Return of Mobile Mitchell Trubisky in Bears Win over Dallas
CHICAGO -- The Mitchell Trubisky of last season made an appearance Thursday at Soldier Field and ruined the night for his many detractors as well as the Dallas Cowboys.
Trubisky ran like he did last season for the first time all year, finishing with 63 yards rushing and a touchdown while also throwing for three touchdowns in the Bears' 31-24 victory over the Cowboys.
"I think it says we're resilient, stick together, believe in each other even when nobody else believes in us," Trubisky said. "That's a special group in that locker room.
"We want to keep this feeling going, focusing on the little things, focusing hard, sticking together, doing our jobs."
Trubisky completed 23 of 31 for 244 yards and had a passer rating of 115.5. He'd come in with a passer rating of 69.7 in his eight previous prime-time games.
"I think for me and this team I think it makes us hungrier and we continue to want that feeling week after week," Trubisky said.
Next week it will be Green Bay on the road, after the Bears (7-6) matched a season high in scoring and Trubisky tied his season high for TD passes against the NFC East-leading Cowboys (6-7) It helped the Bears climbed over .500 for the first time since they were 3-2. In winning their third straight, and fourth in five games, they pulled within 1 1/2 games of Minnesota in the wild card chase.
It came at a huge cost. They lost linebacker Roquan Smith on the first series to a pectoral muscle injury
"It could be a big loss," coach Matt Nagy said. "Because, again, the way that Roquan has been playing the last couple of weeks he's been making plays, flying around. You just love that confidence that he was bringing to the defense."
The defense relied on Kevin Pierre-Louis in Smith's place and barely lost a step. They gave up 334 yards passing and a touchdown to Dak Prescott, but 274 of the yards came in the second half with the Cowboys trying unsuccessfully to overcome 24-7 and 31-14 deficits.
The Bears played without Prince Amukamara at cornerback as well, and Kevin Toliver in his place.
"When you have a great supporting cast you just need to hone in on what you need to do, do your job, no drop off," Pierre-Louis said.
The defense got to play with a lead because of the much-maligned Trubisky, who kept the Dallas defense off balance the first half by moving all over in the pocket, and also by running it.
"It was very evident that he used them as a weapon," Nagy said of Trubisky's legs. "We saw some things that we liked in regard to the run scheme. Heck, whenever he's able to use his legs like that, he becomes another running back."
His biggest running play was a 23-yard TD scamper on a read-option right after Dallas had pulled back within 24-14 on the second of two Ezekiel Elliott TD runs. Trubisky capped a three-play, 60-yard TD drive to start the fourth quarter by making an open-field move and breaking one tackle to score.
"That's when football is fun, just moving the chains, playing good ball and we're going forward, playing smart," Trubisky said.
He threw an interception in the first quarter inside the Dallas 1, but rebounded in a big way. He completed passes to seven different receivers, including five for 48 yards and scores of 5 and 8 yards to Allen Robinson.
"I think we stayed ahead of the chains, we scored early, we were able to get the run game going," Robinson said. "All aspects of our offense were working today.
We were able to keep them off balance."
After Dallas scored on its opening drive with a 2-yard Ezekiel Elliott TD, Trubisky led drives to Robinson's TDs and Eddy Pineiro 36-yard field goal that made it 10-7.
"We had some adversity early on with that long drive and touchdown but no one flinched," Nagy said.
They had the ball to start the second half and Trubisky took them straight to another TD, a 14-yard wide receiver screen to Anthony Miller after he started 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Trubisky's TD run seemed to put it out of reach at 31-14, although Dallas scored some late points and had a field goal with eight seconds remaining. After the run, Miller charged up to his quarterback and was hollering at him.
"I was just telling him that, 'You're doin' it, man. You're running stuff. You're proving the doubters wrong,' " Miller said. "You know what I mean?
"We been rocking with him this whole time and finally everything is clicking, and you might see some people just try to jump on his bandwagon or something like that, but we know who's been there the whole time and who hasn't. You know, all we need is us and the people who been rocking with us."