CHICAGO — Even on the best day of his young career, after he’d just done something no quarterback in the NFL’s charter franchise had accomplished in over 65 years, Mitch Trubisky was most interested in deflecting praise.
After all, it was Trubisky who became the first Bears quarterback since Johnny Lujack in 1949 to toss six touchdowns in a game, but he found five different teammates in the end zone and was sacked only once while amassing a career-high 354 passing yards and 13.6 yards per attempt.
“Everything coach Nagy was calling was working, and we just kept rolling,” Trubisky said. “ ... When everyone is doing their job, it allows you as a quarterback to be focused and do your job.”
Tarik Cohen, whose job Sunday was turning a career-high 20 touches from scrimmage into 174 yards and a touchdown, called it being in the zone — his quarterback seemingly unable to error in the Bears’ 48-10 devastation of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Remember, Trubisky nearly tripped on C Cody Whitehair’s foot on his first touchdown, a career-long 49-yarder to Trey Burton on the opening series, before dropping a dime to his tight end who was running free thanks to a nasty double move on his man.
“Zoned out,” Cohen said. “Everything goes right for him today. Even if it’s a broken play, where he can scramble, just as you can see today. And still making passes downfield. When that all comes together, it’s like what happened today.”
Fittingly, the Bears were a perfect 4-of-4 in the red zone Sunday after converting just four of their 10 trips in the first three weeks, when there was almost as much consternation regarding Trubisky and the offense as celebrating a 2-1 start and the best playmaking defense in football.
And it all came together again on Trubisky’s third scoring strike, an RPO with built-in run and bubble screen options, where he used a pump fake to Cohen in the left flat to help Josh Bellamy uncover in the left corner of the end zone.
“It’s building plays off plays within this offense," Trubisky explained. "We practiced that all week. Everybody did a great job executing.”
In between those touchdowns, Trubisky found Allen Robinson with a gorgeous 14-yard scoring strike off a corner route, with the quarterback anticipating and uncoiling before the receiver had stuck his foot in the ground at the top of his stem.
“Great ball. Fantastic ball,” Robinson said.
But it also took a great route, and apparently a great play call since Jordan Howard was wide open on the opposite end of the field but not Trubisky’s first read on the throw.
On the six plays preceding the first Trubisky-to-Robinson scoring hookup of the season, Matt Nagy put on a play-calling clinic: Taylor Gabriel off left end for 10 yards. Cohen on two runs in the middle for six combined yards. Trubisky to Robinson in the right flat for nine yards, followed by Cohen bouncing an inside run to the right edge for 19 yards. Then, Gabriel back to the opposite end of the field to Gabriel for 10 yards and the punctuation mark to Robinson.
It was truly a dizzying display from Nagy and Trubisky of the Bears’ multiple offense and dangerous playmakers who'll maximize every inch of the field — yes, the deep part, too, where eight of Trubisky’s completions wound up, after only four did in the first three games combined.
“You put so much on a defense that they really have to pick their poison,” Robinson explained. “Do they want to stay simple and go with what they’re familiar with, and that kind of makes it more simple for us; or do they want to take the chance and try and go scheme for scheme, and I think that slows a defense down a lot when we’re out there.”
The Bucs’ defense was more than slowed down — it was completely discombobulated from the opening kickoff. Tampa has a bad ‘D,’ and the Bears must show it can do this to better units later in the season. Still, this was what Nagy promised his offense would start to look like once its identity was found and every cog in the machine was contributing.
“It’s amazing what can happen when you just go out there and just kind of cut it loose, and you don’t think too much,” Nagy said. “And that’s everybody. That’s not just the players but the coaches too. Just let’s go out there and have a little fun. We stretched the field today more than we have in the past, and it worked.”
It was amazing to watch Sunday. And even the great facilitator, Trubisky, took a minute to bask in the history.
“It feels good. It’s very humbling because you know the history of the Bears and how many great players have come through this organization. So for me, just trying to create your own legacy and then try to make a path. … It was a special day all the way around. I realize how special this organization is, and it’s awesome to make history and be a part of it.”