By Chris Emma—
CINCINNATI, Ohio (670 The Score) – The moral victories had gotten old for a fiery competitor. Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was sick of the losing. He wanted a win to celebrate.
Finally, Trubisky got the game he wanted, a dominating 33-7 victory for his Bears over the disinterested Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday. His team’s five-game losing streak is over after Trubisky put together the best game of his young career, completing 25 of 32 passes for 271 yards and scoring in the air and on the ground.
The Bears got a glimpse of what their future can be with Trubisky.
“Mitch is playing lights out,” receiver Kendall Wright said. “He’s a young quarterback, but he’s getting better every week. That’s the main thing. He’s getting better and progressing every week. The sky’s the limit for him. He’ll get a year under his belt, do all the things that smart-ass quarterbacks do and he’ll get better.”
Wright led the way for the Bears with 10 receptions on 11 targets, racking up 107 yards along the way. He kept getting open for Trubisky, as did Adam Shaheen, Josh Bellamy and Dion Sims.
For all those frustrating games in which Trubisky’s receivers were blanketed in coverage, Sunday was drastically different. The Bears created an excellent balance in their offense – Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined to rush for 227 yards – and Trubisky kept finding open receivers. Wright joked that they were “7-11 – we’re always open.”
Of course, that hadn’t been the case all season. The Bears surely benefited in facing a Bengals defense depleted by injuries and sleepwalking after a dismantling loss the Monday before. But that shouldn’t discount how much better Trubisky’s offense was.
After 12 games of desperately searching for mismatches on offense, the Bears unleashed Shaheen on the Bengals. He hauled in four of five targets, including one for a touchdown and two to move the chains.
Trubisky and Shaheen have spent extra time with routes after practices and logged even more time on the field this week after Shaheen played only nine snaps last Sunday. He needed to become more well-versed in his routes and show the readiness for a key role. Trubisky wanted to ensure that Shaheen was up to speed.
“It’s a tribute to the extra work we put in before and after practice, just getting on the same page,” Trubisky said.
The Bengals defense presented mostly Cover-2 and Cover-3 looks, as Trubisky noted postgame. Their lack of continuity on defense was clear, and the Bears took advantage. Shaheen kept finding seams, and Cincinnati had to account for him. Wright was the biggest beneficiary to Shaheen’s added presence, posting his best game in a Bears uniform.
Howard and Cohen did their part in creating that balance, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains deserves credit for keeping a mix in his play-calling.
“We just moved the ball with ease on them,” Howard said. “We had them off balance. They didn’t know if we were running or throwing.”
The potential has always been there for Trubisky, the second overall pick in the NFL Draft last April. He has shown tremendous flashes this season, both with his arm and legs. But previously, he hadn’t put together a complete performance, and his team kept coming up short.
On Sunday in Cincinnati, that changed. Trubisky took another step forward and delivered the victory that had eluded his Bears.