It was like something out of a bad dream.
Under duress from the Broncos pass rush, new Bears quarterback Mike Glennon sailed a pass badly into triple coverage, resulting in the Soldier Field crowd groaning as they watched what feels like an all-too familiar sight: The other team returning interceptions for touchdowns. Isn’t that what the Bears used to do?
I thought they traded the guy that threw all those picks, yeah?
That at least was the eruption of frustrated fans across the social media spectrum, watching the awkward, overpaid Glennon shamble back to the sidelines like a beaten dog. It was the third play of the damn game.
Glennon played into the 2nd quarter, as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was desperately trying to get something out of Glennon and the first team offense to finish positively on, but it never worked out. The quarterback who is apparently the unquestionable starter finished his night going 2/8 for 20 yards, and one interception returned for a touchdown. His passer rating was a Grossman-like 0.0.
(That sentence wounds me to type, as I loved Grossman, but he had games like that.)
To be fair to Glennon, the first-team Broncos defense is one of the best in the NFL, and ol’ Mike has barely played an NFL game since 2014, but good luck selling that to a horde of starving Bears fans who’ve endured Interception McGrump for 8 years, and are inherently distrusting of big-contract quarterbacks as it is.
After a small and forgettable series from Mark Sanchez (who received mock cheers as he took the field, simply for not being Mike Glennon), there was a very noticeable buzz as rookie Mitch Trubisky took the field for his NFL preseason debut.
He didn’t disappoint.
With no signs of nerves or discomfort, Trubisky seamlessly began his premiere starting 10/10, finishing 18/25 for 166 yds, 1 TD, and a rating of 103.1. Those numbers are a bit skewed, since there were a few dropped passes that hit guys in the hands, one of which would’ve been a touchdown, and yes, YES, YES I UNDERSTAND: This was against the 2nd/3rd/4th string Broncos in a meaningless exhibition contest.
…but if you were watching this, whether alone or at a crowded Chicago bar, you’d know this game had significant meaning.
Bears fans haven’t had a quarterback worth getting excited about since they traded for Cutler back in 2008, and even then there was tremendous hesitance to embrace the guy, months before he threw his first pick or showed the camera his trademark ambivalent grimace. Fans are dying to have optimism about the Bears, and no hope is more foreign to this franchise’s faithful than that for a rookie quarterback that could, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, be the long-awaited franchise quarterback the team hasn’t had since the first year of the Korean War.
Needless to say, as Trubisky handled his first NFL action with such poise, the reactions online were combinations of overjoyed, hilarious, and absurd:
To Glennon’s credit, he complimented Trubisky’s play and is at least saying the right things when faced with this decidedly awkward situation:
“We’re exactly one month out [from the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons]. For me, it’s just good to get back out playing. I got to get used to coming out as a starter and playing and being that guy. A couple more preseason games to tune this up and I’m confident we’ll do that.” – Mike Glennon
Fox stood behind him after the game as well, and Trubisky played down his performance very politically, but the levees are breaking down quickly, and considering how baldly the talent disparity was revealed last night between #8 and #10, it’s very hard to imagine a team with any sense of professionalism and competence starting Glennon going into week 1 if the entire preseason is made up of performances like last night.
Time, as always, will tell.
(…but seriously, start Trubisky please)