If the Bears were looking for an excuse to go to Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky provided.
Despite a healthy set of offensive weapons, a game-plan that catered to his strengths, and a matchup against Atlanta’s short-handed defense, the Bears 2017 first-round pick still couldn’t string together enough positive plays to prevent the inevitable.
In fact, Sunday probably should’ve been a stat-padding day Trubisky – like the game against the Buccaneers in 2018 – but it was the opposite. Atlanta’s secondary (missing three starting defensive backs) threw a zone defense at Trubisky and gave him fits throughout the afternoon. And even when he got his passes off, things were troubling (most notably, his misfire on a deep ball to Anthony Miller late in the first half that should’ve been a touchdown).
Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy probably saw on the field what we did from home – Trubisky was doing nothing and the time had come to make a change.
Of course, making the change wasn’t as easy as one might think:
Bears quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo said of the team's change: "People think these are easy decisions to make. They’re not. Because there are real people involved. There are people who have given a lot of their time, sweat and blood for our team who are in these decisions."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 28, 2020
The Switch will go down in Bears lore as happening because Trubisky made a rookie mistake in throwing an interception on a 3rd-and-8 crossing route that was all but telegraphed for the defender to jump. Nagy said as much when he said (via Adam Hoge): “I think when I knew it was the interception on third down … Sometimes there’s a gut feeling on when to do it and that seemed like the time.” But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Trubisky’s interception is a tipping point, but make no mistake: all of the things that built up to that single moment virtually asked for the Bears to make a change. They did. And the rest is history.
It’s not as if Trubisky didn’t have opportunities to cement his spot as the starter. After all, he played well enough in the first two weeks to garner national praise for his efforts. And it’s not as if the Bears were actively torpedoing Trubisky’s chances by sabotaging him. Nor was it self-sabotage by Trubisky doing too much (or not enough). Seeing Trubisky’s inconsistencies over the course of three games make me wonder if the improvements that were said to be made behind-the-scenes weren’t taking hold.
It was a 43-play sample, but Foles provided exactly what the Bears needed at quarterback. They needed a distributor who can spread the ball around and place it where receivers can make plays. Someone to throw balls that led receivers to open areas and not into defenders angling to make a bone-crunching hit. A football equivalent to a point guard who always gets you the rock in your shooting pocket. That’s what Foles does. It’s not flashy. But it gets the job done. And it’s why he is the starter moving forward.