The last time the Bears visited Detroit last Nov. 28, Anthony Miller caught a 32-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky to set up the game-winning touchdown in an exciting comeback victory.
History repeated itself Sunday at Ford Field, as the two connected on a nearly identical 27-yard pass down the right sideline—only this time the play resulted in the go-ahead touchdown with 1:54 remaining as the Bears rallied for a stunning 27-23 win.
"It was actually the same exact route; we just dressed it up a little differently with formation and all that," Trubisky said. "It was the same end zone and the same side of the field, so it was kind of weird that that happened."
After the Bears were limited to a pair of Cairo Santos field goals through the first three quarters, the touchdown pass to Miller was Trubisky's third of the fourth period. Miller finished the game with four receptions for a team-high 76 yards.
"I trusted him," Trubisky said. "He kept telling me all game, 'Trust me, trust me, stick with me,' and I did. I just looked off the safety, put it in a place where he could make the play, and he made a phenomenal catch. A lot of credit goes to the O-line for just giving us time. But Anthony made a phenomenal catch. It was really similar to the one last year. It was kind of crazy."
Energy needed: With no fans in attendance due to COVID-19, Nagy said the Bears realized they had to create their own energy. And that's exactly what they did in the fourth quarter when Kyle Fuller intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass and returned it five yards to the Lions' 37, setting up Miller's TD.
Stafford's pass was deflected by Jaylon Johnson, the first rookie cornerback to start a season opener for the Bears since Walt Harris in 1996.
"We got that tipped ball and you just felt the energy go crazy on the sideline," Nagy said. "Well, that fed the offense. Now the offense felt it and they went out, and it's just contagious. You have to create an edge out there, you have to create your own."
The interception was the 19th of Fuller's career, tying him with former cornerback Nathan Vasher for 19th in Bears history.
Rare feat: With Sunday's win, Nagy improved to 5-0 against the Lions and 10-3 versus NFC North opponents in three seasons.
In the process, he became just the second Bears coach since George Halas retired after the 1967 season to win his first five games against an opponent. The only other Bears coach to accomplish that feat is Mike Ditka, with six victories over the Eagles from 1983-89.
Sack attack: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks recorded the Bears' only sack of the game, dropping Stafford for a nine-yard loss with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Matt Prater missed a 55-yard field goal attempt, keeping the Lions' lead at 23-13.
Hicks, who missed 11 games last season due to injuries, now has 25 sacks since signing with the Bears as a free agent in 2016.
Feeding Patterson: The Bears entered the season vowing to get the ball more to Cordarrelle Patterson on offense than last season when he had only 28 touches. On Sunday, the receiver-turned running back rushed for 19 yards on four carries and caught one pass for 12 yards. Patterson also averaged 36.7 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 45-yarder that set up the Bears' first touchdown.
On the shelf: Outside linebacker Robert Quinn did not play Sunday due to an ankle injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Barkevious Mingo, who registered four tackles and one quarterback hit.
All seven Bears players who were listed as questionable on the injury report were active for Sunday's game: Patterson (knee), outside linebacker Khalil Mack (knee), running back David Montgomery (groin), receiver Javon Wims (Achilles), right guard Germain Ifedi (triceps), tackle Jason Spriggs (knee) and nickel back Buster Skrine (finger).
Kicking it: Replacing the injured Eddy Piñeiro, Cairo Santos made all five kicks he attempted—field goals from 35 and 28 yards and three extra points.