LAKE FOREST – Just the fact that each quarterback took the field in the second week of January was enough to bring out a collective groan from Bears’ fans.
Patrick Mahomes was leading the Chiefs on the field while Deshaun Watson had the Texans into the divisional round for the first time in his career. Both of those quarterbacks have played extremely well in their young careers, and their individual success has translated to the team.
Over the course of a couple of hours on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the pair of 2017 first round picks put on an entertaining show filled with two major momentum shifts. Houston took a 24-0 lead only to watch Kansas City finish the game on a 51-7 run to win by 20, as the quarterbacks combined for 664 yards through the air and seven touchdowns without an interception.
Mahomes had 321 of those yards and five of the scores as he led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship for a second-straight season, while Watson settles with the deepest playoff run of his career.
So naturally, many are wondering what Ryan Pace was thinking while watching all of this. Perhaps a better question would be is if he felt a pit in his stomach watching it as many Bears’ fans did, knowing that Mitchell Trubisky has yet to have the consistency those players drafted below him in 2017 have had so far.
If you are to believe the comments made by the general manager at his end of the season news conference, he wouldn’t be fazed by it. Over and over, he said that the quicker track of Mahomes and Watson doesn’t affect his thinking on Trubisky, even if it does for those on the outside.
“I think it’s understanding they’re all different. Case by case, different backgrounds, scenarios, to situations they’re in,” said Pace when asked specifically about staying patient with the success of the aforementioned quarterbacks. ” I think you have to recognize that.”
Pace did by declaring that Trubisky will be his starter in 2020 but did say that they’ll be evaluating the position in the coming months while admitting a few times that consistency was an issue for the quarterback. That would be an accurate statement after the quarterback failed to find any of it during his third season in 2019 when most of his numbers went down and his rating was 83.
So like the Bears have many times in the post-Super Bowl XX era, it’s another winter of questions for the team about their signal caller. It’s become a very unwelcome refrain for a fanbase that will go at least 35 years without a championship.
Will Ryan Pace bring in true competition for Trubisky? Chase Daniel was there to help the growth of the quarterback as he transitioned to Nagy’s scheme, but his contract expires in March, so a backup is needed should he not return. Would the team make a bold play for competition by bringing in Teddy Bridgewater as his one-year deal expires in New Orleans, considering his success filling in for the injured Drew Brees in the first half of the 2019 season? Maybe another high profile back-up would be brought in to challenge as well.
Perhaps a quarterback will be there in the second round for the Bears to take since the Bears have two picks in that round this season.
All are on the table and all will be apart of conversations that once again continue about the Bears’ quarterback position for another offseason. Maybe drafting Mahomes or Watson would have finally quelled this long-running conversation in the franchise, but they had other business to take care of on Sunday.