The diagnosis of Mitchell Trubisky's performance in Sunday's 17-16 loss to the Chargers was that the Bears quarterback made strides but still needs to improve in key areas.
Trubisky connected on 23 of 35 passes for 253 yards and a 75.1 passer rating. He showed better accuracy, especially on downfield throws, completing passes of 35, 31 and 31 yards after entering the game with just one pass play of at least 30 yards in his first five starts this season.
Trubisky's most impressive pass may have been the one he rifled over the middle to tight end Trey Burton for a 16-yard gain on second-and-18 late in the game. It was one of several good throws that coach Matt Nagy had highlighted in yellow on a note card that he referred to during his Monday press conference.
"There's a bunch of yellow on here," Nagy said. "There's a lot of really good throws in yellow that he made. I'll just throw one out that's a special throw—second-and-18 to Trey Burton across the middle. That's a tough throw. And there are several more on here that are really good throws, but that's a special throw right there.
"Now there are others within the game that he can get better at. There's one he truly missed, the one to Taylor Gabriel."
That throw came with the Bears leading 16-10 midway through the fourth quarter, from their own 42-yard line. Gabriel beat single coverage by veteran linebacker Thomas Davis, but Trubisky's pass deep down the field sailed over the receiver.
"He truly missed that one," Nagy said. "He knew it right away. We all knew it. We'll talk about it and we'll try to hit it next time."
One play after the missed opportunity, Trubisky lost a fumble and the Chargers converted the turnover into the game-winning touchdown.
"That's one that we knew all week that we were going to get," Nagy said of the matchup between Gabriel and Davis. "We knew that and much knew that. And it's just that we had it and we didn't hit it. After the way our defense is playing, you hit that and it's close to being the dagger."
Another throw that Trubisky wishes he had back came early in the fourth quarter when he floated a ball down the right sideline intended for Burton that was intercepted by cornerback Casey Hayward, who backpedaled away from the receiver he was covering to pick off the pass.
"That's a great learning tool for Mitch and for us, for everyone to learn from, right?" Nagy said. "You scheme a play and you think you might get a coverage and you get the coverage. But he's a good corner, he's a Pro Bowl corner, and he's a savvy vet. So when he falls off on that, I think that's going to be one that Mitch and I will talk about and say, 'Hey, that's one where, it's 16-10, you dump it down and we live to see another down.'"
After the Chargers took a 17-16 lead on Philip Rivers' 11-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler with 8:04 remaining, Trubisky put the Bears in position to attempt a game-winning 41-yard field goal (that Eddy Piñeiro missed) with a nifty 11-yard scramble to the Los Angeles' 21.
"Heck of a job by him in that situation," Nagy said. "He almost got sacked twice. He tripped over our own guy, our tackle, and then he spun out of that, back-doored it, and then [Melvin] Ingram almost got him with the swipe. But he made a hell of a play."