Mitch Trubisky’s line from last Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots doesn’t look too shabby on the surface. He threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns while adding 81 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Indeed, by ESPN’s QBR metric, Trubisky (83.0) out-performed Tom Brady (74.3) that day. Yup.
HOWEVER, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. So let’s check out the video, which presents a disturbing trend that simply needs to go away ASAP.
Questionable Red Zone Decisions Continue
Trubisky’s improvement in the red zone has been one of the reasons the Bears offense has performed better in 2018 than recent years. He has 10 passing touchdowns (28.5 TD%), two rushing touchdowns, a 51.7 percent completion rate, a respectable 91.9 rating, and just one interception (2.8 INT%). These are better than the numbers he posted as a rookie: 5 passing TDs (18.5 TD%), a 48.2 percent completion rate, and a disappointing 78.9 rating.
But here’s the thing about Trubisky’s “good” 2018 season in the red zone … it very easily could have gone the other way – this Sunday is a perfect example:
Mitchell Trubisky: This RZ behavior has to stop. pic.twitter.com/vy10dCmKFT
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 21, 2018
I love that Coach Nagy is bringing in plenty of creativity to the offense, but this goalline playcall in the second quarter on Sunday made absolutely no sense to me. Nagy gave Trubisky Bradley Sowell, Ben Braunecker, and Dion Sims as possible options to throw to. #Bears pic.twitter.com/5PjJlBeePd
— Dan DeYoung (@DanDeYoung80) October 23, 2018
The videos above are two highly questionable decisions made by Trubisky, both of which could have resulted in turnovers. Chicago should be fortunate that neither throw ended up in the hands of a Patriots defender (or at least a defender capable of successfully catching it). Two interceptions there really would have tilted Trubisky’s numbers in the other direction, so he should be thanking his lucky stars.
But what’s most concerning here is that the throw in the vicinity of Ben Braunecker and Bradley Sowell is essentially the same mistake from Week 6:
Head Coach Matt Nagy explicitly tried to drive the point home to Trubisky that he can’t make the same mistake twice. And what did he do? He made the same mistake twice – in back-to-back weeks no less. It was inexcusable the first time and very troubling when repeated. The good news is that the mistakes he made in a very critical part of the field appear to be correctable. He just needs to make better decisions (easier said than done, I’m sure).
An Over-correction Leads to a Mistake
Statistically speaking, good things tend to happen when Trubisky lets it rip (Michael: I’m not mature enough to handle that sentence).
Only Patrick Mahomes (22) has more successful deep completions than Trubisky (16). And as far as I can gather, being in the same sentence as Mahomes when it comes to deep throws is a good thing. Along the same vein, it’s worth pointing out that no quarterback throws a higher percentage of deep attempts (balls that travels 20+ yards in the air) than Trubisky (19%). Trubisky throws it often and throws it successfully at a pretty decent clip. These are good signs that would be wrong to ignore. Alas, we must confront the fact that Trubisky was no good throwing the deep ball in Week 7.
If I believed in jinxes and curses, I’d be bothered that our praise of Trubisky’s deep-ball skills led to Sunday’s misfires. But because jinxes and curses aren’t real, we can move on and break down Trubisky’s misfires. Particularly, this one that resulted in an interception:
One of the common mistakes I’ve seen Trubisky make is an over-correction on deep pass attempts. With that over-correction comes balls being left short, which is what happened above with this play. Had he simply put more air under the ball and led Anthony Miller, he would have had a touchdown and we’d probably be talking about last week’s game differently.
The good news is that Trubisky has shown an ability to make corrections in the practice week that follows and show that he has made changes in the next game. So while that wasn’t necessarily the case in Week 7, Trubisky gets another crack at doing it right in Week 8. At this point, I’m already looking forward to seeing what next week’s post will bring us.