For one drive, the Bears' first possession of the second half, it looked like quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense were clicking.
Trubisky completed 7 of 9 passes for 66 yards, finishing things off with a 14-yard touchdown to Tarik Cohen. After suffering a right hip injury at the end of the first half, Trubisky felt optimistic that he could power through the pain and finish the game on his terms.
"That definitely gave me some confidence," said Trubisky. "The O-line did a great job just allowing me to sit back there. I didn't really have to move around on that drive, just dink-and-dunked down the field. Receivers got open."
However, when Trubisky next took the field, things looked different. His hip started to worsen, affecting the quarterback's technique and leading to four straight punts. Coach Matt Nagy saw a change in the way Trubisky was throwing the ball.
"I think I noticed a little bit throwing to the left," said Nagy, "like with his hip when he was trying to open his hip to throw. That's when you could feel it, and he ended up with what we felt – and I think what you're going to see – is he started throwing with all arms and not a lot of legs. And, you torque with your hips, and that's what we felt."
The pain increased, and Trubisky felt his effectiveness slipping as drive after drive stalled with the Bears trailing by three. Deprived of his mobility, Trubisky struggled to buy time outside the pocket, as he had been able to do at times in the first half.
"I was just trying to keep it loose for the second half and make plays for my team," said Trubisky. "It just kept getting tighter and tighter in the hip region. I just couldn't move around like I wanted to, just throwing with a lot of arm. I was trying to make plays and stay on the field and fight through."
After a pass to Taylor Gabriel fell incomplete on third-and-one in the fourth quarter, Nagy decided it was time to have a frank discussion with Trubisky about the state of the quarterback's body. The television cameras caught Nagy huddled close to Trubisky, with the quarterback wearing a devastated expression on his face.
Trubisky said that he didn't remember much about the exchange, being overwhelmed with disappointment at the time and struggling to acknowledge the severity of the situation. Trubisky missed most of two games earlier in the season after a shoulder injury.
"It was very difficult," said Trubisky. "I really wasn't saying much. They just decided, the shape I was in, I just couldn't help the team the way I wanted to, so it's super disappointing. Just gotta see where it is, monitor it the next couple days. Hopefully, it doesn't prevent me from being out next week."
While Nagy decided to hold Trubisky out for the Bears' last drive, down 10 with under four minutes to go, the coach praised his quarterback's determination.
"I just appreciate Mitch's toughness," said Nagy. "You appreciate that. The kid did not want to come out, but at the same time, we had to know exactly what was going on."
Trubisky agreed with Nagy's assessment, disappointing though it may be. He expressed a desire to work through his injury and fight through the final six games of the season.
"If you're not 100 percent, you can't help the team," said Trubisky. "I'm not doing the team any favors if I'm not able to run around or throw the ball with accuracy because I'm throwing with all arm. You've got to be smart with that factor, but I'm going to fight as long as I can to try to be out there with my guys."