Three takeways from a mind-blowing 27-23 Bears' win over the Detroit Lions to open the season...
- The Bears finally figured it out.
Detroit was without three top-of-the-depth-chart cornerbacks (Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman) for most of Sunday’s game. Linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected after headbutting an official. A Lions’ defense Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy picked apart over the last few years was decimated.
But it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that this offense found its groove. Trubisky, after making things look difficult for most of the afternoon, suddenly led crisp touchdown drives, making good decisions and firing accurate passes. It finally looked like the Bears’ offense going against the Lions’ defense.
And look, while the first 45 minutes were awful and demoralizing – and led some folks to wonder if Nick Foles was warming up – leading a 17-point fourth quarter comeback on the road is an outstanding accomplishment for Trubisky. It doesn’t matter that the Lions’ sub-optimal defense was depleted. What matters is that Trubisky did it.
And he capped it with an absolute, 100 percent dime to Anthony Miller for the game-winning touchdown.
Does this mean the Bears’ offense is fixed? Not necessarily. We’ll see next week when the New York Giants come to Soldier Field. But plenty of credit does need to be given to Trubisky and Nagy for getting this thing done after it looked wildly improbable they would for most of the day.
- The defense, finally, comes through too.
The story of most of Sunday’s game was going to be Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell out-coaching Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Things looked easy for Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson, and the Bears lacked a game-wrecking play on defense.
But don’t sleep on this moment: Hicks sacked Stafford in the fourth quarter, pushing a Matt Prater field goal attempt back to 55 yards. Prater doinked it off the right upright, giving Trubisky a short field – which he turned into a touchdown in barely over a minute.
And then, finally, the game-shifting play happened when Kyle Fuller picked off a tipped, floating pass from Stafford. Trubisky turned that one into the game-winning score.
Also: Hey, sometimes you need some luck, too. What kind of fruit basket will the Bears’ defense be sending D’Andre Swift this week? Tropical? Seasonal?
- This isn’t “only” the Lions.
Detroit was a trendy pick from analytically-minded observers to not only win Sunday’s game, but win the NFC North. Sure, they were without star wideout Kenny Golladay and right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and had all those injuries/absences on defense. This was (and is) supposed to be a good team.
Maybe the Lions wind up being bad, as they’ve been with Matt Patricia as their head coach. But this is a tremendous win for the Bears given where they were after 45 minutes Sunday afternoon.
Next time, the Bears should avoid needing a 17-point comeback to win. Repeating the kind of first half they played won't fly as the season goes on.
But credit the Bears for pulling off an absolutely bonkers, crazy win.