Mitchell Trubisky’s return to Chicago’s starting lineup was a primetime flop. That won’t stop him from getting at least one more opportunity.
Coach Matt Nagy said Trubisky will make his second straight start when the Bears host the Detroit Lions on Sunday in a matchup of struggling teams.
“Yes,” Nagy said Wednesday. “Mitch is gonna start.”
Trubisky’s return to the lineup last weekend at Green Bay didn’t go as planned. He committed three turnovers in his first start since he was benched in Week 3 as the Bears lost 41-25 to the NFC North-leading Packers.
Nagy lit into Chicago (5-6) after its fifth straight loss, even calling out a defense that has carried the team in his three seasons. Trubisky said the team received the message “very well.”
“If you’re not coming in here with a chip on your shoulder, something is wrong and we gotta check you,” he said.
The Bears are on their longest losing streak since they dropped five in a row in 2017 — former coach John Fox’s final season. And beating Detroit seems like no sure thing, even though the Lions (4-7) just made sweeping changes. They fired general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia, and elevated offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to interim coach.
Chicago obviously has big issues of its own, starting with a broken offense that ranks among the NFL’s worst. And neither quarterback has played particularly well.
Trubisky has his lowest completion percentage (58.3) since the Bears drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2017. In five games and four starts, he has five interceptions, including two on Sunday night.
Foles has almost as many interceptions (eight) and touchdowns (10) in eight games and is 2-5 as Chicago’s starter. His injury late in a 19-13 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 16 created an opening.
Trubisky didn’t exactly make the most of his opportunity against Green Bay. Though he threw for three touchdowns, two came in the fourth quarter after the Packers led by 31.
His deep pass intended for a well-covered Darnell Mooney in the end zone with Chicago trailing 13-3 early in the second quarter got picked off by Darnell Savage, who had another interception in the third.
Za’Darius Smith also forced a fumble when he sacked Trubisky late in the half, possibly getting away with a facemask. And Preston Smith returned the ball 14 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-3.
“We have a play called that we wanted to take a shot on all week, I take the shot and the defense made a better play than we did. They intercepted the ball,” Trubisky said. “Later on in the game, we’re down by a couple scores, I tried taking another shot, ball doesn’t come out right. The ball doesn’t go where I want it to go and the defense makes another good play. And then we have the fumble, which is just harping on two hands on the ball in the pocket and protecting that football, so it’s definitely frustrating. But some plays, it just happens in football.”
Nagy declined to say who would have started if Foles was available. And he is not sure which quarterback runs the offense better.
“I think they both have their strengths, and that’s what we try to work off of, between both of those guys,” he said. “We’re trying to focus right now on our offense in general, just trying to get that thing up and running. I thought it was better last week. We just got behind so early that we got a little bit out of our game plan.”
The good news for Chicago is some of Trubisky’s best performances have come against Detroit.
He has four straight games with three touchdown passes facing the Lions, including a season-opening 27-23 victory. The Bears rallied from 17 down, with Trubisky throwing for three TDs in the fourth.
But two weeks later at Atlanta, he got benched. Foles took over, and the Bears wiped out a 16-point deficit in a 30-26 win. Trubisky’s only snap between then and the Green Bay game was against New Orleans in Week 8, when he injured his right shoulder on a short run.
NOTES: Foles practiced on a limited basis, while LB Khalil Mack (back) did not participate. DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring) and OL Charles Leno Jr. (toe) also sat out.