Trailing the Lions 23-6 entering the fourth quarter of Sunday's season opener in Detroit, the Bears staged a remarkable comeback, rallying for a thrilling 27-23 victory.
After a slow start, Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter—including two in a 1:04 span late in the game—to turn a 23-6 deficit into an improbable victory.
"I think it's important to understand that for all of us, these types of wins are the ones you remember," said coach Matt Nagy, "and they can really help you get the season going the right way."
Trubisky's 2-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham closed the gap to 23-13 early in the fourth quarter. After Matt Prater missed a 55-yard field-goal attempt off the right upright, Trubisky connected with Javon Wims for a 1-yard touchdown pass to narrow the margin to 23-20 with 2:58 remaining.
The Bears defense followed by generating its first takeaway of the game as rookie Jaylon Johnson deflected a third-down pass into the air that was intercepted by Kyle Fuller, who returned it five yards to the Lions' 37.
Two plays later, Trubisky lofted a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller down the right sideline to give the Bears their first lead of the game at 27-23 with 1:54 to play.
"I knew before the play even started that we had a great chance of making a big play," Miller said. "I knew I had to concentrate and just catch the ball and make a big play, so that's what happened."
The Lions had a chance to win in the waning seconds after reaching the Bears' 11. But rookie running back D'Andre Swift dropped a sure touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford in the left corner of the end zone with :06 remaining. Johnson then swatted away Stafford's final pass in the end zone as time expired.
"I saw that ball on the corner route go right in his hands," Nagy said. "For a second you could feel the whole sideline for Detroit just start jumping up and down going crazy. And then they started grabbing their heads because they saw him drop it, and we started cheering."
Trubisky and the Bears offense struggled through the first three quarters, mustering only a pair of Cairo Santos field goals from 35 and 28 yards. They failed to convert their first seven third-down opportunities for the first time since the 2017 season finale.
The Lions snapped a 6-6 tie by scoring 17 unanswered points from late in the first half through the end of the third quarter. But the Bears outscored Detroit 21-0 in the fourth period to register the scintillating victory.
Trubisky completed 20 of 36 passes for 242 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 104.2 passer rating. In the fourth quarter, he connected on 8 of 10 passes for 89 yards with three TDs and a 143.3 passer rating.
"Mitch led us," Graham said. "He made some huge, huge throws. had some great moments. He's pretty special. The kid wants it. The kid believes. There was never a moment on that sideline when he wasn't being completely positive about what we could and what we were going to do."
The Bears rushed for 149 yards and 28 carries, with David Montgomery gaining 64 yards on 13 attempts, Tarik Cohen rushing for 41 yards on seven carries and Cordarrelle Patterson running for 19 yards on four attempts. Trubisky added 26 yards on the ground on three attempts.
Stafford connected on 24 of 42 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 77.2 passer rating. Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries in his first game with the Lions.
With the victory, the Bears extended their winning streak over the Lions to five and snapped a six-game skid in season openers, registering a victory in their first contest for the first time since 2013.
The Lions have now lost 10 straight games and 13 of 14 since they started 2-0-1 last season.
"This win shows us a couple of things," Nagy said. "It shows that we can handle adversity as a team. It shows that we stick together, which we've already checked that one off; we did that last year. But it also shows that there's some things we need to get better at. So we're not going to let this win deodorize any of the stuff on offense, defense or special teams that wasn't good. That's why we have our good, bad and ugly video clip that we do on Tuesday morning that we'll show. And then we'll get better from it.
"But we're 1-0 right now. We appreciate that. We know that we've got a lot more to go. But it's hard to win in this league, so to be able to win right now it just really helps you for the future."
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Lions during the first game of the 2020 season in Detroit, Michigan.