The Chicago Bears are under no obligation to apologize for how they get their wins. All that matters at the end of the day is whether they were on top when the clock hits double zeros. That is what happened on a wacky day in Denver. Despite another poor offensive effort and all sorts of bad breaks, the team hung together and played hard for a full 60 minutes on a hot day in one of the toughest NFL stadiums for a road team to play.
Thus they were rewarded for their efforts with one of the most emotional and insane victories in recent franchise history. It’s always felt like the Bears were on the wrong end of late-game heroics by other teams. For once it was they who got the fortunate bounces. Something that stands in stark contrast to just a few months ago when it seemed like the football gods conspired against them in the playoff loss to Philadelphia.
In fact, people may not realize how eerily similar that game and this one were. This isn’t some sort of soft boast either. Follow the series of events throughout the contests and it feels like one game is a literal clone of the other. How crazy do the connections get? Take a look below to find out.
Chicago Bears win was basically one long redemption story
#1 – Bears led 6-3 at the half
The first half was a battle between two struggling offenses. As before it was the Bears defense who did their job a little better. Outside of the first series of the game, the Broncos failed to put up any points. Unfortunately, Chicago’s own offense didn’t take advantage. They had a number of missed opportunities and employed a fairly conservative game plan. It was a situation where they had control of the game but couldn’t pull away.
#2 – Poor punt execution late gave up good field position
During the playoff game with just under five minutes to play, the Bears were hurt significantly by a bad 36-yard punt by Pat O’Donnell. This put the Eagles at their own 40-yard line, drastically shortening the distance they had to go in order to score. The punt unit stumbled yet again in Denver. O’Donnell banged a 51-yard bomb this time with three minutes left, but the coverage unit permitted a 17-yard return by the Broncos to set up their own offense at the 38-yard line.
#3 – Fell behind by one with less than a minute left on exact same play
Eagled-eyed fans will have noticed just how insanely similar the final sequences were on defense for Chicago in both games. In the playoffs, Philadelphia faced 4th and goal needing a touchdown. They ended up throwing the ball into the right flat to Golden Tate for the score to take a one-point lead. Fast forward to Denver. The Broncos have scored their touchdown by still trail by one. They decide to go for the victory on a two-point attempt. Sure enough, they run almost the exact same play, hitting Emmanuel Sanders in the right flat for the score.
To take a one-point lead.
#4 – A 25-yard completion to Allen Robinson got them in FG range
With less than a minute to play, the Bears offense took over at their own 42-yard line after a strong return by Tarik Cohen. Mitch Trubisky then found Allen Robinson on a pretty 25-yard completion on the second play from scrimmage to get the team within striking distance for a field goal. In Denver? This time it was a fortuitous roughing the passer penalty that gave the Bears beneficial field position. Then Trubisky, facing 4th and 15, hung in the pocket long enough to find Robinson down the field.
For 25 yards.
#5 – Kicker whose last name starts with P attempts FG with 3 on the end
Last but certainly not least was the final kick sequence. Cody Parkey gets a shot from 43 yards out against the Eagles. There’s no wind and it’s from the right hash mark. The conditions don’t get much better than this. Parkey had already hit three field goals earlier in the game. This should’ve been a relative gimme for most kickers aside from the obvious pressure of the situation. Sadly Parkey hooked it into the left upright before bouncing off the crossbar and out.
Eight months later, here the Bears were again. One second left. A kicker whose last name starts with a P in Eddy Pineiro kicking a field goal with the number three on the end of it. In this case a 53-yard attempt. Conditions are fairly ideal. No wind or inclement weather. Merely a high-pressure situation. This time though, the result was different. Pineiro sent it right down the pipe, exorcising so many demons along the way.