30 yards.
"He just came out with confidence and the game plan was great," Daniel said. "[Nagy] did a good job just getting guys in the right spot at the right time. And [Trubisky] made all the throws. It was an emphasis of ours to be aggressive from the start and stay aggressive and I think ‘10' (Trubisky) did that."
Stepping up: Running back Tarik Cohen had his most productive game of the season, generating 174 yards from scrimmage. The second-year pro rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries and caught seven passes for a career-high 121 yards and one touchdown.
"He's dynamic," Nagy said. "He can do a lot of different things. Mentally, he can handle a lot, so you can put him in different spots, and it's nothing to him."
You're out: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who had one of four Bears sacks, was ejected from Sunday's game for pushing an official late in the first half.
In an interview with a pool reporter, referee Jerome Boger said that an official was "breaking up a skirmish between two opposing players and after he got the players separated, [Hicks] came back and charged through him and pushed him."
Boger further explained that Hicks was ejected because "we looked at it as being an additional act. [The official] had the player separated and the situation was resolved, and then here the defender comes back to restart or instigate it all over again."
Nagy did not see the incident, but spoke with Hicks after he was ejected.
"It's an unfortunate situation," Nagy said. "It's an emotional game and he knows that he can't do that, and he's apologetic. That's the rule, so we'll handle that. Akiem will be fine with it, and we'll talk to him and teach him and learn from it."
Not surprised: With the Bears in first place in the NFC North with a 3-1 record, they no doubt will be labeled as a surprise team by some outside the organization. But Nagy doesn't agree.
"I'm not surprised," he said. "It's only four games into the year. We wanted to have a fast start. You go back to April 3 when we got together as a team. We talked about who we wanted to be and what our goal was. When you start believing in that thing and then you start doing it in real games, you get tighter as friends, you get tighter as teammates, you get tighter as coaches.
"What we can do now is kind of reflect at 3-1 where we're at. We understand it's a super long season, and I just got done telling the guys, ‘Listen, whether you're 1-3 or 3-1, never get too high and never get too low. Just stay the course. Trust me on this.'"
Injury update: The only Bears player who failed to finish Sunday's game was outside linebacker Sam Acho, who sustained a pectoral injury in the first half.