In the moment, it seemed like a minor misfire, a hiccup in the middle of an impressive first quarter. The Bears offense was rolling Sunday night. Eighty-six-yard touchdown drive on the opening series of the season. Now 65 yards in six plays, setting up second-and-goal from the Packers 3.
The Bears, last-place finishers for four straight seasons, were on the verge of taking a two-touchdown lead over the Packers on their home turf.
From under center, Trubisky takes a snap and drops back. Wide receiver Allen Robinson jukes Kevin King and slips free.
Trubisky hitches as Robinson breaks open into the back right corner of the end zone. Then the Bears quarterback throws high and hard and over his target.
In the moment, it seemed like an unfortunate miss. But Trubisky had hit his first seven passes of the night, and the Bears still had third-and-goal from the 3. Far from catastrophic.
Still, this is how NFL games are won. Or lost, as the case sometimes may be.
This was a Pro Bowl receiver open in the end zone and a quarterback touted for his accuracy needing only proper touch and precision to capitalize.
Instead, Trubisky's pass sailed high and short-hopped the padded wall at Lambeau Field.
The Bears lost 5 yards on the next play and settled for a field goal.
Later, their 20-point lead evaporated in a dizzying 24-23 loss full of moments like this. Moments that could have changed not only the result of the season opener, but the football conversation in the city and the prevailing mood at Halas Hall heading into Week 2.
In the moment, Trubisky's throw seemed errant. Yet it was fair to wonder whether anything had disrupted the quarterback's rhythm. Maybe a route imperfection? Or a slight timing glitch?
Matt Nagy's Monday morning review: "Just keep it in bounds and let him go make a play. We always talk about how there never has been a putt made in the history of the PGA Tour that has been short. You have to give him a chance, right? (Mitch) knows that. You have a receiver who's one of the best guys in the league in the red zone. Give him an opportunity and he'll make a play."
Added quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone: "It's a timing throw. You're obviously inside the 5-yard line. That ball needs to get up and down in a decent hurry. Allen ran a great route. I'm sure if you asked Mitchell, it's one of the throws he'd like to have back."
That settles it then. Just a misfire, a moment Trubisky will beat himself up over. It's also a moment the young quarterback eventually will have to capitalize on, and frequently, to turn gut-wrenching losses into spirit-lifting wins.
* * * *
In the moment it seemed like a shot of desperation. The Packers offense needed life. Through the better part of three quarters, they had been locked up by a feisty Bears defense. Seven full possessions to that point, only one field goal to show for it. And even that was trumped by a sloppy pick-six backup quarterback DeShone Kizer threw.
So here now is Aaron Rodgers, just 11-for-17 for 74 yards when the fourth quarter began. Playing on a shaky left knee. In a 20-3 deficit in an anxious stadium where the home crowd had booed the Packers off the field at halftime.
Second-and-2. Ball at the Bears 39, 14:06 to play. Why not take a shot?
Down the right sideline, third-year receiver Geronimo Allison is racing Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller. Allison gets a half-step. Bears defensive coaches would prefer Fuller stay on top of the route and don't love that he's trailing Allison. Still, the veteran cornerback is tight enough to smell Allison's breath, in position to contest a throw.
But Rodgers, with his cannon arm and unwavering belief in his talent, launches a ball into a window the size of a curbside mailbox. Somehow, it drops right into Allison's arms in the back corner of the end zone.
"Perfect ball," Allison says later. "Perfect catch. Touchdown."
Hope surges through Lambeau Field. Suddenly, there's a spark that feels like an explosion and makes a 10-point fourth quarter deficit seem like little more than a minor inconvenience.
This is a two-time MVP doing what two-time MVPs do — rescuing his team. A clutch touchdown pass. A catalyst for a fourth quarter in which he would throw for 212 yards with three touchdowns.
"Aaron Rodgers was remarkable," coach Mike McCarthy says when the night is over. "I can't tell you how proud I am of him."
This is how NFL games are won.
* * * *
In a game that featured 125 plays that produced a hundred talking points, these were only two moments. But wasn't this the perfect snapshot of what separates these two teams?
One quarterback, in his second year and making his 13th start, missed on an easy pitch-and-catch with his team less than 10 feet from the goal line. The other quarterback, closing in on 40,000 career passing yards and chasing his seventh Pro Bowl invitation, launched a bomb from near the "G" at midfield and put it on the money where only his receiver could snag it.
On a night when the Bears clearly showed they are ready to close the gap in the NFC North, the Packers offered a reminder of why they rarely miss the postseason. They have been to the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons, in fact.
Last season was the outlier, the year in which they finished below .500 for the first time since 2008, but only after Rodgers missed more than half the year with a broken collarbone.
Rodgers heard his home crowd roar when he came back out of the tunnel after halftime, no longer on a cart and determined to get back in the game after leaving with his knee injury.
His thoughts immediately went to where his thoughts go: "At that point, I said, 'We might as well win this thing.'"
Trubisky? While still digesting his ninth loss in 13 NFL starts, he was asked if he could appreciate the brilliance Rodgers had showed in leading his team's comeback. The Bears quarterback nodded.
"Yeah," he said. "Absolutely. I know how tough this game is. I don't even know what type of injury he had. But he came back into the game and it seemed like he was just wobbling around, throwing on one leg and able to find completions — just get the ball to your playmakers and give your guys a chance. That's something he did really well and something I have to do better."
The bar was set years ago. The quest to clear it continues. The moments to achieve excellence will keep coming.