Trubisky impressive, but Vikings prevail 20-17 over Bears
Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky took his first snaps as a professional Monday night in front of a Soldier Field crowd of 56,738 that seemed as if it had been waiting for him for years.
And, if initial impressions mean anything, Trubisky may be worth the wait.
But his debut ended badly when he was picked off by Vikings Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith with 2:20 remaining in a tie game, which gave Minnesota the ball at the Bears' 28. Kai Forbath's 26-yard field goal with 12 seconds left gave the Vikings the 20-17 victory.
The 23-year-old Trubisky took the blame for the loss in front of his teammates in the locker room and when he addressed the media afterward.
Of the interception, he said: "It was me trying to do too much. Rather than throw the ball out of bounds and live to play another down, I just forced one. The windows are tighter here, and guys know how to be deceptive and close those windows."
Asked why he felt the need to take the blame for the loss, Trubisky said: "I'm just taking ownership. I feel that's what a quarterback should do. It's what I've been doing my whole life. I felt like it was on me."
Still, Trubisky's quick release, strong arm and exceptional mobility could be enough to get the Bears over the hump to respectability, which they have been trying to scale for close to five years.
Trubisky's ability to throw on the move gives the Bears options on offense they didn't have with the more stationary Mike Glennon.
"He's got what it takes," coach John Fox said. "There's no doubt in my mind he's going to do nothing but get better. Our guys feel his presence, and we were able to do some different things, and those things will grow in time."
Trubisky's 60.1 passer rating was lower than any of Glennon's four games, but dropped passes plagued him, as they had Glennon. And a 42-yard TD run by Jordan Howard was wiped out by a questionable holding call on wide receiver Markus Wheaton.
Still, there were signs of encouragement from the second overall pick in the draft throughout the game. At the end of the third quarter, he was chased out of the pocket on third-and-13 but sprinted for 13 yards and a first down, igniting the home crowd the same as he did while making accurate throws on the move.
Five plays later, he fired a 20-yard TD pass that was tipped in the end zone by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo but caught by tight end Zach Miller. It brought the Bears within two points with 12:24 remaining.
On the bizarre but successful 2-point conversion that tied the game at 17-17, Trubisky handed to Jordan Howard, who handed to Miller going the other way. Then Miller, a college quarterback, pitched backward to Trubisky who ran it in for the 2 points.
"He extended plays for us," Miller said of the new quarterback. "He made plays downfield, made plays with his legs (3 rushes for 22 yards), put us in position to win that game."
Trailing 10-2 after a scrambling Case Keenum threw a 13-yard TD pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph, Trubisky rolled to his right and threw 13 yards to Kendall Wright but it appeared the Bears would be forced to punt from the Vikings' 39.
However, on fourth-and-7, punter Pat O'Donnell lobbed a short pass over the middle to running back Benny Cunningham who spun out of a tackle and sprinted the rest of the way for a 38-yard TD reception, the Bears' longest pass play of the season.
That left the Bears trailing 10-9 with 5:23 remaining in the third quarter. But four plays later Jerrick McKinnon burst through a gaping hole in the Bears' defense for a 58-yard TD to give the Vikings a 17-9 lead.
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