CHICAGO — The first thing rookie Mitch Trubisky did entering the Bears' locker room Monday night was apologize to teammates for the 20-17 loss to Minnesota.
"Taking ownership," he said. "That's a quarterback's job."
This was not the debut a first-time starter wants amid all the hoopla and excitement shared by Bears' fans and teammates.
A strip sack and fumble in the second quarter, followed by an ill-timed interception late in the fourth, resulted in a pair of Minnesota field goals.
That's six points. The Bears lost by three.
Do the math. It stinks.
"A minus-two in turnover ratio. It came down to a field goal," coach John Fox said.
Trubisky had his moments rolling out, throwing deep and staying calm against one of the league's top defenses. But he also struggled at times.
He was 7 of 9 for 64 yards the first quarter, 2 of 8 for 25 yards in the second, 1 of 4 for 13 yards in the third period and 2 of 4 for 26 yards in the fourth.
His QB rating was a modest 60.1.
No reason for alarm, says coach Fox.
"He's got what it takes. There's no doubt in my mind," Fox said. "For a first game ... going back and having watched guys like (Joe) Montana in their first game — not to make any comparisons — he's going to do nothing but get better."
Punter Pat O'Donnell lobbed a 30-yard scoring pass to Benny Cunningham on a trick play and Trubisky later connected with Zach Miller on a 20-yard deflected touchdown pass, then ran it for the conversion.
"It was basically me trying to make a play on that interception when I should've thrown the ball away and play another down," Trubisky said. "I was trying to do too much."
The fact that he can will help the Bears more than hinder them in future games. They finally have a QB that's not one-dimensional, a statue minus the pigeons.
Fox said Trubisky has a "presence" that can be felt in the locker room, on the field, along the sideline, and players respond to it.
"He was calm. He was cool," said wide receiver Kendall Wright, who caught Trubisky's first two passes for 23 yards.
"I thought he was really good," Miller added. "He extended plays for us, made plays downfield, made plays with his legs, put us in position to win that game."
There was plenty of blame to go around.
The Bears had eight penalties, many of them pre-snap, and one of which erased Jordan Howard's 43-yard TD run.
"I'm trying to lead us by my presence and showing how much I love this game and how much I love this team," Trubisky said. "Hopefully, I can motivate guys to play harder.
"I'm trying to lift them up and make them better by the way I work and carry myself."
Give him time. Be patient. The future is bright and that's not a throwaway cliche.
"It was fun. It was Monday Night Football. The crowd was electric. I want to thank them for coming out and being loud and supporting us," Trubisky said.
"It's just the start. It can only get better. That has to be the mindset."
Forget the 1-4 record.
Enjoy the process and watch this kid develop.