For one drive, Mitch Trubisky was good enough.
And then his kicker wasn’t.
In a game that saw the Bears quarterback turn the ball over twice in the second half and fail to punch in a touchdown on three first-half goal-to-go situations, Trubisky marched his team down the field with the game on the line.
Starting at the Bears’ 35-yard line with 1:33 to go, Trubisky moved the Bears to the Chargers’ 23-yard line when coach Matt Nagy decided to take a knee to set up a field goal.
Taking the field to chants of “Ed-dy! Ed-dy,” kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a 41-yarder wide left.
The Bears lost 17-16, falling to 3-4 after their third-straight defeat. They’ve been favored in every game.
Trubisky went 23-for-35 for 253 yards and a 75.1 passer rating and did little to quell questions about his viability as the team’s starter — this season and beyond.
The Bears were booed off the field at halftime, though, after proving to be remarkably inept at finding the end zone.
The team ran an amazing 12 goal-to-go plays in the first half and didn’t score a single touchdown, settling for Pineiro field goals of 22, 25 and 19 yards. Pineiro missed a field goal, too, doinking one off the right upright in the fourth quarter.
The Bears offense saved the worst showing of the first half for the end.
A Chargers horse collar penalty on third down gave the Bears first and goal at the 4 with 46 seconds to play. They ran for no gain, ran a screen to receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for one yard and then threw to Allen Robinson in the end zone. Trubisky’s pass fell incomplete, but Casey Hayward was flagged for pass interference, giving the Bears first and goal at the 1.
The next three plays gained nothing. A pass to Adam Shaheen fell incomplete. On second down, with 25 seconds left, the Bears handed off to Montgomery, who was stuffed. The Chargers were in no rush to get off by the pile; because they were out of timeouts, the Bears were forced to spike the ball. They kicked a field goal as the clock expired.
The Bears put together perhaps their best drive of the season coming out of halftime, running 6:52 off the clock and marching 75 yards on 11 plays. They finally found the end zone, too — on first and goal, Montgomery ran for a four-yard touchdown.
The Bears’ defense, which had been overtaxed in their last games — losses to the Raiders and Saints — was finally well-rested. It allowed only one Chargers first down in the game’s first 25:44. The Chargers’ second, though, started a drive that went 75 yards on four plays, thanks to a 43-yard Mike Williams catch and Melvin Gordon’s 19-yard rushing touchdown.
After the Bears scored to start the third quarter, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers marched them down the field on five passes of at least nine yards. The Chargers had first-and-goal from the Bears’ 7, but this time it was their turn to sputter. A five-yard pass to Hunter Henry, an incompletion and an Austin Ekeler run for no gain led to a 20-yard Chase McLaughlin field goal.
The Bears were still up by six when Trubisky threw an interception that Casey Hayward returned 37 yards to the Bears’ 20. Three plays later, receiver Keenan Allen stone-cold dropped a touchdown pass, forcing the Chargers to try a 42-yard field goal — that McLaughlin missed.
Trubisky gave it back to them again with 9:32 left when he fumbled on second down, one play after overthrowing a wide-open Taylor Gabriel down the middle of the field. Gabriel, the Bears’ fastest receiver, was being trailed by Thomas Davis, the Chargers’ 36-year-old inside linebacker.
The Bears appeared to have the Chargers forced into another third down when Leonard Floyd tackled Melvin Gordon, but Floyd was flagged for a facemask. On the next play, Austin Ekeler caught a pass on the right sideline and shook pass Danny Trevathan for an 11-yard touchdown.