They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the one you've probably seen on social media of a seemingly wide open Trey Burton in the end zone Sunday night in Green Bay is misleading.
Watching video of the play, which came on third-and-goal at the Packers 3, paints a more accurate picture. Burton was open—but only for a split second and at the same time that Mitchell Trubisky was looking to throw to running back Tarik Cohen in the right flat, the quarterback's first option on the play.
Cohen was covered, so Trubisky wisely didn't try to force the ball. A pass over the middle to Burton at that point likely wouldn't have made it to the tight end. Weighing in on the debate on Twitter, Packers cornerback Kevin King wrote: "Everything look[s] open on a screenshot … [Safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix] woulda been Lambeau leapin' if he woulda threw this."
Trubisky ultimately decided to swing the ball to the left to receiver Taylor Gabriel, who lost five yards. But the Bears increased their lead to 10-0 on Cody Parkey's 26-yard field goal.
"They played zone on that play and they dropped some guys, so they have an extra hat in there," said coach Matt Nagy. "Trey on that play is one of the options, but he's later on in the progression. That's not Mitch's fault for [not] seeing that. [From] the bird's eye view, it's easy to say, ‘Yeah, he was open.' But that was good defense by them. They made a good play. You give them credit for making a good defensive call."
Trubisky agreed that the screenshot of the play posted online was misleading, but he still took some responsibility for not anticipating that Burton would break open.
"Tarik was the first option in the flat," Trubisky said. "It's one of those plays where [you think], ‘How risky are you going to be? Are you going to take care of the football?' I checked it down, we lost five yards, but we got three points out of it and went up 10-0. That was the big positive takeaway for me.
"But moving forward, if I want to evolve into the quarterback I want to be, you've got to take the opportunity, and I've got to anticipate that even more. That wasn't something that happened in practice at all that week. But you've got to know as a quarterback if that opens up, take your chances and get it to the guy wide open.
"But it's a little less wide open when you're playing it full motion on film. When you've got the still picture, which I'm sure a lot of people saw, it looks like I don't know what I'm doing. Trust me, I'm hard on myself. You want touchdowns, not field goals. But I thought I put myself and my team in a good position in that instance, first quarter, check it down, three points, we're up 10-0."