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Inside Slant

Inside Slant: Mistakes mar Trubisky's return


Mitchell Trubisky's return as the Bears' starting quarterback did little to change the momentum of the past six weeks.

Having dropped five straight games, the Bears have overhauled their offensive line, their play-calling and reverted control, for one game at least, back to Trubisky.

However, the outcome against the Green Bay Packers was similar to the weeks before it: the team falls behind as the offense struggles to put points on the board. The Bears lost 41-25 after two late touchdowns closed a 31-point deficit.

It was not the return that the fourth-year quarterback had in mind.

"Obviously, it went bad for us tonight," said Trubisky. "We didn't get the result we wanted. We didn't play the way we wanted. But for me, being out there and playing with them is better than sitting out. That'd be the only takeaway I guess I would have that's positive."

Trubisky completed 26 of 46 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. On the first drive of the game, Trubisky found himself in the red zone after David Montgomery's career-long 57-yard run put the Bears within eight yards of taking a 7-6 lead.

However, after two catchable passes to tight Cole Kmet and receiver Allen Robinson II fell incomplete, the Bears had to settle for a Cairo Santos 27-yard field goal.

Coach Matt Nagy gave a tepid review of his quarterback's performance, citing early success but noting Trubisky's three costly turnovers.

"I thought early on his eyes were going where my eyes were going, which is good," said Nagy. "He's going to where you want to go, and then before you know [it], we were down 17, and then before you know it, you're down more, and now it becomes a one-dimensional game, and they know you're throwing."

Earlier in the week, Nagy praised Trubisky for his effort since being benched in favor of Nick Foles in Week 3. Trubisky's path back included running the scout team and recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in his lone snap between his benching and the game Sunday. Even with disappointing results against the Packers, Trubisky considered his quick rehab to be a small victory.

"It's just nice to be back out there getting hit again," said Trubisky, "and the shoulder feels good. The shoulder feels strong. I just have to keep getting stronger each and every week. I put in a lot of work into my body just to be able to have that opportunity to go back out there and play."

Down 13-3 in the second quarter, Trubisky connected on two passes to Kmet and Robinson to put the Bears in Packers' territory. However, the drive ended abruptly when Trubisky's deep shot intended for receiver Darnell Mooney was intercepted by safety Darnell Savage.

"It was a situation where I was trying to push the ball downfield, trying to take a shot," said Trubisky. "The safety made a good play. Definitely looking back on it, I forced it a little too much. I probably would've liked to check it down or scramble, but I was trying to be aggressive early on. That's what we were preaching this week as a team."

While Nagy shouldered some of the blame for his first turnover, Trubisky's fumble, returned for a touchdown by linebacker Preston Smith, proved to be something of a breaking point for the game. The team fell behind 27-3 and never meaningfully closed that gap. 

Though it appeared that Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith grabbed Trubisky's facemask on the play, Trubisky acknowledged that he couldn't expect the officials to bail him out in those circumstances.

"My job is to hang on to the football," said Trubisky. "I've gotta do that, and at the end of the day, that's all I can control, so that's something I've gotta improve going forward."

Nagy has not committed to keeping Trubisky as the starter when Foles returns from a hip injury suffered in Week 10. As long as he is the starter, Trubisky will have to go through the process of self-reflection that has become routine for him over the past two seasons.

"After a game like that," said Trubisky, "you gotta look in the mirror and see what you can continue to improve on and what you can do as a leader to lift guys up around you so we can stop feeling this way after games."

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