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It was just another heroic Tom Brady- Drew Brees- John Elway-like finish for Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky Sunday. Pretty much as I predicted all along.
Or. . . maybe not. I’ll admit to tweeting: “One quarter down. Trubisky still the QB for the Bears.” And before the comeback: “It’s time for the Bears to pull Trubisky right now. . .defense is beaten down emotionally by this.’’
Bears defense. Bears fans. Anyone who likes football. Trubisky ended up being the hero in the Bears’ 27-23 win over Detroit, but somehow it didn’t feel like Brady or Brees.
Do the Bears have their very own Tim Tebow?
“The left leg has to be in line with your right arm to be accurate.’’ That’s what Terry Bradshaw said in the FOX studio at halftime, explaining Trubisky’s play in the same way you’d explain quarterbacking to a 7-year old.
When Tebow was with the Denver Broncos, he couldn’t do the things an NFL quarterback does, such as throw a pass in the general vicinity of a target. He was awful, awful awful, and then he’d win.
There was no way to play him because he wasn’t good enough and you couldn’t run your offense. Yet there was no way to bench him because he kept winning. I went to a Broncos game one year and thought Denver coach John Fox, who was dying to bench Tebow but couldn’t because the fans would have killed him, was intentionally running an NFL-style offense just to prove to fans that Tebow couldn’t do it.
“If we were trying to run a regular offense,’’ Fox once told NFL.com, “he’d be screwed.’’
In Denver, fans loved Tebow so much that he was a cult figure. In Chicago, fans still can’t believe the Bears picked Trubisky over Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 draft.
At the time of the draft, though, Bears fans thought they finally had their quarterback. The hype was so big that Fox, the Bears coach at the time, told reporters “I’ve been around situations like that before, back in my time at Denver even with Tebow. We’re going to do whatever we can. As coaches, we got to put guys in positions where they can utilize their skill set, and it won’t be any different this year.’’
Fox did his best, which is to say he was fired by the end of Trubisky’s rookie year. During that year, Trubisky “led’’ the Bears to a win over Carolina with just four completions. He became the first non-injured NFL quarterback to win a game with just four completions since . . .
Tebow, in 2011.
On Sunday, watching Trubisky was an emotional experience. It took 10 minutes to realize everything the Bears had said about his improvement was wrong. He was still Trubisky, throwing behind receivers and into the chests of unsuspecting defenders. What made things worse was FOX analyst Jonathan Vilma constantly talking about how calm Trubisky was, how his throws were in the right spot.
It was hard to hear exactly what else he said over all the screaming. I eventually quieted down.
Look, the Bears already declined Trubisky’s option for next year and spent $21 million guaranteed to bring in Nick Foles to compete with him. Foles is better than Trubisky.
So it was a big deal when Trubisky won the job. And when the Bears were down 23-6, third and 10 with 18 minutes left in the game, you had to wonder: Is this the final play of Trubisky’s run as Bears’ QB? He then completed a pass to Anthony Miller for a first down. Then, somehow, a few plays after he overthrew another receiver, threw a 2-yard touchdown pass and you realized:
The Bears were being Tebowed. There was no way to take Trubisky out.
“Like pulling teeth in the dentist chair,’’ said Dick Stockton, who was calling the game.
From there, the Lions collapsed. Granted, their secondary was depleted by injuries. Trubisky still found time to try to avoid a rush, turn the wrong way and drop the ball backward for a 27-yard loss.
He tried not to think about the past:
“You can’t go back to that dark place,’’ he told Peter King of NBC’s Football in America. “You can’t go back to, `My stats aren’t any good. It’s happening again.’ ’’
He then ran a hurry-up offense perfectly. And then Trubisky took the Bears so easily down for the game-winning touchdown, ending with a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass to Miller for the win.
Back at the FOX studio, Michael Strahan warned that the Bears don’t always get to play the Lions.
Come on, Michael. Don’t be such a pessimist.