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Inside Slant

Inside slant: Trubisky elevates game in Denver


Last week, after a 30-27 preseason loss to the Bengals, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky stood at the podium postgame and pledged the starting offense would get better.

"I don't think we were as locked in as we should be," Trubisky said following the game. "That's not what this offense is going to be this year."

On Saturday night in Denver, Trubisky and the first-team offense made good on the promise to improve en route to a 24-23 win.

Coach Matt Nagy ran the second-year quarterback out for four series in the Bears' third preseason contest. Trubisky went 9-of-14, throwing for 90 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky also was sacked for a safety after recovering his own fumble in the end zone and threw an interception.

The performance marks Trubisky's most extensive showcase of the preseason. The No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft sat out the team's first contest in the Hall of Fame Game and was limited to two series last week in Cincinnati, completing just two passes.  

In Denver, Trubisky looked like the quarterback who last year completed 196 passes and threw for seven touchdowns.

On the Bear's second offensive play of the night, Trubisky — working out of the shotgun on second-and-10 — found Trey Burton for an easy dump off pass to the left and a pickup of nine yards.

Three plays later on another second-and-10 situation, Trubisky found Burton again, this time firing a dart to the tight end streaking across the middle for a 19-yard gain.

The 10-play, 51-yard drive culminated with a missed field goal attempt, but the effort did showcase the capability of the first-team offense that was missing last week.

"This offense is really good and dynamic," Trubisky said. "It's got answers all the time and it's all about repetition for me to see how quickly I can get to those answers. ... The playmakers are going to get open, it's just my job to get them the ball."

On the Bears' third drive of the game, they strung together another impressive drive and were able to capitalize this time.

After starting the possession on their own 25-yard line, the Bears worked the ball to inside the Broncos 10. On a first-and-goal play, Trubisky found Burton again on a short pass to the right side of the field, and Burton walked in for a seven-yard touchdown.

In total, Trubisky and Burton hooked up for four completions for 45 yards.

Trubisky noted that Burton was just one of several talented tight ends on the roster. Tight ends Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown also each caught a pass in the contest.

"We're pretty deep in that tight end room," Trubisky said. "They're a smart group, so you can really plug them in at any time and they'll do exactly what you need them to do. We got a lot of athleticism at the tight end position, and they get open and they know the offense well and that's what you want from that group."

Trubisky's night ended on an interception when midway through the second quarter he was picked off by the Broncos Justin Simmons on a pass intended for Tarik Cohen.

Trubisky said he was disappointed to end his game on that mistake, but viewed it as an opportunity to learn.

"That was unacceptable on my part," Trubisky said. "Of course I'm going to take the blame, so we've just got to back, correct it this week, and make sure we're on the same page."

The second-year gunslinger also noted that the team has only run a fraction of its offensive playbook so far during the preseason.

"We're still hiding a bunch of good stuff too, so we're not showing all of it," Trubisky said. "So there' a lot of good stuff in this offense."

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