By Timothy Baffoe–
(CBS) “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of Ditka a Saviour, which is Mitch.” — Luke, Section 222: Seats 10-11
Darkness had washed over us, the Chicago Bears fans, since the prophet Lovie’s slow conversion to the college faith. We wandered in the desert for more than 30 years since the last Super Bowl championship, with slivers of hope scattered among the barrenness but never bearing fruit.
Everything about the commencement of the 2017 pseudo-season of exhibition games suggested more dry, lost football in the City of Wind. John Fox is presumably a lame-duck head coach. Mike Glennon was puzzlingly signed and anointed the starting quarterback in the offseason with no reason to think he’s worth that money or title. Then Glennon was left holding the bag live at Soldier Field on NFL Draft night when general manager Ryan Pace inexplicably traded up one spot to draft Mitch “Stereotypically Chicago Mispronouncable Ethnic Name” Trubisky.
Entering Week of Fake Football 1, Trubisky was third on the depth chart behind one of about 20 No. 2 quarterbacks not better than Colin Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez. Nothing about the Bears roster, particularly the receivers, left any but the zealots with CTE believing this team had more than six wins in them and any of the regular-season football they were fine-tuning would be worth watching.
I had reverted to my happy place in times like these, resigning myself to praying for chaos. Call it “fun bad” or whatever. Just something different from last season when we shuffled between knowing they were Jay Cutler’s last days in footb … in Chicago and trying to smile-wince through Matt Barkley playing his way to millions from the San Francisco 49ers the following year for his 63.7 career quarterback rating (Kaepernick’s is 88.9, by the way.)
If the Bears could at least make me laugh psychotically, watching them would feel less like homework. And at first on Thursday night, they did.
On the third play from scrimmage, Glennon threw an ugly interception that was returned by a Denver Bronco for a touchdown. It was hysterical, and I was thankful.
Glennon would finish his brief shift in at the garbage refinery 2-for-8 for 20 yards, that pick-six and a Blutarsky (quarterback rating of 0.0). He also lost a brutal snap from Cody Whitehair that wasn’t Glennon’s fault, but it was still fitting. The second quarter began with a delay because the field chains were broken, as if we needed a sign from above. Sanchez did nothing in his undeserved time. It was all the epic badness my soul, still sore from the team and fans never appreciating what they had in Cutler, craved.
There were specks of decency. Leonard Floyd had an impressive sack on Denver’s first offensive series, which was cool until teammates started smacking and shaking his highly concussive head. Jonathan Bullard had a great backfield run stuff. The kick return game, which we’ll probably see a lot this year, looked good early, including Deonte Thompson’s 44-yard kickoff return. Tarik Cohen looks to be compact weapon as advertised, and I want him to be catapulted by a teammate’s cupped hands at some point this season. Also, the tiny back needs to jump-kick people.
Then Trubisky came trotting out in time for a two-minute drill to end the first half. We kinda woke up to see how bad the kid was going to fall flat on his face literally and/or figuratively as another high draft pick set the franchise back years.
His night began with a big 18-yard handoff to Ka’Deem Carey. Then Trubisky completed his first three pass attempts. OK, OK, not bad. Then a touchdown on his fourth throw to fourth different receiver.
And we were saved.
‘Twas officially the Season of the Mitch, no matter what his coach thinks.
“Our depth chart is not going to change after one game — and particularly a preseason game,” Fox said in reference to what the entire fan base views as a quarterback controversy. “Our first unit went against probably one of the top three defenses in the league. I think you have to look at a lot of different things. I can understand how (the media) might think, but we’re not going to change a whole lot after one game.”
Yeah, why tinker with the Muppet you have at the top of the depth chart who’s going to solidify your canning, right?
“Mike’s the starter,” Trubisky said after the game. “This is his team.”
Humility is a major sign of a messiah, don’t you know. Meanwhile, local broadcast halftime programming began with Lou Canellis saying to Glennon in a taped interview, “It’s been well established that this is your team…” while everyone using the toilet was lit up from overpriced beers and a halo emanating from under center and couldn’t help but gush aloud about it without even breaking bathroom decorum. And I live alone.
With about seven minutes left in the third quarter, Trubisky was 7-of-7 with a peak quarterback rating of 140.8. He led another touchdown drive as he’d yet to throw an incomplete pass as the third quarter ended, sitting at 10-for-10. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I was fearing no evil. For Mitch was with me; his rollouts and his pocket presence, they comforted me.
As the game wound down and the Bears trailed by a touchdown, Trubisky was presented with another two-minute drill. He got his team close but ultimately came up short, ending his night 18-of-25 for 166 yards. He took no sacks and threw no picks and had a 103.1 rating.
Sure, preseason stats don’t count and aren’t a reliable measure of anything, but it’s come to the point where we have to start asking ourselves if Trubisky is a beacon shining in a dark period in Bears fandom. And if his light might guide us all to brighter days.
“He played really well, there’s no doubt about that,” Glennon said of Trubisky.
Mmm hmm, yeah, bro.
The Mitch gospel is going to spread nationwide before eventually going global. I’m ready to hear shouts to the heavens of “TRUBINSKY” from shore to shore, though his name has no “n,” as in no “n”terceptions and few “n”completions. He’s here, and he has no fear.
“A lot of great situational work throughout this game, and that’s what I need at this point,” Trubisky said. “Just got in a rhythm, play calling, guys were getting open, O-line did a great job giving me time, moving the pocket and just playing within myself and the offense. Just creating rhythm.”
Rhythm indeed. It’s like a gospel song exploded through the chunky turf. And the music can’t be turned down.
“When you take a guy that high (in the draft), I immediately knew that there could be something stirred up,” Glennon said. “I’m not going to focus on the outside world.
“I wouldn’t say my phone’s going to be off, but if you work for NFL Network, I’m not going to be checking you out.”
You can’t ignore the coming of a savior, Glennon. Especially when the new sermon has you as the spider dangling over the flame.
“I don’t think we need to (overreact to) the first preseason game and one quarter of it,” Glennon said. “Was it what we want? Absolutely not. But it was one quarter of the first preseason game, so it’s definitely fixable.”
Sounds like a shepherd who has lost his flock. Permanently.
So spread the good news, Bears fans. For Ryan Pace so loved the world, that he traded away draft picks, that whosoever believeth in Mitch should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.