There was enough in the 60 minutes of football the Bears played Sunday in their 27-23 victory over the Lions to keep us talking, analyzing and guessing until well after they tee it up again next Sunday at Soldier Field against the Giants.
Perhaps most intriguingly in the end, the Bear that shone brightest of all was none other than the guy social media was ready to can by the end of the first half, starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
With his club trailing 23-6 at the end of the third quarter, Trubisky lit it up in the fourth, throwing three touchdown passes, rushing for 20 yards, and for the winning score, he dropped an absolute dime on Anthony Miller from 27 yards out that would have made Brady, Brees or Rodgers proud.
To be sure the Bears have much they’ll need to improve quickly if they are to be taken seriously this season.
They were only 2 for 11 on third down, Trubisky, Allen Robinson and newly arrived tight end Jimmy Graham were clearly out of sync in the first half, both the pass protection and pass rush were subpar almost all afternoon, and in the final two minutes of the first half, head coach Matt Nagy again stumbled badly with his clock management, turning what had been a hard fought defensive struggle for the first 28 minutes into what looked like a Lions route until Trubisky and company turned it around late.
On the plus side, the Bears running game was dominant from the opening kick, totaling 18-90 for 5.0 yards per carry in the first half and 28-149 for 5.3 on the day.
Once Robinson and Graham settled down, each had huge contributions, as did Anthony Miller, and rookie Darnell Mooney made his presence felt.
David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen were explosive out of the backfield, and Cordarrelle Patterson was the most dangerous player on the field all afternoon.
And with the game on the line and defeat seeming likely, the All Pros in the secondary, Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller, combined on the play that finally let the Bears put the game away.
It was, however, a blunder by Lions head coach Matt Patricia that kept the Bears alive.
With 4:08 to play and still leading 23-13, Patricia elected to try a 55-yard field goal with Matt Prater.
While Prater is normally money even from that far out, after he hit the left upright the Bears were in business at their own 45, and Trubisky needed just five plays to find Javon Wims in the end zone from a yard out to make it a 23-20 game with 3:03 to play, and all the Bears timeouts still in their pockets.
How good was Trubisky with the game on the line? Consider this fresh perspective from Graham.
“First off, unbelievable finish,” Graham said. “And then, you know, Mitch led us. He made some huge, huge throws, had some great moments. He’s pretty special. The kid wants it. The kid believes.
“There was never a moment on that sideline when he wasn’t being completely positive about what we could and what we were gonna do.”
Asked about the winning score and the club’s confidence in its quarterbac,k Miller chimed in after the game, “We knew we could do that. We always have confidence in Mitch.
“Like I said, we were just locked in, focused up, everybody just locked in to the details and we go to the ‘Dub.’ ”
Whether Sunday’s mixed bag in Detroit was enough to wake up the echoes of Club Dub and the 2018 season definitely remains to be seen, but asked how it felt to see the disco ball spinning again Trubisky offered with a shy grin, “It was lit, it was lit. We had a good time. We’ve got some new songs in there, we got it going, it feels good.”
In the end, the win over the Lions exposed as many blemishes as jewels on these 2020 Bears. There is much work to do, but they came home with a win and their arrow pointing up, and for one Sunday at least, that will have to be enough.
For at least one more week the biggest question of all will be has Trubisky arrived or just lived to fight another day?
There is hope and after Week 1 that’s not a bad place to be.