Bernstein: What The Hell Did The Bears Just Do?

Mitchell Trubisky led the Bears to a stunning 27-23 comeback win against the Lions.
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(670 The Score) Making sense of what just happened in Detroit will take some time, but for the purposes of this particular weekly endeavor, we don't have it.

All of the anticipation of the 2020 NFL season built up to this opening game like a crackling static charge, without the long summer of exhibition games to give it its usual slow release. And it was a nightmare until it was something impossibly giddy, if not exactly pretty. But the clock hit zeroes with the scoreboard saying Bears 27, Lions 23 -- no matter how many times we want to blink. Best to just hurry to the plane and get home before it changes somehow.

Because it may be the most telling way to illustrate what a whipsaw that was, you need to know what the headline of this was going to be as recently as the moment in the fourth quarter when a Mitchell Trubisky sack/fumble after both a terrible pass and a delay-of-game penalty had the Bears punting on fourth-and-41, down by 10 points on the road to a team they expected to continue to beat as they have so often, with their handpicked quarterback struggling to hit open receivers and convert third downs:

"Bears' Opening Disaster Calls Everything Into Question​," it read, before we swapped it out for at least a neutral placeholder, one that eventually became what's above.

That's because the Bears were down 23-6 early in the fourth quarter and had given no reason for anyone to trust that anything had changed from last season. The offense that added every available football mind in the meantime and traded for Nick Foles to challenge for alpha leadership was no different than it had been, the same at it ever was under Matt Nagy. We were kicking ourselves for even giving the benefit of the doubt to coaches and executives who continued to insist they are improving every day and looking good in practice, waiting for a Monday of vitriol and recrimination that's all too familiar and now masochistically satisfying, in a perfunctory way.

And then Trubisky started playing the kind of street ball that has always seemed to unlock him, a well-defended pass bounced into the waiting hands of Kyle Fuller and D'Andre Swift flat dropped what should've been the game-winner for the Lions.

The Bears didn't just stare into the abyss, they went down there for a while and hung out. Stopped, sat down, had a snack, looked around and then decided to let Matt Patricia and the Lions throw them a stepladder. Up they came to one of their weirdest wins, in front of virtual fans amid fake crowd noise, all described by a mostly bewildered Dick Stockton, who was forced off the FOX bench by COVID-19 protocols that put Kenny Albert in mandatory quarantine.

It's reasonable to ask fair questions about what it was, with the outcome certainly not telling the whole story of the Bears' very real struggles and the bumbling of their opponent. But what matters right now it what it wasn't, and that's a brutal and inexcusable loss that would've had the fringes calling for firings.

It's never good when the national network's own halftime show is already calling for a change at quarterback with just two quarters of a season in the books, but it was entirely warranted at the time. Look at the final box, though, and there Trubisky is with three touchdowns and 20 completions in 36 tries and no interceptions, good for a rating of 104.

If nothing else, the quarterback and the Bears gave doubters and optimists fodder for either position at the moment.  To borrow a phrase once used after another improbable comeback, they may still be who we think they are, regardless of what that is.

Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.