When the Bears were heading into their Week 4 game against the Buccaneers, doubt began creeping in – doubt that Mitch Trubisky would ever have the kind of single-game breakout performance delivered by fellow 2017 first-round QBs Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. And then the Mitch Trubisky Game™ happened.
But with that now accomplished, some fans have leveled up their concerns about Trubisky. Now, the question is Can he do it in back-to-back games?
Well, Week 6 was no Week 4, but take a second to check out Trubisky’s encore performance against the Dolphins in all of its statistical glory. It was a good one – don’t let that miss you:
— NFL (@NFL) October 14, 2018
It’s no six-touchdown day, but that’ll certainly do – especially if Trubisky can do that on a weekly basis. Trubisky’s passing day was one of the few highlights of Sunday’s game. Without it, the Bears would have a lot more questions than what they already are facing heading into Week 7 against the Patriots. As far as I’m concerned, we should try to enjoy this two-game Trubisky spurt while we can. And I feel as if the best way to do that is to have some fun with small sample sizes.
Ready? Good. Because here goes nothing!
If we use Trubisky’s last two games as our sample, his production would be on a 16-game pace of 5,360 yards, 72 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Those numbers, alongside a sparking 71.9 completion percentage, superb 11.8 yards per attempt, and fabulous 143.3 passer rating would truly make for a ridiculously season. And that’s before factoring the 88 rush attempts and 800 yards on the ground into the equation. Soooooo, where do I sign up for 16 games of this kind of quarterbacking?
And from a fantasy perspective, Trubisky’s recent outbursts are starting to make a case for his inclusion in your starting lineup:
Mitchell Trubisky has 9 passing TDs in his last two games. He had 9 for his career before that. pic.twitter.com/JHKGuohMYG
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 15, 2018
Trubisky isn’t going to play at this pace for the rest of the season. But wouldn’t it be cool if he did?
This is truly notable:
Notable passer ratings thru October 15th:
Mitch Trubisky 105.6
Russell Wilson 104.8
Aaron Rodgers 100.1
Tom Brady 98.2
Ben Roethlisberger 94.6
Cam Newton 93.2
— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) October 16, 2018
It would be understandable – justifiable, even – for skeptics to fall back on the last two games as isolated blips propelling Trubisky’s big numbers. And while there is some truth in that, it would be disingenuous to not consider the bigger picture that points toward Trubisky’s growth.
During the bye week, we detailed the phases of Trubisky’s growth process through the lens of having completed 16 starts as a pro. And to be sure, we should continue to point out his progress as a professional quarterback isn’t anywhere near completion. So let’s take the concepts we introduced in that post.
Last 9 games (spanning 2017 and 2018): 203/298 (68.12%), 2,217 yards, 13 TD, 7 INT, 94.6 rating
While this might look like a classic case of using arbitrary end points, I used the most recent nine-game sample because it coincides with when the Bears’ old regime started to open up the playbook, give Trubisky a little more operating room, and allow him to throw the football more often. In Week 14 against the 49ers, Trubisky threw just 15 passes despite having an 80 percent completion rate and 117.2 passer rating. From that point until the end of the 2017 season, Trubisky averaged 34.3 pass attempts per game. That number is more in line with the 32.2 attempts per game Trubisky has thrown under Head Coach Matt Nagy.
If Trubisky were to continue to play at the nine-game pace we have highlighted, he would put up 3,941 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions over a 16-game span. Not as impressive as that number we showed above, but certainly respectable.
The last two games have shown Trubisky throwing with the type of confidence and accuracy he hadn’t shown at any earlier point in his career. It all points to the second-year quarterback getting better with each practice and game rep that passes. Again, his development isn’t anywhere near over. There will still be bumps in the road and teachable moments to learn from in the days, weeks, and months ahead. But progress can be a slow process, and Trubisky is showing signs that fans’ patience with him could pay off in a big way.