The last game of the season may not have been as easy as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky would have hoped, but the narrow 21-19 win over the Minnesota Vikings allowed the third-year quarterback to end a turbulent year on something positive.
A final two-minute drive, which has become something of a specialty for Trubisky, helped the Bears finish the season with an 8-8 record.
"I think it says a lot about the character and the guys we have in the locker room," said Trubisky, "especially on offense. We have to get together and believe and put one last drive together, and I think it was important to go out on the right note, and that was going down and scoring and putting special teams and Eddy (Piñeiro) in a great position to kick that game-winner. It felt good. Obviously, we've got a long way to go, but we just -- feel like we ended it the right way."
For the right ending, Trubisky needed to convert on fourth-and-nine near midfield. He delivered with a deep out to rookie receiver Riley Ridley, who advanced the ball to the Vikings' 19, well within Piñeiro's range.
"I had to move outside the pocket a little bit because I saw (Ridley) separating," said Trubisky, "so I just wanted to make sure I had enough time to get it to him. He did a great job taking advantage of the opportunities and made a huge play in a big situation. So you don't want to be in that down and distance necessarily on the last drive. But he did a great job getting open and making a big play for his offense. "
Trubisky finishes the season with 3,138 passing yards to go along with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Trubisky is just the second quarterback in franchise history to cross the 3,000-yard mark in two consecutive seasons.
The season was defined by the increased trust between Trubisky and receiver Allen Robinson II. Robinson accounted for nearly one-third of Trubisky's passing yards and one-fourth of his completions. Robinson finished the season with 98 catches for 1,147 yards.
"Wish we could have got two more," said Trubisky. "One-hundred, it would have been real cool. (Robinson) has done so much for this offense and for me individually just always being that safety blanket. You could throw to him whenever. We always say even when he's covered he's not. Sure hands, great leader, absolute professional, leads by example."
The pair connected on a third-down conversion after the Ridley catch, putting the Bears even closer for the field goal and allowing them to run down the clock before scoring with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
That rally is a reason for optimism, according to Trubisky.
"We could have easily just cashed it in," said Trubisky, "but we didn't. We never gave up all the way to the last minute. We got guys who will battle, stick with you through thick and thin and we made big plays in big situations. It's not easy to go down on a two-minute drive and put your field goal team in a position to go win the game. So I think you've seen flashes from this offense and from this team, but we're far from where we need to be, but I think we can get there."
With his third season in Chicago in the books, Trubisky will begin his preparation for the 2020 season. Having suffered shoulder and hip injuries, some time off should be beneficial.
"I think I'll get back at it pretty soon," said Trubisky. "Number one thing is getting healthy, getting the body right, feel better, get a plan with Coach Nagy, what he wants me to do in the offseason and talk through that. We'll figure it out within the next couple days, take a little time off. But, I mean, this is my life. I love football. I can never get away from it too long. So offseason starts now."
For Trubisky, the offseason will include plenty of film sessions and an assessment of a season in which he and his team did not live up to their own preseason expectations.
"You have to look at the season and be honest with yourself and your teammates," said Trubisky. "And as a leader, make decisions that are best for you to get better. So, I'm just going to be super honest with how the film looks and what we need to work on this offseason and go from there."
Trubisky will lean on his teacher-student relationship with coach Matt Nagy to address the areas where he fell short this season. After two seasons together, the coach and quarterback will continue to strengthen their communication and rapport.
"I'll talk to coach every day," said Trubisky, "and our great relationship is going to continue. And it's just doing exactly what he wants me to do and just put his vision that he has in his mind out into the field. And he's made me a better player over the past two seasons. I have to continue to be better, expect more out of myself, and just continue to communicate with him so I can help lead this offense."