Even with the pressure mounting against him with each passing week, Mitch Trubisky showed everyone on Turkey Day that he hasn't allowed the criticism to ruffle his feathers.
Against one of the Chicago Bears' oldest rivals, Trubisky put together his best performance of the season, going 29 of 38 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in a road win over the Detroit Lions. Some had been heavily questioning the quarterback's ability under center, given how often he's been off this season. With his team in need of a crucial win, he was exceptional.
"A lot of players made a lot of plays but today was Mitch's day. It was his day. He did a lot of things today, in regard to making special throws at special times," Bears coach Matt Nagy said.
Indeed, the day Trubisky had is unlike any we've seen from the 25-year-old this season. Following a 57-yard punt return by receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to start the game, Trubisky led the way on a Bears TD drive, completing all four of his pass attempts, one of which went to wideout Allen Robinson from 10 yards out.
The next four Chicago drives only produced a 30-yard Eddy Pineiro field goal that closed the second quarter; still, Trubisky was a promising 17 of 24 for 100 yards and the TD with the Bears down 17-10. To begin the second half, a late Trubisky throw to Robinson on a crossing route at the line of scrimmage was picked off by Lions corner Darius Slay, a sequence that likely brought a collective sigh from the Chicago faithful.
The play and subsequent sideline conversation between Trubisky and Nagy evoked flashbacks of several poignant interactions the two have had, most notably in Week 11 when a hip injury forced Nagy to replace his QB1 with Chase Daniel late against the Rams. The two have demonstrated a high level of trust in one another, and Nagy's decision to stick with his starter resulted in a clutch victory.
"When teams play man, you need your players to make plays and that's really what happened today," Nagy said. "We had a quarterback that stepped up and made throws and gave our guys chances and then when the chance was there to make a play, they made plays. ... We finally had one of those games where everything felt good for the majority of it."
A Lions three-and-out following the pick gave the Bears a shot at redemption and they got it with a TD drive capped by a tough Trubisky throw to tight end Jesper Horsted. A Lions FG extended the lead to three in the fourth, putting the pressure back on Trubisky to deliver with 6:40 to go. And he would, finding running back David Montgomery on a three-yard pass that effectively put the win on ice.
"Very impressive. He showed a lot of poise. Mitch is a guy who studies a lot, he works very hard, so it doesn't surprise me when he accomplishes this," Montgomery said.
"We put ourselves in a good position to have another good game next week, so we just have to continue to stick together, just keep grinding, stick together, keep grinding, stay humble, work hard," Trubisky said. "Just proud of the guys. It's been a lot of fun, even the ups and downs this season. We've just got to enjoy this. Move on and keep getting better from here."