The Bears battled Tom Brady and the Patriots toe-to-toe in an entertaining seesaw shootout Sunday at Soldier Field before ultimately coming up a yard short.
In a game that featured 69 points, 834 total yards and four lead changes, the Patriots held on for a 38-31 win when they tackled Kevin White at the 1-yard line immediately after the Bears receiver hauled in a Mitchell Trubisky Hail Mary pass as time expired.
The two teams traded punches Sunday. The Bears led 17-7, trailed 21-17, regained a 24-21 lead and then fell behind 38-24 before nearly forcing overtime. Both teams scored 17 unanswered points at different points in the back-and-forth contest.
"We could have played better in a lot of different areas throughout," said coach Matt Nagy. "Give credit to the Patriots for playing a great game. They've got great players, great coaches, and it just goes to show you that we've got a ways to go with where we're at. We fought until the end, which I do like, but we've got a lot of things to fix, and we'll certainly get to that."
With their second straight loss, the Bears (3-3) fell out of first place in the NFC North behind the Vikings (4-2-1), who beat the Jets, and the Packers (3-2-1), who are off this week. They are now tied for third place with the Lions (3-3), who beat the Dolphins.
Trubisky completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 69.8 passer rating. He also showed his athleticism by rushing for a game-high 81 yards and one touchdown on six carries.
"He's a playmaker," said receiver Taylor Gabriel. "A guy that wanted to win. You can see that out of him. He's the leader of this team and I would go to battle with Mitch any day."
Playing without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski, who did not travel to Chicago, Brady connected on 25 of 36 passes for 277 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and a 108.2 rating. James White caught eight passes for 57 yards and two TDs, while Josh Gordon had four receptions for 100 yards.
"It's just a good team," said cornerback Kyle Fuller. "In games like this, your room for error is slim in all phases. No matter what we did good, there are still a couple things that we have to clean up against a team like that."
The Bears turned a 7-0 deficit into a 17-7 second-quarter lead by converting two takeaways into touchdowns. Nick Kwiatkoski punched the ball away from kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson and DeAndre Houston-Carson recovered at the Patriots' 24.
On third-and-five from the eight, Trubisky rolled to his right, sprinted back to his left and followed offensive linemen Charles Leno Jr. and Cody Whitehair into the end zone for a 8-yard TD run, giving the Bears a 10-7 lead.
Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols followed by twisting running back Sony Michel to the ground, forcing and recovering a fumble at the Patriots' 36 in the process. Michel sustained a knee injury on the play that forced him to exit the game.
The Bears capitalized on the takeaway by extending their lead to 17-7 on Jordan Howard's 2-yard touchdown run. Trubisky's 17-yard pass to Burton on fourth-and-four from the New England 30 extended the drive.
The Patriots countered by scoring 14 points to retake a 21-17 halftime lead. Patterson made amends for his fumble with a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown to close the gap to 17-14, and Brady followed with a 5-yard TD pass to White.
Early in the third quarter, Trubisky's nifty 39-yard scramble to the Patriots' 1 set up his 6-yard TD pass to Cohen that gave the Bears a 24-21 lead.
But the Patriots took control by scoring the next 17 points, taking a lead they would not relinquish at 31-24 when Dont'a Hightower blocked a Pat O'Donnell punt and Kyle Van Noy returned it 29 yards for a touchdown.
The Bears rallied as Fuller intercepted a deflected pass at the Chicago 37, setting up Trubisky's 11-yard TD pass to Burton, which cut the deficit to 38-31 with 4:13 left.
The Bears eventually got the ball back at their own 20 with :24 to play and no timeouts remaining. They reached their own 45 with :02 remaining. But Trubisky's Hail Mary into the wind was caught by White a yard short of the goal line as time expired.