The headline isn’t hyperbole. Mitch Trubisky’s performance against the Detroit Lions was an all-timer, at least by the standards set by prior Chicago Bears quarterbacks.
Here’s how it looked in its full-blown graphic glory:
— NFL (@NFL) November 11, 2018
Trubisky finished the day completing 23 of 30 passes, throwing for 355 yards, 3 TDs through the air, another on the ground, and a passer rating of 148.6. It’s an impressive day, to be sure. So let’s punch in the numbers into Pro-Football-Reference and dive into how awesome it truly was.
Since the merger in 1970, there have been just 22 occasions in which an NFL quarterback has completed at least 70 percent of his passes, thrown multiple touchdowns, scored once on the ground, and gained at least 350 yards in the air. And if you’re familiar with the Bears’ history of quarterback play, then you won’t be surprised to learn that Trubisky is the only Bears player to have done it.
In the other 21 times has happened, only Drew Brees (in a December 2013 game against the Buccaneers) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (in Week 1 of the 2018 season against the Saints) posted a higher passer rating than Trubisky’s 148.6 when reaching these thresholds.
To be clear, big-time passing performances are happening all the time in the NFL. The rules favor quarterbacks and pass-catchers and have transformed how players play and how coaches scheme. But still … Trubisky’s performance stands out as a unique one. And with that in mind, let’s try to wrap our heads around how rare it is for a Bears quarterback to perform at this level.
Dating back to 1950, there have been just eight games in which a Bears quarterback has posted a passer rating of 100 or better, thrown multiple passing touchdowns, added a rushing score, and thrown for 300+ yards. Trubisky became the first to do it since Josh McCown in 2013 and is one of just four Bears to do it since the merger in 1970.
Let’s continue to narrow it down. Since 1970, only three Bears quarterbacks have thrown 30+ pass attempts, gained 350+ yards in the air, thrown at least 3 touchdowns, and put up a passer rating of 100 or better. Trubisky did it on Sunday to join Erik Kramer in 1998 (check out this box score against the Vikings) and Jim Miller in 1999 (again, this box score takes me back!) as the only Bears quarterbacks to reach these statistical markers in the last 48 years of NFL football. And unlike Kramer or Miller, Trubisky’s efforts came in a win.
This is pretty impressive, too:
#Bears QBs with at least 300 yards and 3 TDs and no picks since 1970:
Mitchell Trubisky 355-3-0 vs. Lions 11/11/18
MItchell Trubisky 354-6-0 vs. Bucs 9/30/18
Josh McCown 348-4-0 vs. Cowboys 12/9/13
Erik Kramer 317-4-0 vs. Rams 9/24/95
Vince Evans 316-3-0 vs. Packers 12/7/80
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) November 12, 2018
As is this passing chart:
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 11, 2018
Look at all those down-field completions. *stares lovingly*
If you were waiting for a Trubisky breakout, you got it in Week 4 against the Buccaneers. But if you wanted to see him do it again, well, you got your wish in Week 10. Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush called it “easily his best passing day as a pro.” The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg wrote Trubisky’s performance “at the very least, he made his critics hesitant to check their mentions on Twitter.” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio conjured up the name of Sid Luckman when analyzing Trubisky’s game.
Through eight games, Trubisky has completed 65.5 percent of his passes, thrown for 2,304 yards, 19 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and posted a quarterback rating of 101.6 while tacking on 320 rushing yards and three scores. That comes out to a 16-game pace of 4,096 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions to go along with 569 rushing yards and five scores. Those are nice numbers. So nice, Bears quarterback has ever done it. Sure, it says a lot about the franchise’s production at the position. But it also says a little something about how well Trubisky is starting to perform.
Trubisky’s season has been compared by some as a rollercoaster adventure. If that analogy is apt, then I think we’re getting to the part where it’s about to get really exciting. Hold on to your hats!