3 things we heard from Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, including building on the win over the Lions and facing the Rams’ Aaron Donald

Chicago Tribune Sports 3 weeks ago

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky spoke to reporters Wednesday at Halas Hall before he began preparing to face the Rams on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Here are three things we heard.

Trubisky and coach Matt Nagy have been measured in their assessment of the offense in Sunday’s 20-13 win over the Lions. They have acknowledged good moments but also room for improvement.

“I felt like I made good decisions, stayed in the pocket, moved around a little bit when I needed to,” Trubisky said. “I’d like to be better on third down, but it’s always nice when you score points, throw a couple touchdowns. … It was nice to go out there and do my job, but we’ve still got some stuff we’ve got to clean up, and I’d like to see the offense continue to evolve this week. But I felt like I put my team in a good spot, and I feel pretty good about that.”

Trubisky completed 16 of 23 passes for 173 yards and led three straight touchdown drives from the end of the second quarter to the beginning of the third. There were positives from which to draw, such as touchdown passes to Ben Braunecker and Taylor Gabriel and a 33-yard completion to Allen Robinson while getting hit that Nagy called Trubisky’s best throw.

But the Bears were 2-for-12 on third-down conversions and went three-and-out on seven drives. They didn’t get beyond their 30-yard line until less than 3 minutes remained in the first half.

At least Trubisky can draw from finding a spark midgame after such a rough start.

“I would say it’s just staying calm, communication on the sideline and continuing to believe in my guys and my guys believing in me,” Trubisky said. “(Getting) on the same page and fixing mistakes on the sideline and then going out there, correcting it and making plays.”

The Rams (5-4) have allowed 331 yards per game, which ranks 11th in the NFL, including just 90.8 rushing yards per game and 5 yards per play. Last year’s 15-6 Bears victory turned into a defensive battle, and Trubisky is ready for another big challenge from a group that has added linebacker Clay Matthews, safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“It starts up front for them,” Trubisky said. “They’ve got really talented players in (Aaron) Donald, and they do a lot of stuff up front with twists and getting pressure. Last year they kind of zoned us out and tried to keep everything in front and take away our big plays, so for us it’s going to be being good on first and second down, trying to establish drives, stay on the field and we’ve got to find ways to score more points.

“They did a good job of keeping us out of the end zone and made us settle for some field goals last year, so we’d like to find ways to punch it in and when we get into the red zone, finish drives. So that’s going be the focus.”

Donald, the reigning defensive player of the year, has 5½ sacks this year, while Matthews has 7½ and Dante Fowler 6½. Trubisky acknowledged he has to be aware of where Donald is — but also not let the threat of Donald affect his play.

“At some point you need to block that out and be able to focus on what you need to do each play,” Trubisky said. “But in the beginning, when you’re setting up and going through your pre-snap preparation, you have to ID where he’s at and we’ll account for him in protection and give him the respect he deserves. So wherever he’s at, just know where he’s at, but I’ve still got to block that out and be able to do my job on the field.”

That’s how Matt Nagy said it felt Wednesday, even though the win over the Lions wasn’t the sharpest.

“It feels good to get that win,” Nagy said. “Do we want to be better? Do we know that we have a lot higher grades and values for how we play? Yes. But all of us, including Mitch, feel a lot better. And the confidence definitely, certainly gets higher.”

Trubisky said the win “just confirms to me that as long as we stick together and work hard, we can overcome anything.” Allen Robinson called it “a start.”

“You’ve got to start somewhere,” Robinson said. “We can build off of it. We played well at times last week. We didn’t play a perfect game. It’s definitely a building block.”

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