DETROIT – The Bears continue to be one of the most glass half full, glass half empty teams we’ve ever seen.
With their 24-20 Thanksgiving Day, come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Lions, the Bears’ record is back at .500 (6-6) for the first time in six weeks, and this time they threw in some style points.
Mitch Trubisky made two costly mistakes, but other than that he played arguably his best game as a Bear.
It wasn’t only the impressive numbers Trubisky cobbled together – 29 of 38 passing (76.3%), 338, 3 TD’s, 1 interception and 118.1passer rating, he was in command of the offense all day long.
Let’s be clear, nobody is saying Trubisky arrived Thursday in Detroit, but what I am saying is for the fourth week in a row he took a step forward, this time it was a big one.
There is still much work to do. With 38 seconds to play in the first half, trailing, 17-7, the Bears had third-and-4 at the Lions 13. Trubisky scrambled to his left, running toward the sideline, ran through two different opportunities to go north and south and almost certainly convert the first down and was stopped for a 1-yard gain.
The Bears were forced to settle for a 30-yard Eddy Pineiro field goal and a 17-10 halftime deficit.
On their first possession of the second half, Trubisky marched the Bears 30 yards in five plays to the Detroit 33 where he tried to hit Allen Robinson on an 11-yard crossing route but threw it slightly behind his receiver, allowing Darius Slay to make the Lions one pick of the day.
But Trubisky never blinked. After another three-and-out courtesy of the Bears ‘D,’ he marched his team 80 yards in nine plays, ending with a perfect over the shoulder throw to rookie tight end Jesper Horsted for a 17-17 tie.
Anthony Miller also dialed up one major faux pas, but it didn’t stop him from easily having his best day as a pro – 9 catches for 130 yards, 15.6 yards-a-catch average, the longest catch of 35 yards.
None of his catches was more important than the 35-yard over the shoulder grab he made behind Justin Coleman on a perfect toss from Trubisky on third-and-4 from the Bears own 16 setting up the winning score.
Most of Miller’s production came in the second half after a second quarter screw up that might have gotten him benched if Taylor Gabriel wasn’t inactive.
With 8:13 to play in the second quarter and fourth-and-6 at the Lions’ 32, Bears coach Matt Nagy elected to pass on a 49-yard field goal attempt for Eddy Pineiro, called a timeout to make sure everything was perfect and Miller came out and lined up in an illegal formation as the Bears turned the ball over on downs.
Roquan Smith appeared to be everywhere Thursday piling up 15 tackles, 2 QB sacks and two tackles for loss. But in spite of all his game-changing plays, with 58 seconds to play and the Lions driving for what would be a winning touchdown, Smith chased down Lions RB Ty Johnson after a 7-yard gain and threw him down late out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty setting Detroit up at the Bears 27.
Two plays later, however, it was Smith who chased down Lions QB David Blough for his second sack and a 13-yard loss; effectively thwarting the Lions last gasp effort.
Unfortunately a number of other Bears had mental lapses, some stalling Bears’ drives and others extending the Lions’.
While almost everyone played better Sunday, the Bears committed several cardinal sins including a delay of game penalty at the Lions 2-yard line with 2:33 to play.
While they overcame that one with the game-winning Trubisky to David Montgomery throw on the next play, they were not able to overcome a number of the other nine penalties they drew for 84 more yards.
Make no mistake, this was a much more impressive win than the last one over the Lions or last Sunday’s Keystone Cops dance with the Giants, but by no means did it suggest this is a Bears team now ready to make a run.
There was a lot to like Thursday in Detroit, but there were also still far too many moments when they appeared to be a rudderless ship.
• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.