THE MORNING AFTER: Like halftime, the Bears finish strong when things don’t go to plan

DETROIT – You know that line about the plans one has for things to work out and then the suddenly don’t?

You won’t have to tell two groups at Ford Field about that on Thursday. Things didn’t quite work out in the way the halftime act and the visiting team had planned for this Thanksgiving day.

It’s like the line from the 1785 Scottish poem “To A Mouse” by Robert Burns in which he wrote: “The best-laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!

Well, the first part was correct for Brothers Osborne on the Bears, but the did manage to salvage happiness from what looked to be a lost afternoon.

The country group was set to perform the halftime show for the 65,412 people in attendance along with thousands watching on television early on Thursday afternoon. But 15 seconds into their act, the power went out, cutting them off with no warning.

It was later described as an “outside utility failure” that caused the loss of power, and the group did their best to keep the crowd engaged during the awkward time in which they waited for the power to come back.

A few minutes later, Brothers Osborne eventually got to perform, and while the start wasn’t one to remember, the finish was still a good one. Things certainly didn’t go to plan for them, and the start will live in a bit in Thanksgiving game lore, but an entertaining show was put on in the end.

You could say the halftime show was kinda like the Bears’ day on the field before and after the musical act. In fact, it could represent the entire Bears’ 2019 season, where nothing has gone quite to plan for Matt Nagy’s team.

Things were going right to plan at the start as a Cordarrelle Patterson 57-yard kick return led to a 50-yard touchdown drive for the offense. A well-mixed plan of run and pass, the Bears had their first opening drive score under Mitchell Trubisky this season and the second of the year. Chase Daniel led the other in the win over the Vikings in Week 3 after Trubisky hurt his shoulder.

Then, you might say, the power went out.

David Blough, a third-string quarterback making his NFL debut, threw a 75-yard touchdown on a blown coverage then led a 78-yard scoring drive to flip the game to the Lions. The defense couldn’t seem to get a hold of the new quarterback, and the offense slowed after that quick start, and the Bears went into halftime down seven.

Then came an interception from Trubisky on the first drive of the second half for the Bears that ended a drive inside Lions’ territory. At that point, a thought crept into the player’s and fan’s minds: Could the Bears really drop a game to a 3-7-1 rival who is starting a third-string quarterback to lose their still long hopes for a playoff spot?

“We weren’t down all. We knew there was a lot of football. There’s four quarters of football. We know a lot can happen in four quarters,” said safety Eddie Jackson of the defense’s mindset as Detroit held the lead.

A lot did happen in the final minutes, maybe not a cleanly as the Bears may have hoped, but it was a script for success.

Trubisky went 6-for-6 on the second drive of the second half for the touchdown to get the Bears even. The defense yielded a big drive of 70 yards inside their own ten-yard line, but a shoestring tackle by Kyle Fuller on what would have been a sure touchdown J.D. McKissic forced the Lions to only a field goal.

The offense then went 90 yards in the closing minutes of the half thanks to the Trubisky-Miller connection (3 for 78 yards), which the quarterback completed with a touchdown pass to David Montgomery. A late hit by Roquan Smith got the Lions deep in Bears’ territory, but his sack and Eddie Jackson’s interception sealed a 24-20 win.

“A lot of players made a lot of plays,” said Nagy of the win. “But today was Mitch’s day. It was his day.”

Indeed it was, and the quarterback navigated around some difficult times to deliver his best performance of the season. He had a good first drive, another before halftime, shook off an interception to lead two second half touchdown drives for the victory. His season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns came on 29-of-38 passing, and he was clutch in every situation he needed to be on Thursday.

“We’re not trying to prove anything to anyone except ourselves,” said Trubisky when asked about proving himself on a national stage on Thursday. “We’ve just got to continue to get better, eliminate mistakes, keeping growing, keep coming closer together. If everyone goes out there and does their job, I think that’s the type of results that we can get.”

Even when their plans don’t quite work out like they’d hoped, just like the halftime act. The Bears still couldn’t get a decisive win against a team that was shorthanded and struggling, leaving many to wonder if this team can hold up during a difficult December stretch ahead.

But like Brothers Osborne, the Bears finished successfully despite the detour, keeping some hope to salvage this season which itself has gone far from its initial plan.

 

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