You can exhale Bears fans; the Bears are finally in the win column. After an uneventful start to the game, the ending had all the drama: from a feeling of resignation to an 0-2 start to the euphoric game-winning 53-yard field goal by Eddie Pineiro.
As ugly as it was at times, this was no small obstacle that the Bears overcame.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Broncos owned a 13-game home winning streak in the month of September. In addition to playing in a very difficult place to win, Matt Nagy and the Bears offense were facing off against the coach who knows their offense better than anyone, former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Despite the challenges, the Bears still did not look like the team that has been hyped as a Superbowl contender.
The offensive line failed to create holes for the running game for most of the first half and quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggled with his accuracy once again. Conservative third down play calls allowed punter Pat O’Donnell to show off his leg with regularity, averaging 57.4 yards per punt. The Bears went into the half leading the game 6-3, but left fans clamoring for more offense.
After seeming like it would never happen, the Bears’ offense finally found the endzone in the third quarter.
Nagy got creative with the running game and the drive was sparked by runs of 46 yards by Cordarrelle Patterson and 14 yards by Taylor Gabriel, which led the Bears into the red zone. Rookie running back David Montgomery finally got the nose of the football across the goal line (barely) to give the Bears their first touchdown in over six quarters of the young season.
Kyle Fuller’s interception in the end zone had Bears fans feeling good, but the offense was unable to move the chains and continued to give Joe Flacco and the Broncos ample opportunities to tie the game.
Fangio had other plans
After Denver brought the game to within one point, chaos ensued.
Flacco and the offense attempt a two-point conversion and go for the win. An offensive penalty moved the ball back resulting in Fangio playing it safe, sending out the kicking team, and settling for overtime.
Brandon McManus missed the extra point wide right and it appeared the Bears would escape with the victory. However, Buster Skrine lined up offsides, giving Denver the yardage back they had lost and allowed them to bring the offense back out for a two-point attempt.
The successful conversion felt like a gut-punch for the Bears who were staring at an 0-2 start with Superbowl dreams slipping away.
With 31 seconds left and an unproven kicker, Trubisky and the Bears needed a miracle.
After ending up in a fourth-and-15 situation with minimal time left, Trubisky made the play of the year thus far. Needing time to allow his receivers to get past the chains, the Denver pass rush got to Trubisky and he showed his elusiveness in the pocket creating space and firing a dart over the middle to a wide-open Allen Robinson, who fell to the turf as time appeared to expire.
However, the Bears were able to call a timeout with one second remaining and set up a do-or-die 53-yard field goal attempt by Pineiro, who drilled it convincingly and sent the Bears to a 1-1 start.
While the win was exhilarating for Bears fans, there is still much concern surrounding the team’s offensive unit.
Trubisky has yet to play as the Bears had envisioned when they traded up to draft him second overall in 2017. If the Bears want to reach their ultimate goal, the offense will have to significantly improve, starting and ending with the signal caller.
This game was reminiscent of Week 3 a year ago when the Bears struggled to show signs of life on the road to a lowly Arizona Cardinals team but narrowly escaped with a victory. The following week, the Bears exploded for 48 points in a blowout win over Tampa Bay.
The Bears will look to repeat that as they square off against Washington on Monday Night Football next week.