Darnell Mooney wasn't open; in fact, Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine was blanketing the Bears rookie receiver.
But that didn't matter to Mitchell Trubisky. Scrambling to his right late in the first half of Sunday's home opener at Soldier Field, the Bears quarterback threw back to the left corner of the end zone, confident that Mooney—a fifth-round draft pick from Tulane—would come down with the ball.
Deftly stepping in front of Ballentine like an experienced NFL veteran, Mooney snared the pass for a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 17-0 lead with :14 remaining in the second quarter.
"When you have a young guy with that type of hunger, as a quarterback, you trust him," Trubisky said. "The O-line did a great job giving me time, and I was just extending the play and I saw the DB had his back turned. He had no eyes on the football, so I was kind of waving to Mooney to go out to the left and I put it in a spot, and he did a great job attacking the football and coming back towards it and made an amazing catch."
Mooney's first NFL touchdown provided evidence of the rapport he's developing with Trubisky. The two have worked tirelessly together to create that bond during and after practice, making up for reps they missed due to all offseason workouts being cancelled because of COVID-19.
"His approach as a rookie is impressive," Trubisky said. "It's good to see just how he's seeing the game, how he's doing his job, how he approaches practice, how he's working hard, how he's asking questions, how he's trying to be on the same page with me, how he's detailed in his routes.
"You can tell he's making an effort to be on the same page, getting in his depth, being in the right place at the right time. And as a quarterback, you just trust that. It's really cool to see in a young guy that's getting it right away, and that he wants to learn because he wants to catch the football and he wants to make plays for this offense. I think that's huge. The more reps I get with him, the more trust I'll get.
"When I saw the DB's back was turned, I had a lot of faith that he was going to come down with that football, so I just put it up in his area, and he attacked it and made a huge play."
“When you have a young guy with that type of hunger, as a quarterback, you trust him.” Mitchell Trubisky on Darnell Mooney
Mooney had three receptions for 36 yards in Sunday's 17-13 win over the Giants. The trust he's developed with the coaching staff was reflected in the fact that he played 39 of 65 snaps (60 percent), the second most among receivers behind veteran Allen Robinson II (53) and more than Javon Wims (29) and Anthony Miller (27).
In the first two games of the season, Mooney has caught all six passes that have been thrown in his direction by Trubisky for a total of 74 yards.
Asked how he's been able to assimilate to the NFL so quickly—without offseason practices or preseason games—Mooney said: "Working out after practice, just seeing the ball in the air, seeing the ball spin. Just spotting routes and then seeing the ball in the air. We just get a lot of reps in practice, and that's about it."
See the best 30 photos–as selected by Bears photographers–from Sunday's Week 2 victory over the Giants at Soldier Field.