It's been a long way back from a difficult place for Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.After being benched in Week 3, Trubisky will start against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, Bears coach Matt Nagy said Friday.Trubisky took all the first-team snaps at practice this week but Nagy had stopped just short of designating him the starter, just in case Nick Foles was able to return from a hip and glute injury. But Foles was unable to practice again Friday and Nagy turned to Trubisky.“He's worked hard this time that he’s been the backup to be prepared for if and when this time comes, whether it's through performance or whether it's through availability or injury with Nick,” Nagy said.The Bears are trying to end a four-game losing streak, and they're more focused on that than their long-term future at quarterback.“As far as next week or following weeks, it's hard for me to predict that right now,” Nagy said.Foles is doubtful for the game and Nagy said it’s still possible Foles could be the backup. Tyler Bray is the other option.Trubisky suffered a right shoulder injury Nov. 1 against New Orleans while he ran on a zone-read, his only play since being benched against Atlanta in Week 3. Foles’ injury occurred on a sack in the fourth quarter of a 19-13 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 16.Nagy turned to Foles seeking a spark for his team’s offence, and Foles rallied Chicago from 16 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Atlanta after Trubisky was benched. But the Bears are 2-5 with Foles as the starter, averaging 16.7 points per game.Foles has completed 202 of 311 passes for 1,852 yards with 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He has a quarterback rating of 81.0.Trubisky is 51 of 86 for 560 yards with six touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 87.4.In his first media interview since the benching, Trubisky called the situation a total surprise, and said he was humbled by the experience as a backup. He'd been starting since Week 5 of his rookie year in 2017.“I think more than anything I was caught off guard,” Trubisky said. “I think in the beginning of the season I was just starting to build some momentum and then it kind of felt like a blind-side.“Then I decided to embrace the new role. And the first couple of days it (stunk) being in that role but I was trying to just keep perspective and think long-term.”Trubisky had led the Bears to wins in their first two games, including a rally from a 17-point deficit in Week 1 against Detroit.“I want to play in this league a long time and if I want to do that, there’s things I just want to continue to get better at," Trubisky said. "At that point I just changed my mindset to embrace practice. I was doing my job on the scout team, trying to give the defence a good look, taking a lot of pride into that.“I did feel during those weeks I got better as a player just testing different throws, leading the offence and seeing a lot of good looks from my defence.”Trubisky was the second pick of the 2017 draft and the Bears in May declined the fifth-year option on his contract, meaning he is slated to become a free agent after the season.The Packers have beaten the Bears in four of Trubisky's five starts.“They’ve thrown a lot of different stuff over the years, and that's kinda what we're expecting,” Trubisky said. “They're gonna try to confuse us on the back end, get after us up front with their rush and just try to confuse the quarterback and us on offence, play predominantly zone and make us find those windows and throw on time and just be very disciplined in our route running.”NOTES: Safety Eddie Jackson will be available for the Bears after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. He was reinstated to the roster on Friday. ... Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. are questionable after neither could practice Friday. Hicks has a right hamstring injury and hasn't practiced all week. Leno suffered a toe injury on Wednesday in practice and missed practice Thursday and Friday. ... Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling didn't practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Packers running back/kick returner Tyler Ervin (wrist/ribs), cornerbacks Josh Jackson (concussion) and Kevin King (Achilles), centre Corey Linsley (back) and receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) also are questionable.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLGene Chamberlain, The Associated Press
Trubisky was benched in Week 3, but Nick Foles suffered an injury in his last game.
As poorly as things have gone for the Chicago Bears over the last month, they have a chance to close November by getting right back in the thick of the NFC North race.If the Bears don’t capitalize on the opportunity, the Green Bay Packers will head into December well on their way to clinching a second straight division title.Chicago (5-5) has lost four straight and trails the Packers (7-3) by two games as the teams renew the NFL’s oldest rivalry Sunday night at Green Bay.“We’re fighters,” Bears running back David Montgomery said. “So if anybody’s counting us out, that’s fine. But we’re fighters, so we’re going to keep fighting.”The Packers have their own issues.After racing to a 4-0 start, the Packers have split their last six games. Green Bay has struggled lately at home with the pandemic preventing the Packers from allowing any fans to games.In their last two home games, the Packers lost 28-22 to the Minnesota Vikings and eked out a 24-20 victory over the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars. The Packers are back at Lambeau Field after blowing a two-touchdown halftime lead in a 34-31 overtime loss at Indianapolis.But the Packers still could gain a commanding three-game division lead by winning Sunday night in the first of two regular-season meetings between these teams. The Packers and Bears meet again Jan. 3 in Chicago to close the regular season.“We’re on Sunday night football, it’s the only game playing at that time, it’s a divisional rival against the Bears and it’s a huge game in our division,” Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark said. “If you’re not pumped up for this one, then I don’t know what to say to you.”This game features another quarterback change for the Bears.Mitchell Trubisky was benched in favour of Nick Foles during the Bears’ third game and later injured his right shoulder. Trubisky now will get another chance to lead the Bears' offence after Foles injured his hip and glute in the Bears’ last game, a 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 16.Bears coach Matt Nagy confirmed Friday that Trubisky will start. Nagy said it was too early to tell whether this move could last beyond this week and that he's focusing only on the Green Bay game for now.“Right now we're excited that Mitch is ready, and it's an opportunity for him," Nagy said. “I know for Nick, with him being doubtful and his not being able to be out here at practice, it's frustrating, but that's a part of this game, and he's been supportive with the other quarterbacks all week long.”THIRD-DOWN MATCHUPThe Packers rank among the NFL’s most efficient teams in third-down situations. They are converting on 47.9% of their third-down attempts. Only Las Vegas, Kansas City and Buffalo have better third-down percentages.Chicago is allowing its opponents to convert only 33.3%, giving the Bears the NFL’s best third-down defence. Packers coach Matt LaFleur says this will be the toughest defence Green Bay has faced.“Khalil Mack is a game wrecker,” LaFleur said. “You better know where he’s at on every snap because, you know, he’s got the ability just by himself to go wreck whatever you’re trying to do.”RODGERS REIGNS OVER BEARSWhile the Bears have an uncertain quarterback situation heading into Sunday’s game, they’ll have to beat a two-time MVP quarterback who has dominated this series throughout his career.Green Bay owns a 19-5 record against the Bears in games Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has started.SPECTATORS AT LAMBEAUThis will mark the Packers' first home game with any spectators at all.Packers officials have announced that team employees and their family members – about 500 people in all - will be in the stands to test out Lambeau Field COVID-19 protocols in case paying fans are allowed at home games later this season.MONTGOMERY’S RETURNMontgomery sat out one game with a concussion but is expected to play Sunday night. Montgomery has rushed for a team-high 472 yards on 131 carries.That’s a big addition for a team that severely lacks running back depth. Without Montgomery available, wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson had 12 of the Bears’ 17 carries in the Vikings game.BEARS’ RECORD RETURNERPatterson scored on a 104-yard kickoff return against the Vikings, enabling him to tie an NFL record with eight such touchdowns in his career. He shares the record with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington.Patterson, of course, can have the record all to himself if he scores on a kickoff return at Green Bay. The Packers have struggled on special teams lately, though their issues haven’t involved kickoff coverage. Darrius Shepherd fumbled on a kickoff return at Indianapolis. One week earlier, the Packers allowed Jacksonville’s Keelan Cole to score on a franchise-record 91-yard punt return.___AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLhttps://twitter.com/AP_NFLSteve Megargee, The Associated Press