Film study: the good and the bad from Mitch Trubisky


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Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Ethan K.

“Money” Mitch Trubisky was not dropping dimes like his nickname would infer on Sunday, December 11 in a close loss to the rival Baltimore Ravens. 

Despite the highlighted struggles, Trubisky is a capable starter when given the opportunity and, even in a performance that had many fans scratching their heads in frustration, showed flashes of the standout University of North Carolina quarterback taken second overall back in 2017.

For starters, late in the fourth quarter of the game, Trubisky heaved a pass deep to Diontae Johnson, who hauled it in for 37 yards. The throw, perfectly placed right into the hands of Johnson in double coverage, was vital in a late game drive to give the Steelers any chance at a triumph. 

On the same drive, Trubisky fired yet another throw into double coverage to tight end Pat Freiermuth, once again perfectly threading the needle for a beautiful touchdown, cutting the Ravens’ lead to just two. 

Throwing riskier passes is a common theme with Trubisky, and that is quite usual for great quarterbacks—the ability to fit the ball into tight windows and give targets more of a chance to make plays. However, elite quarterbacks find more success because these throws are a pedestrian occurrence in their careers, and not a rare and risky throw like they are for Trubisky, who is playing in a primarily short-play-based offense.

Look at Trubisky’s third interception against Baltimore. Johnson once again creates a good bit of separation from cornerback Marlon Humphrey, but safety Marcus Williams provides help over the top, making Trubisky’s accuracy crucial. He overthrows Johnson by almost two yards, giving his 5’10” receiver no chance at making a play on the ball. A good quarterback will make that throw and give his team the lead.

Plays like the third interception are the lowest of the former Tar Heel’s lows, but the problem again comes with inconsistency. 

Steelers fans have witnessed the superstar version of Trubisky, the quarterback that dropped a beautiful ball into the breadbasket of Johnson and gave rookie George Pickens the chance to do what he does best—high point the football and make an unbelievable contested catch. 

With that being said, there are the aforementioned struggles, forcing dangerous passes into tight coverage that Trubisky simply cannot make and not always making the best read, like seen in a second quarter interception intended for Freiermuth.

All in all, Trubisky’s performance against Baltimore was not nearly as poor as many critics have claimed it to be. 

While rookie QB Kenny Pickett is the clear future of the franchise, Trubisky has certainly shown flashes that, even without Pickett, the Steelers can succeed, as the stronger arm of Trubisky allowed for the Pittsburgh offense to create longer, more successful drives into opposition territory, even in the purgatory of an offensive system currently in place.