LAKE FOREST – The exact same schedule from 2018 also features similar circumstances with different consequences along with reversed locations for the Bears’ signal caller.
In each season, the Bears suffered losses to the Packers in Week 1 that were painful in their own right. In 2018, Mitchell Trubisky’s offense was held to three points and blew a 20-0 halftime lead in a loss at Lambeau Field. In Week 15, the quarterback finished stronger in a victory over Green Bay that delivered the Bears an NFC North title.
Fast forward to 2019 where Trubisky endured a terrible game at home in Week 1 against the Packers in a 10-3 loss at Soldier Field. It started the path toward an inconsistent third season in the NFL that’s only begun to correct itself over the last month.
Whether the quarterback can save it in time will depend on what he does in this Week 15 match-up against the Packers which will be played this time at Lambeau Field. Trubisky will need to lead the Bears to this victory and two more, then get help if he hopes to make his second NFL playoff appearance.
Certainly, he’ll have to be better than he was in that Week 1 loss, when he was 26-of-45 for 228 yards with an interception and just a 62.1 quarterback rating. When talking to the media on Wednesday, Trubisky was adamant that he will be, pointing to one characteristic about himself that’s changed over the past three months.
“Mental toughness, the ability to block out things on the outside, overcoming adversity,” said Trubisky when asked how he’s changed since Week 1. “Obviously at the beginning of the season, with people talking on the outside and having to play through injuries and stuff.”
That was in Week 4 against the Vikings when he hurt his shoulder, and when he returned the team lost four of their next five games that nearly sent the season off the rails. But three-straight wins have started to turn the narrative just a bit, as the Bears find themselves with an outside chance to qualify for the playoffs if they can win out.
Trubisky has helped his own story for 2019 and maybe even his future as the Bears’ franchise quarterback over the last three weeks. He hasn’t been perfect, but his 860 yards passing with seven touchdowns compared to four interceptions hints at progress in an offense that’s now getting him out of the pocket where he performs at his best.
It all came together against the Cowboys, when he was 23-of-31 with 244 yards passing with three touchdowns compared to one interception with a quarterback rating of 115.5. He also rushed for 63 yards and a score – a welcome sight after not running much this season.
Usually, Trubisky dismisses the praise, stressing the need for continued improvement. But he did credit his teammates for continuing to have the faith, from those Week 1 struggles to this Sunday.
“Just coming closer together as a team; my teammates having my back, that really gives me the most confidence,” said Trubisky. “Just going out there the past couple weeks, putting the team in position to win, and it feels good when you win.”
Should he duplicate the result from Week 15 of 2018, he’s going to feel even better.