The Chicago Bears offense may have let a handful of opportunities slip through the cracks on Sunday evening, but one particular screenshot keeps making its way across my screen, giving Bears fans even more heartburn from Sunday’s loss. But perhaps we shouldn’t sweat it that much.
Check it out:
On a third down from the Packers' three-yard line, this play went for -minus five yards. Bonus points if you spot the open player…. pic.twitter.com/sLrsDmvK04
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) September 11, 2018
Okay, obviously, in a vacuum, that image looks bad. From the looks of it, Mitch Trubisky has tight end Trey Burton *wide open* in the end zone, meaning that a completed pass would have given the Bears a lead-extending touchdown, that probably puts the game entirely out of reach.
That Trubisky *didn’t* throw a touchdown there, then, has caught the ire of fans who think the throw/play was a gimme. It wasn’t. But don’t take my word for it. Or even the word of anyone associated with the Bears.
From the perspective of Packers cornerback Kevin King, that play was anything but a gimmie:
King makes it clear that he’s gone over the tape of this play, and from his point of view sees a difficult throw in a closing window against a safety who is closing in at full speed. And I doubt King is saying this just because Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a teammate. Clinton-Dix is a Pro Bowl safety with 11 interceptions in his four-year career, three of which have come against the Bears. Just the thought of Trubisky throwing a borderline dangerous pass on third down when coming away with points is a net gain in the end game makes me itchy.
I can’t argue against the fact that the still shot makes it look certain that Trubisky had a clean shot at a touchdown, because it certainly looks that way. However, screenshots don’t tell the whole story, and watching the video replay doesn’t leave me with the same amount of certainty that this was an easy six for Trubisky:
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) September 11, 2018
It looks like Trubisky doesn’t see Burton, or if he does see him (there appears to be a moment of pause where Trubisky sees Burton), it’s too late to make a throw. In fact, outside of the most perfect “stars aligning” moment, there may not have been a window there at all. In fact, that point might not even exist. There’s a fair chance that any potential throw there is, at best, batted down, and, at worst, intercepted at the worst possible time. Not scoring a touchdown there stinks, but ending a drive with a red zone interception is far worse.
More than anything, this is a teachable moment for Trubisky. If the Bears are going to be as good as they think they are/can be, Trubisky needs to be good. That means he needs to grow up quickly, go through his progressions quicker, play as well on un-scripted plays as he did when he was following the early script, and make some tough throws.
But do I wish Trubisky would have forced a throw there, when the risk is so great? Nah. If he had tossed an interception there, we would have been squirming about it for weeks. So with that in mind, let’s not let this one bother us for too much longer. We’ll be moving on to Seattle shortly.