For a moment, let’s take the Bears’ 38-31 loss to the Patriots at face value.
The Bears came within a yard of being in position to tie a game with a PAT in what was ultimately a seven-point defeat at the hands of the defending AFC champs and current leaders of the AFC East. Mitch Trubisky threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 81 rushing yards for good measure. That’s 414 yards of total offense, which isn’t bad.
So with that in mind, I suppose it makes sense that Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy offered up a relatively glowing review of Trubisky’s performance:
"He had a really good game."
– Bear HC Matt Nagy on QB Mitch Trubisky
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) October 21, 2018
However, all numbers aren’t created equally. Trubisky gained 42 passing yards on three plays at the end of the first half as time expired, then tacked on 79 more yards on the game’s final drive. That’s 121 passing yards against defensive shells guarding against deep plays and a significant chunk of Trubisky’s passing day.
So while Trubisky put up numbers that suggested he played well, his post-game comments tell a story of a player who knows good stats aren’t enough when more is expected.
“Close doesn’t cut it. There’s a new standard here, and coming up one-yard short and not tying the game and going into over time, that’s not good enough any more,” Trubisky said in his post-game press conference. “It’s not good enough anymore to come up short. We’re letting each other down, we’re letting our fans down, and we don’t want to do that. There’s a new standard.”
Trubisky wasn’t awful, and while his coach thinks he played a good game, at least Trubisky knows he also wasn’t good enough to overcome his own miscues.
You know what else is good? The dismissal of the idea of moral victories. It would have been easy to break out the “good job, good effort” angle, but Trubisky wasn’t having any of it. That’s encouraging. Knowledge is power, and knowing when things aren’t good enough to get where you want to go is the first step toward success. The next step is turning that knowledge and putting it toward better execution moving forward. The Bears have been good enough to hang with some good teams, but that’s not enough when the bar is raised.
Good on Trubisky for raising the bar in Chicago. Now, it’s time for his teammates to fall in line and follow their leader.