The worst nightmare for Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace didn't come against the Kansas City Chiefs when the Bears were embarrassed 26-3 by Patrick Mahomes in Matt Nagy's worst defeat as coach.
It didn't come when Mahomes mocked the Bears and counted on his fingers to show everyone he was drafted 10th after a touchdown pass against Chicago.
It didn't even come Oct. 13, when the Chiefs and Mahomes lost to the Texans and Deshaun Watson, the other quarterback Pace passed on to trade up draft picks and take Mitchell Trubisky.
Instead, it comes this weekend when the Chiefs host the Texans again in a rematch of those two quarterbacks.
The last matchup of Watson and Mahomes was a regular-season game with not as much at stake and was played on a Sunday afternoon on regional television when Bears fans attention was still turned to their own team.
This time it's a playoff game with a 2:05 p.m. kickoff for all the football world to watch on national TV.
Perhaps somewhere there's a bunker where Pace can hide for three hours.
Maybe he could just go watch The Irishman on Netflix. That will take up a regular game along with overtime and postgame interviews.
Bears fans got active all over Twitter and other social media after this Chiefs-Texans playoff matchup became apparent last weekend.
How Pace could have looked at Trubisky, Mahomes and Watson, and arrived at the conclusion he wanted Trubisky escapes the comprehension of many Bears fans, not to mention most people who've watched a football thrown.
The first matchup this season didn't quite go the way one expects in a tantamount clash of superpowers. In fact, Mahomes threw three touchdown passes, just one interception while Watson threw two interceptions and only one touchdown pass and didn't complete a pass longer than 23 yards.
The Texans still won 31-24.
It is in this game and its verdict where Pace and the Bears can still find salvation.
The Texans won because they outrushed the Chiefs 192 yards to 53. They had 41 rushing attempts to only 11 by the Chiefs. They converted 5 of 12 third downs, 2 of 3 fourth downs, and held the ball for 39:48 to only 20:12 for the Chiefs.
So the hot-shot quarterback battle came down to who ran better and possessed the ball more. Carlos Hyde had 116 yards rushing and Duke Johnson 34 yards.
This type of production is still within the grasp of the Bears and Trubisky.
All they have to do is learn to run the ball again, instead of copying a wide-open Kansas City offensive style they are not equipped to imitate.
It comes down to Nagy realizing he's not in Kansas anymore, or Missouri anyway. He has to learn to coach his Bears team, not the team he wishes he had, the one with Mahomes at quarterback or the one that had Alex Smith at quarterback.
If the Bears start running the ball again, play to the strength of their defense, Trubisky can be the caretaker quarterback. He can be the manager of the offense.
His obvious shortcomings as a passer will not be as noticeable if David Montgomery is breaking tackles, or if Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen and Anthony Miller are catching short passes and getting yards after the catch.
It's up to Pace to get them more parts, a functional tight end and better offensive linemen for starters.
Then Nagy can coach Trubisky and a fully equipped offense, while the Bears defense can avoid playing from behind all the time and dominate again as in 2018.
If this happens, Trubisky doesn't need to be compared to Watson or Mahomes. Pace will not need to go into hiding every time Kansas City plays Houston, the Bears play Kansas City or the Bears play Houston.
Winning is the easiest way to shorten the memory of the harshest critics.