According to Chicago Sun-Times staffer Mark Potash, Packer cornerback Tramon Williams’ jab at Mitchell Trubisky
and the Bears after the Packers’ opening-week 10-3 victory at Soldier Field is worth revisiting as the two teams prepare to go at it again tomorrow.
“We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback,” Williams said. ‘‘We knew they had a lot of weapons. We knew they were dangerous. But we knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback that we’d have a chance.”
The Packers indeed took away the Bears’ running game and took away Trubisky’s running game to force him to make plays in the passing game, and he came up way short. Trubisky completed 26 of 45 passes for 228 yards and no touchdowns and threw a crushing end-zone interception to former Bear Adrian Amos for a 62.1 passer rating.
Trubisky said he had not heard about Williams’ analysis — until it was brought up Wednesday at Halas Hall.
“I got enough motivation from the outside, and I guess that’s even more motivation,” Trubisky said. “I didn’t hear that. I don’t really care.”
Rather than fire back, Trubisky tacitly acknowledged that the truth hurts.
“I didn’t play the way I wanted to [in] the first game — that’s fairly obvious,” he said. “So for him to say something about it — I mean, that’s just an obvious statement, I guess. I want to play better. Got a great opportunity to do that this week.”
Tomorrow, the Bears obviously hope to show Williams and his teammates a better quarterback and a more proficient offense at Lambeau Field.
After muddling through most of the season as other opponents applied the Packers’ strategy against Trubisky, the Bears’ offense has shown signs of getting it together. Trubisky threw for 338 yards, three touchdowns and a 118.1 rating in a victory over the Lions on Thanksgiving.
He backed that up against the Cowboys’ ninth-ranked defense
with three more touchdown passes, a 115.5 rating and 63 rushing yards in a 31-24 victory last week.
Just as the offensive malaise was not totally on Trubisky, the recent renaissance is a team effort. The Bears’ offensive line is playing better. The running game is better. And, not coincidentally, Trubisky’s game has flourished. He was sacked five times against the Packers in Week 1. He has been sacked five times in the last three games — victories over the Giants, Lions and Cowboys.
“We’re kind of in a rhythm now; we’re a different team,” Trubisky said. “There were some things we had to go through in the first game and the beginning of the season that just didn’t go our way. And there’s things we learned from as an offense.
“I just feel like we have a newfound identity of what we want to do, and everybody is really locked in to what they have to do.”
Fantasy owners should be paying attention.
As ESPN's Mike Clay notes, Trubisky has now produced at least 18 fantasy points in six of 12 games this season, including four of his past five. Of course, Trubisky has also finished the other six weeks outside the top 21 in fantasy points at the position.
His improved production is enough to put him back in the weekly streaming discussion, but Clay believes we should remain leery of his league-worst 9.6 yards per completion rate and extremely poor 6.2 yards per attempt.
Also worth noting here, the Packers defense looked a lot different back in Week 1. As FantasyPros' Mike Tagliere reminded readers, the Packers were a tough defense the first three weeks, but as time has gone on, they’ve started to show some weakness.
Over their last 10 games, they’ve allowed 274.8 passing yards and 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. That’s despite their opponents averaging just 32.5 attempts per game.
Tagliere explained, "The issue is that if Trubisky has another one of his bad days through the air, the Packers have been the best in football when it comes to limiting quarterbacks on the ground, allowing a league-low 2.78 yards per carry to them."
Trubisky remains a viable albeit not a high-end end fantasy option.