After shaking off some bye-week rust in the first half, the Bears offense and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky looked back in form in the second half against the Dolphins on Sunday.
The Bears scored all their points in the final two quarters, but it wasn't enough, as they dropped their second game of the season to Miami, 31-28 in overtime.
Trubisky, who was coming off a career-high six-touchdown performance in Week 4 against the Buccaneers, and the rest of the offense struggled to find a rhythm in the first half. Chicago went three-and-out on its first drive and turned the ball over on downs on its second possession after running back Tarik Cohen was stopped on a fourth-and-short situation.
The Bears' next three drives didn't fare any better, ending in a punt and fumble, before running the clock down in their final drive of the half to head into the locker room.
Heading into the third quarter, though, something changed.
"I think for us it was just mindset and energy," Trubisky said. "Just coming out and being the offense we know we can be. … All 11 guys being on the same page, and that's the offense we expect to be and we've got to have that in the first half."
On the first play of the second half, Trubisky ran to his right and got loose for a 28-yard pick up. A pass interference call on the next play put the Bears within striking distance, and two plays later, Trubisky tossed a shovel pass to tight end Trey Burton, who dove across the goal line for Chicago's first score, knotting the game at 7-7.
The three-play, 75-yard drive was a stark difference from the offense's first-half performance.
"I feel like a lot of the time in the first half we were stopping ourselves," Trubisky said. "It was just a mindset, so everybody got on the same page, we came out with more energy and had that attitude that we were going to go down and score the ball."
The Bears scored touchdowns on each of their first three second-half possessions to take a 21-10 lead in a wild, back-and-forth game in Miami.
On Chicago's fourth drive, with the team looking to strike for a fourth time in the half, Trubisky misread a first-and-goal play, and Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald intercepted a pass intended for Bears tight end Ben Braunecker.
As he always has on mistakes, Trubisky accepted blame for the turnover.
"I thought the safety went with the over route," Trubisky said. ‘He made a good play. I lost (McDonald) when I was stepping up, and I forced one when I shouldn't have."
The interception was the only major flaw for the second-year quarterback who, finished the game 22-31 with 316 passing yards and 47 rushing yards.
After the Dolphins went down the field and scored to tie the game at 21-21, Trubisky bounced back and on the Bears' ensuing possession led an 11-play drive down the field that ended with a 28-yard strike to receiver Anthony Miller over the middle for a touchdown with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
"I think it was a great call by [Bears coach Matt Nagy]," Trubisky said. "They doubled [receiver Allen Robinson II]. They tried to drop a linebacker out on Anthony, and that's just not going to work, so he kind of turned him around, and I was able to put it in a spot where he can make a play, so it was just a great call, and all 11 guys doing their job, and that's exactly how it should look."
Ultimately the late-fourth quarter score proved to not be enough. The Dolphins evened things with a touchdown late in the fourth and kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to take the win.
Despite the loss, Trubisky showcased a leadership quality beyond his two years of NFL experience, noting that his halftime message to the team was to have the will to not be stopped.
"I just really wanted to see that look in everyone's eyes, that hunger that we can't be stopped as an offense when we get together and put our minds to it," Trubisky said. "We pulled it together in the second half, went down got the right mindset, all 11 guys on the same page executing,. And that's the offense we expect to be as the Chicago Bears, and it's just my job to make sure everyone's up, energized, everyone's locked in, doing their jobs, just got to get the guys going from the jump. We definitely got better in some areas, we just came out on the wrong side of it today."