CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears had no trouble stifling the New York Jets' anemic offense without injured pass-rusher Khalil Mack, but quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's accuracy remains a source of concern.
The Bears notched an important 24-10 win on Sunday. Coach Matt Nagy's team had to capitalize on facing the underwhelming Jets on the same day that NFC North rivals Green Bay, Minnesota and Detroit take on the Rams, Saints and Seahawks, respectively.
Beating the Jets not only puts the Bears' record (4-3) back above the .500 mark, but it also sets the stage for another winnable game next week at Buffalo.
The Bears will presumably be in the thick of the NFC North race when the calendar turns to November -- that hasn't happened since 2013.
The Bears entered Sunday's home game as heavy favorites, mainly because the Jets had next to nothing at their skill positions around rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.
Darnold predictably struggled against Chicago's defense, but New York trailed only 14-3 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Bears' inability to put away the Jets had everything to do with Trubisky and the offense.
"We wanted to stay aggressive and they were doing a good job stopping us in the first half but we also stopped ourselves a little bit there," Trubisky said. "We just needed to continue to get in into rhythm. We did a great job getting the running game going and I think O-line did a great job up front and I just need to be more consistent and finding completions and not trying to force a big play, just trying to move the ball and continue to convert on third downs. I think we can do better on third down today, but overall we just found a way and grinded it out and it was a lot better in the second half than the first one. We stuck together and stuck to the plan and executed our plays."
Trubisky found Tarik Cohen for a 70-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead, but the second-year quarterback finished the first half only 5-of-13 passing.
Trubisky failed to complete a pass 10-plus yards downfield in the opening 30 minutes, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He went 2-of-9 to close the half following the touchdown throw to Cohen.
Trubisky later threw a nice ball to Anthony Miller for a 4-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead, but his passes were often off-target.
The season is following a predictable script for Trubisky. When he's on, he's a dangerous dual threat. Trubisky, who rushed for 51 yards, may not have the league's strongest arm, but he can definitely make all the throws. Factor in Trubisky's way-above-average scrambling ability, and the Bears can legitimately say that they have a quarterback with whom they can win.
But when Trubisky is off, he's really off.
Last week, Trubisky missed 24 throws against New England. The Bears aren't going to defeat many playoff-caliber teams when their quarterback is 13-of-25 passing through three quarters.
The Bears did enough offensively to take care of the Jets, as expected. The next step is for Trubisky to string together four solid quarters. That hasn't happened since his six-touchdown-pass game against the Bucs on Sept. 30.
As Chicago's record continues to improve, Trubisky will be under more scrutiny each week.
How Trubisky responds to the pressure will determine whether the Bears can truly challenge for the postseason.
Right now, it looks 50-50.