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 come-from-behind victory on Thanksgiving Day over the Detroit Lions, the Bears climbed back to .500 at 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 played arguably his best game as a Chicago Bear.
It wasn’t just the impressive numbers Trubisky cobbled together – 29-38, 76.3%, 338, 3 TD’s, 1 Int., 118.1 — 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, and 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 out 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 one-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 claim 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, culminating in 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 compiling easily his best day as a pro – nine catches for 140 yards, with a long of 35.
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 weren't inactive.
With 8:13 to play in the second quarter, facing fourth-and-6 at the Lions' 32, 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.
Also everywhere Thursday was Roquan Smith, who piled up 15 tackles, 2 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 seven-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, though, it was Smith who chased down 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.
Though they overcame that one with the game-winning Trubisky to David Montgomery toss 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.