Things looked bleak for the Bears when they entered the fourth quarter of Sunday's season opener in Detroit trailing the Lions 23-6.
Their offense had failed to get into the end zone and their normally stout defense had allowed two touchdowns and one field goal on three possessions bridging the second and third periods.
But just when it seemed that the Bears would be returning home with a discouraging loss, they staged an improbable comeback. The defense stiffened and Mitchell Trubisky threw three touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham, Javon Wims and Anthony Miller, turning a 17-point deficit into an improbable 27-23 victory.
"I believe the whole team just had fortitude," said Miller, whose 27-yard touchdown reception from Trubisky with 1:54 remaining proved to be the game-winner. "Nobody panicked. Everybody was still locked in, you know what I mean? We had a goal to achieve and that was to get the 'W,' and we weren't leaving without it. So we locked in, got right in the second half and made a great comeback."
Even though the Bears were struggling to sustain drives—they failed to convert their first seven third-down opportunities and finished just 2-of-11 for the game—their receivers stayed positive.
"What I love about our guys and our team, and me being around more the offensive guys during the game, is they're coming over to me and they're telling me, 'I can beat this guy, I can beat that guy,'" said coach Matt Nagy.
"When you have that input and you have that confidence from your players, you love that as a coach. Anthony Miller, Allen Robinson, all the other wide receivers that were over there, they really liked their matchups. And then of course, you've got to make the throw.
"I just appreciate their willingness to keep fighting. No one ever had their head down. They didn't care about the score. They just knew they wanted an opportunity to get the ball. And then when you get that opportunity, you've got to make the most of it. They did that. Mitch made the throws, three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But when we needed it most, the guys stepped up. Sometimes that's how you win, and we did that today."
“We had a goal to achieve and that was to get the ‘W,’ and we weren’t leaving without it.” Bears receiver Anthony Miller
With no fans in the stands due to COVID-19, the Bears had to generate their own momentum on the field and sideline.
"You've got to create your own energy for your team and for your offense, and I think our playmakers did that in the second half," Trubisky said. "We just gave them opportunities, and they went up and made the plays, and we stuck together. I'm really proud of the team; the way we battled, the way we came back. I think it says a lot about our character and how we just never gave up on each other."
Even when the Bears were trailing by 17 points, no one on their sideline was ready to tap out.
"Guys had positive energy," said Wims, whose 1-yard touchdown reception from Trubisky closed the gap to 23-20 with 2:58 remaining. "Nobody was down. Nobody was like, 'Oh, we lost this game.' Football is about momentum swings and we felt like we took their best shot and now we were going to give our best shot. Everybody was just ready to make the play to get the ball rolling."
After completing 12 of 26 passes for 153 yards and a 65.1 passer rating through the first three quarters, Trubisky connected on 8 of 10 passes for 89 yards with three touchdowns and a 143.3 rating in the fourth period.
"We just had a mentality on the sidelines," Trubisky said. "We got together as an offense and we knew we weren't out of it once we were down by 17. We just wanted one play at a time. [We were thinking], 'We don't have to do anything crazy. We're still in it. Let's stick to what we do. Let's find completions. Let's go out there, play our game. Let's take it one play at a time.'
"I think when we started to get in a rhythm, you start to not think and play fast. I think that's when things started to roll for us in the second half."
Bears players weren't surprised with the resiliency the club showed during Sunday's stirring fourth-quarter comeback.
"That's the type of team we've got," Wims said. "We're not going to lay down. We're all fighters. We all believe in one another and we trust our brother to make a play, so that energy on the sideline was electric."