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Zach Miller the most unlikely of heroes for the Bears

In a season focused around rebuilding and retooling it almost seems fitting that it was the second tight end who made the play of the game for the Bears Monday night in their win over San Diego. But even as second tight ends go, Zach Miller made for a surprising hero.

Late in the fourth quarter with the Bears trailing by three, Jay Cutler stepped up in the pocket and unleashed a rocket deep over the middle towards a wide open Miller. The ball was nearly out of reach, but plucked down with one hand by a lunging Miller who slid into the end zone.

Miller’s journey to Monday night’s prime time catch is almost as ridiculous as the catch.Which made the celebration that much sweeter for the tight end. During his post-game press conference, Miller said he went unconscious after making the grab.

“It’s one of those things where instincts kind of take over. I really didn’t have time to go with two, he put some juice on it and I just had to go get it with one, made the play when it was needed.”

In a sense, Miller has always been forced to play second fiddle. Miller started his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was relegated to the scout team before transferring to Nebraska-Omaha. Even when Miller was drafted by Jacksonville in 2009 he wasn’t even the most famous tight end with his name in the NFL, that honor belonged to the other Zach Miller who made a Pro Bowl in 2010.

After two strong years with the Jaguars, Miller was hit hard by injuries. From 2011 through 2014, Miller played in only four games because of a number of ailments.

“It’s been a long, you know, three years. I think coming into this, you know, there was over like almost 1400 days or something, 1200 days before I’d played in a regular season game. Injuries stacked up.”

After making the catch, Miller said Cutler told Miller he was proud of him. While it may end up only a footnote in a forgettable season, Miller’s catch may have been the highlight of his career.