CHICAGO (AP) — Mitchell Trubisky got rock-star treatment from Chicago’s fans.
He displayed the skills that made him the No. 2 pick in the draft — and showed that he still has plenty of room to improve.
Trubisky wowed a thunderous crowd at times with his quickness and arm strength, only to throw an interception that sent the Bears to a 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was Monday night football. The crowd was electric. I’ve got to thank them for coming out and being loud and really supporting us.”
Trubisky got a big ovation as he trotted onto the field for the game’s first possession. The crowd roared and waved towels, some even rising to their feet.
It was a moment they had been waiting for since draft night, when the Bears made a bold move to trade up a spot with San Francisco and grab him with the No. 2 overall pick.
It was a moment, also, that wasn’t supposed to happen so soon.
Trubisky had just 13 starts at North Carolina in college, and the Bears wanted this to be sort of a redshirt season for their prized rookie.
Trubisky played well enough in the preseason to get the No. 2 quarterback job over Mark Sanchez. He also sparked a debate in Chicago over who should start — him or Mike Glennon.
Glennon got the initial nod, but with eight turnovers, he forced the Bears’ hand. They decided to make a change after a blowout loss at Green Bay on Sept. 28, and all eyes were on Trubisky in this one.
“He’s got what it takes,” coach John Fox said. “There’s no doubt in my mind. For a first game, I go back to watching guys like (Joe) Montana in their first game, so I’ve seen a few of them. I’m not making comparisons at this point, but he’s going to do nothing but get better.”
Facing an aggressive defense, he completed 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards with a touchdown. Though the numbers were far from spectacular, Trubisky provided some promising signs for a struggling franchise.
“He was calm, he was cool,” receiver Kendall Wright said. “We can’t put him in those positions. We had plenty of opportunities to win that game before the last few minutes. We had plenty of chances in that game to win it early on.”
He was able to keep plays going with his mobility and target receivers downfield, two things Glennon didn’t do. He had the crowd roaring when he converted the tying two-point run on an option pitch from Zach Miller after they connected on 20-yard TD pass that got deflected near the goal line by Minnesota’s Andrew Sendejo.
The one time he was sacked , Everson Griffen beat Charles Leno Jr. and came from the blind side. He stripped Trubisky, leading to a field goal for Minnesota.
The interception came after the Bears took over on their 10 with 2:32 left in the game. Trubisky tried to hit Miller on the run along the right sideline. Harrison Smith reached up and hauled it in.
The Vikings took over on the Chicago 28, and Kai Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
“That was basically me trying to do too much, trying to make a play when I just need to know the situation,” Trubisky said. “Throw the ball away and play another down. But I’ve got a lot of faith in my receivers out there, in Zach. I was just trying to do too much outside of what I need to do. Know the situation, it’s first down, throw that ball away and go play.”