Chicago Bears Mitch Trubisky is the most important player in the NFL playoffs

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears looks for a receiver against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16: Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears looks for a receiver against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on December 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is not the most important player for the Chicago Bears‘ playoff run, he’s the most important player in all of the 2019 NFL playoffs.

If you’ve been following the national media regarding the Chicago Bears’ chances to succeed this post-season, it hasn’t been very reassuring.

Many analysts such as Fox’s Colin Cowherd, some of NFL Network’s GMFB crew, and former athletes like TJ Houshmandzadeh have expressed their disbelief in Chicago’s abilities to keep up with the other winning teams.

Now, they have a valid reason. One that every NFL pundit has used as an excuse for not buying into what clearly has been the most well-rounded team in the league- Mitch Trubisky. The second-year quarterback has seen growth in almost every facet of his game this year but has performed pedestrian in prime-time matchups, which is where many draw their opinions on players they don’t watch all year.

Against the Minnesota Vikings on a Monday night in week ten, Trubisky was picked off twice throwing for less than 200 yards. Three weeks later against the Los Angeles Rams, even more skeptics emerged as Trubisky’s three interceptions was only to be outdone by Jared Goff’s four. And week one’s Sunday night let-down against the Green Bay Packers did the young QB no favors either.

While it may be unfair to characterize Trubisky off a handful of games, the naysayers do have a point. In the big games, where everyone is watching, Trubisky hasn’t answered the call. Sunday’s Wild Card matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champions allows Mitch an opportunity to change the narrative.

If Trubisky performs well and proves that he can be a reason why Chicago wins instead of riding the coattails of a historic defense, the ramifications are immense. It would instill confidence not only to the media, not only to the fans but within the organization. This Bears bunch may not be short on confidence right now, but if Trubisky gets going, this team’s ceiling is truly immeasurable.

See the thing about this Chicago Bears team, is that unlike the other “hottest” teams in the league, Chicago is arguably the hottest team coming into the playoffs. Not only are they on the longest active win streak in the NFL with four, but they’ve also won nine out of the last ten. They’ve won eight games in a row with Trubisky under center and they’ve won convincingly with an average differential of 12.25 points during that span.

There’s been a lot of interesting discussion about the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys touting the best defenses coming into the playoffs. While we don’t need to debate which defense is better (because that argument almost appears laughable), it’s noteworthy to mention many believe that these defenses can carry “inferior quarterbacks” further in the playoffs while Chicago’s cannot.

Not only does this belief undermine what the Chicago defense has done this season, it disregards Trubisky’s effectiveness. In Trubisky’s last three games, he threw for 644 yards with three TDs no interceptions. In this stretch to close out the season, he completed 75.6% of his passes with an average passer rating of 106.6.

We’ve seen Trubisky improve so many varying aspects of his game. Early in the season, he had an issue with trusting his receivers and throwing the ball downfield. That was remedied with a breakout outing against Tampa Bay.

His next issue was his reliance on his legs. After running the ball ten times in the primetime game against Minnesota that injured his shoulder, Trubisky amassed 17 total rushes the remainder of the season. This stretch also allowed Trubisky to improve his pocket passing.

The last part that everyone then questioned was Trubisky’s consistency. The most important characteristic of an NFL quarterback. After returning from the shoulder injury and underperforming against the Rams, Trubisky put on the most consistent string of QB performances Chicago has seen.

Trubisky’s next task is to demonstrate that he can do one of the last things his skeptics have. Everyone knows he’s a great leader in the locker room. Everyone knows he can make throws on the run, that he’s athletic, can make defenders miss with his feet. Everyone wants to know if Mitch Trubisky can now take the next step to stardom which means he has to perform under the lights. The best quarterbacks in this league do.

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Every other team in the playoffs have clear limitations much different from the Bears. The Houston Texans have a very poor offensive line that gets Deshaun Watson hit every play. The Indianapolis Colts rely almost entirely on Andrew Luck. The Kansas Chiefs may be bringing in the worst defense. The Los Angeles Rams have had their confidence shaken in recent weeks.

The Chicago Bears only have one question mark. Just one. Mitchell Trubisky. He can be the reason this team goes one and done, or the reason they go to Atlanta come February. No other team has a player with that kind of impact outside of maybe Dak Prescott in Dallas, for very similar reasons.

With the most ferocious defense in the NFL, a quality offensive line, the probable head coach of the year and an energetic offensive supporting cast; this is his time. Mitch Trubisky has the roster to contend for the Super Bowl. How will he rewrite the narrative of the 2018-19 Chicago Bears?