Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's ability to evaluate himself and learn from his mistakes has played an instrumental role in his emergence this season.
The latest example came after Trubisky threw three interceptions for the first time this season and posted a career-low 33.3 passer rating Dec. 9 in a 15-6 win over the Rams. It was Trubisky's first start after missing two games with a shoulder injury and he conceded after the contest that he had tried to do too much to make big plays.
"He did a good job of self-reflecting as to how he thought that he played," said coach Matt Nagy. "That's what's so nice about him being a young kid that has been able to take a step back and say, 'What could I have done better?'"
Learning from the Rams game, Trubisky closed the season with a flourish. In leading the Bears to wins over the Packers, 49ers and Vikings, he threw 83 passes without being intercepted, completing 63 for 644 yards and three touchdowns.
There have been other instances this year when Trubisky has been hard on himself and learned from a mistake. After a failed final drive in a 24-23 season-opening loss to the Packers, Trubisky told reporters that he should have had a "little bit different mindset."
"I was thinking 'try to make a big play, win the game right here,'" Trubisky said at the time. "I should think 'stack completions, get one more completion, one more first down. Then once you get that first down, then another first down.' I should have had more of a completion mindset instead of trying to do too much—and that comes from me. I just have to stay within myself."
Two weeks later, Trubisky helped set up Cody Parkey's go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter of a 16-14 victory over the Cardinals by completing passes of 12, 2 and 6 yards as the Bears picked up four first downs in marching 59 yards on 13 plays.
"Those are great learning experiences, just going back and talking it over with coach and reflecting on what I need to do for my team to put us in a great position to win every single week," Trubisky said. "Those were instances where I was critical of myself, watched the film and really figured out how I could change my mindset and do a better job in practice during the week just getting prepared. That helps you play better, so it was a good learning experience and you just have to make those adjustments throughout the season."
Seeing how much Trubisky has grown and developed this year, Nagy is confident that the second-year quarterback is ready to make his first career playoff start Sunday against the Eagles.
"He just handles adversity," Nagy said. "He knows how to run this offense now. He's at a point right now where when he calls a play in the huddle, he can start looking at the defense rather than looking at the offense."
Trubisky is just as convinced that both he and his teammates will be ready to step onto the playoff stage.
"We're very excited," Trubisky said. "We're just going to treat it like the other games that we have throughout our season. We know everything's going to be turned up a notch, but we will be, too. We're going to go in there well-prepared, play our tails off, stick together as a family like we have all year and continue to stick to the things that have gotten us to this point.
"That's what I'm sticking to, and we'll go out there and play as hard as we can."
The Bears hit the practice field in preparation for the start of postseason play as they host the Eagles in the Wild Card round.