Bears film study: Why can't 'Good Mitch' stay longer?
It's Week 3 of the NFL season and Mitch Trubisky is an undefeated quarterback. Time for a closer look at the coaches film from Sunday's win over the Giants:
1. Will we ever get a full game of "Good Mitch?"
This was actually pretty close, with a couple obvious exceptions. The Bears' first drive of the game provided a decent illustration of where Trubisky stands.
On the fourth play of the game, Trubisky takes a sack. He's looking to go deep to rookie Darnell Mooney, who has safety Jabril Peppers lined up over him. Good matchup.
The problem is, the Giants defense has a plan. Mooney is bumped hard and knocked off his route not by Peppers, but LB Lorenzo Carter, who is standing nearby. Then Peppers chases David Montgomery out of the backfield while CB Corey Ballantine follows Mooney downfield. Mooney isn't open, while former Packers LB Blake Martinez spots Allen Robinson's crossing route and moves into his path, spoiling the route without getting a penalty.
What Trubisky doesn't see is no one shadows Tarik Cohen, who motioned left before the snap. If Cohen gets the ball there, he's probably one juke from a touchdown. Instead, it's a sack.
Coach Matt Nagy gives Trubisky a confidence-builder on the next play, a quick dump to Cohen who picks up 15 yards behind the blocking of Javon Wims and TE Demetrius Harris. Wims flexes toward the bench after pushing Ballantine backward and out of the play.
The first touchdown to Montgomery was sign of Trubisky's growth. The Giants are rushing three with a spy. When Trubisky sees nothing downfield, he starts to run, draws Martinez toward him, then dumps to a wide-open Montgomery, who makes a good run to the end zone.
The interception early in the third quarter was a bad one, because it gave the Giants life while trailing 17-0. This was a case of Trubisky locking into his first option. Allen Robinson is kind of open, but CB James Bradberry is just goading Trubisky into making the throw.
On the release, Bradberry makes his break, deflects the pass and Chicago native Julian Love snags an easy interception. What Mitch could have seen was the Giants' secondary shifting to the side with Robinson and Anthony Miller after the snap. This left Mooney one-on-one on the right side for what could have been an easy completion.
Trubisky's second interception was mostly a great play by Bradberry to rip the ball away. Robinson might be the best in the league at making tough catches in tight coverage. Trubisky should have thrown it a little higher, but this is a play that usually works.
Trubisky caught a big break in the fourth quarter when his third-down pass was deflected at the line. He was trying to hit Robinson on a short cross. Giants LB Kyler Fackrell jumped the route and had room to tun, but the ball never arrived. On the next play, tackle Bobby Massie caught the deflected pass to convert a fourth down.
2. Will Mooney save GM Ryan Pace's job?
Bears drafts have been a mixed bag under Pace, but this fifth-round pick has been an eye-opener so far. Here's a closer look at Mooney's second quarter TD.
It's third-and-eight on the Giants' 15-yard line. New York rushes three, Mitch has plenty of time, but gets antsy. He sees that both Robinson and Miller are double-covered and Cohen is walled off in the back of the end zone.
Mooney originally runs a five-yard stop pattern. But he sees Mitch in trouble and breaks for the end zone. Ballentine stays with him, so Mooney takes it to another level. He circles behind Ballantine, causing the Giants' defender to turn his back to Trubisky. Mitch makes a good throw, Mooney sees the ball coming, Ballantine doesn't, touchdown.
If the Bears fail to convert there, they settle for a field goal and it's 13-0 at halftime with a good chance the Bears eventually lose.
Mooney has also been a solid blocker, and having experienced a couple Zoom calls with him, it seems safe to say he didn't need football to get admitted to Tulane. Mooney has a bright future.
3. Did Robert Quinn's presence help the defense?
A little, because the Bears played him sparingly, just 38 percent of Sunday's defensive snaps. Quinn's first play as a Bear was a strip sack of QB Daniel Jones. Overall, the Bears finished with 4 sacks.
The defensive line deserves credit for Deon Bush's first-half interception. On this play, both Quinn and Khalil Mack curled to the inside, but all four linemen -- Quinn, Mack, Akiem Hicks and newcomer Mario Edwards -- closed in on Jones, prompting him to make a bad throw.
Quinn was quiet otherwise, but this was a good defensive performance. The Giants got moving in the second half by running a lot of short routes, while the Bears played conservative with the lead.
Week 2 updates: Last week's film study discussed LB Danny Trevathan's struggles in pass coverage. Against the Giants, the Bears used Bush in those situations as Trevathan's snap percentage slid from 90 to 48 percent. ... OLB Barkevious Mingo got a much better pass rush in Week 2 and actually recorded a 1-yard sack ... Miller ranked fourth in wide receiver snap count with 26 this week, behind Robinson (53), Mooney (39) and Wims (29). ... Credit LG James Daniels as the star of that 12-play, fourth quarter drive.