Mitch Trubisky’s mistake-filled performance against the Chargers creates another ‘gut check’ for the Bears

Chicago Tribune Sports 1 month ago
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro and Chargers defensive back Desmond King react differently after Pineiro missed the would-be game-wining kick. The Bears lost to the Chargers 17-16 at Soldier Field. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro watches his field goal attempt go wide left as the Bears lose to the Chargers. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro stands alone after his field goal attempt goes wide left as time runs out. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro is consoled after missing his field goal as time expired. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro misses at 41-yard field goal attempt as time expires. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro leaves the field after the 17-16 loss to the Chargers. He missed a 41-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears fans react after a Chargers touchdown in the fourth quarter. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery rushes for third quarter touchdown. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery scores a touchdown in the third quarter. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery celebrates his touchdown in the third quarter. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel is surrounded by Chargers as he's stopped in the fourth quarter. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky scrambles to put the Bears in field goal position near the end of the game. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson catches a pass in the third quarter. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro shields his eyes from the sun on the sidelines during the third quarter. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is taken down by Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa in the first quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram celebrates recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back Tarik Cohen looks for an opening in the second quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears head coach Matt Nagy tries to get out of the way as Chargers defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins tackles Bears running back David Montgomery in the second quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back Tarik Cohen carries the ball during the second quarter. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery tries to run through the grasp of Chargers' Thomas Davis Sr. in the first quarter. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears tight end Adam Shaheen can't make a reception in the end zone as Chargers defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins defends him in the second quarter on Sunday. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery breaks free for a long run in the second quarter against the Chargers. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) helps to break up a pass for Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry (86) in the first quarter of a game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune) (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is sacked by Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa in the first quarter. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up before facing the Chargers on Sunday. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears wide receiver Javon Wims plays catch with a fan before facing the Chargers at Soldier Field on Sunday. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky walks out to the field for warm-up before the Week 8 game against the Chargers. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears running back David Montgomery walks out to warm up for a game against the Chargers at Soldier Field on Oct. 27, 2019. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky with some pregame throws at Soldier Field on Oct. 27, 2019. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro walks out to the field for warm-ups. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)
A Chicago Bears fan watches warm-ups before the Week 8 game against the Chargers. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
A trio of Bears coaches rest after running up the stairs at Soldier Field before the game. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky warms up his hand before the Week 8 game at Soldier Field on Oct. 27, 2019. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears offensive tackle Rashaad Coward warms up before the Week 8 game against the Chargers at Soldier Field on Oct. 27, 2019. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears fan Dru Trivedi looks down at field signage before the Week 8 game against the Chargers at Soldier Field. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky takes the field before Week 8 against the Chargers. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Mitch Trubisky watched the pass sail incomplete in the fourth quarter Sunday at Soldier Field and put his hands to his helmet in disbelief.

Bears fans’ reactions may have included a few expletives.

Taylor Gabriel streaked down the field past Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis and had 20 yards of open field between him and the end zone. The football, however, fell 3 yards in front of Gabriel, and the Bears missed the opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead.

The Bears’ 17-16 loss to the Chargers came down to kicker Eddy Pineiro’s missed 41-yard field-goal attempt, but plays like the misfire to Gabriel are what caused Bears coach Matt Nagy to say afterward he needs to reflect on where Trubisky is as they near the season’s midpoint.

After criticism about him last week swelled to its peak thus far in his three seasons, Trubisky put the Bears in position to score on the final drive. But his mistakes throughout the game did nothing to quell the outside questions about his future as the Bears quarterback.

“It’s a gut check,” Trubisky said. “It’s who’s going to rise up to the challenge this week, who’s going to continue to work hard and stick together when we’re going through adversity. And you’ve got to embrace it. ... It’s never too late. We can definitely turn it around.”

Trubisky’s two fourth-quarter turnovers made that hard to do Sunday.

On the next play after he “just missed” Gabriel, the Chargers pushed tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie back into Trubisky, and the ball came loose from Trubisky’s hand. Chargers defensive lineman Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble, and the Chargers took over at the Bears 26-yard line.

Three plays later, the Chargers scored the winning touchdown.

“I've got to have two hands on the ball when I'm leaving the pocket, when I'm moving in the pocket,” Trubisky said. “I put my hand down, and one second I had it and then I didn't.”

The fumble was the second of back-to-back turnovers by Trubisky, the other an interception by cornerback Casey Hayward, who jumped in front of tight end Trey Burton.

“The corner started to run with the post and then I let go of it,” Trubisky said. “That was just a good play by him by falling off on it, just a savvy vet making a play. It looked like the right look for what we were trying to do. I had Trey running up the side, and I had to move it a little bit in the pocket, and ... when I go back and watch it, I’m probably going to wish I just threw it away, checked it down or dirted it.”

Trubisky’s uneven play also contributed to the Bears’ troubles in the red zone in the first half. Of the Bears’ 11 plays inside the 10-yard line in the half, Trubisky completed 2 of 6 passes for 1 yard.

He nearly threw an interception in the end zone while trying to hit Burton from the 4-yard line on second down to open the second quarter. His third-down throw was well out of reach of Adam Shaheen. Later in the second quarter, his second-down throw from the 9 was behind wide receiver Allen Robinson and fell incomplete at the 1.

The Bears settled for Pineiro field goals on both drives.

It wasn’t all bad. As the Bears finally presented a balanced attack, Trubisky completed five passes of more than 20 yards — more than he did in the victory over the Redskins. He had a 22-yard completion to Gabriel and an 11-yard scramble — a part of his game that has been muted for most of the season — on the Bears’ final drive.

But if Pineiro had made the field goal as time expired, it could have been argued the Bears won in spite of Trubisky — not because of him.

Nagy will have plenty to reflect on.

“I kind of look sometimes for the intangibles, like where are we at with the vibe on the sideline, the leadership, and then when you get a chance to make plays, where is that part at, right?” Nagy said. “You have to be able to see (it) decision-making wise, and with the quarterback, are the eyes going to the same place? I’ve got to see it. I’ve got to watch it tonight and see. But there were some good plays in there and there’s some I think we want back.”


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