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Mitchell Trubisky makes positive steps, still work in progress

CHICAGO – Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' record-setting performance to open the season raised the stakes for Chicago Bears second-year passer Mitchell Trubisky on Monday night.

Because, like it or not, Trubisky and Mahomes forever will be linked.

Top-10 picks in 2017 -- the Chiefs drafted Mahomes eight slots after the Bears took Trubisky second overall -- the two quarterbacks, by virtue of Matt Nagy leaving Kansas City in January to coach the Bears, play in almost identical offensive systems.

But whereas Mahomes, who backed up Alex Smith most of last year, has been a revelation with 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions through just two weeks, Trubisky’s ascension has been much slower.

Like in Week 1’s loss to Green Bay, Trubisky enjoyed some good moments in Chicago’s 24-17 victory over Seattle. Trubisky played arguably his best football in the first quarter, when he thoroughly outplayed Seattle’s Russell Wilson, posting a quarterback rating of 131.0.

Trubisky finished the game 25-of-34 for 200 yards, two touchdown passes and 24 rushing yards, as the Bears clinched Nagy’s first NFL head-coaching win.

“I thought his footwork was better today, not as much eyes at the line of scrimmage,” Nagy said. “He made some good runs. Had a couple scrambles. He had that one in the first or second quarter. That was nice.

“So I'll be anxious to go back and check the tape out and see progression-wise where he's at. And sometimes they are going to get you with some of their blitzes where you're hot and you've got to throw hot, so it looks like you're throwing quick or you're not protected. This is going to be fun, it really is, and I'm excited for our future together. I'm excited for this offense to continue figuring out how we build this identity. I think hopefully you're going to see that each game is going to subtly get better and better and then ultimately in the end we are just really rolling.”

Nagy’s film study no doubt will reveal that Trubisky was also inconsistent at times.

The 24-year-old quarterback tossed a pair of interceptions, failed to connect on deep balls with several open receivers and -- at times -- seemed a little too eager to bolt from the pocket.

All correctable mistakes, to be sure, but the Bears need better consistency from their quarterback, especially in a division with Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins.

On the bright side, the Bears play winless Arizona in Week 3.

But after the Cardinals, the Bears face the surprisingly undefeated Bucs and Dolphins, followed by a home date with the Patriots on Oct. 21.

At some point, the Bears are going to need the offense to win them games -- Chicago’s defense sacked Wilson six times and forced a pick six.

For the offense to win games, Trubisky has to grow up quickly in Nagy’s offense.

Trubisky isn’t a bust. He’s way too athletic and naturally gifted to fall into that dubious category. But Trubisky has yet to have the breakout game Chicago wants to see before it fully embraces him as a franchise quarterback.

The wait continues.