‘Close doesn’t cut it’: What the Patriots and Bears said about their wild final play

"We were that close."

Patriots Bears
Kevin White completes a 54-yard pass against the New England Patriots but falls just short of the end zone. –Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

“They say it’s a game of inches,” running back James White pointed out after the Patriots managed to cling on for a 38-31 victory over the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon. “That’s kind of what it came down to.”

Trailing by a touchdown in the final seconds of the game, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky heaved a 54-yard Hail Mary pass to the end zone. Wide receiver Kevin White hauled in the desperation lob at the one-yard line, but he was immediately swarmed by five Patriots defenders, who prevented him from crossing the goal line.

“Just chucked one deep, saw a group of wide receivers down there, Kevin made a heck of a catch, and I’m sure it was a lot closer than I’m sure a lot of people saw,” said Trubisky, who praised Chicago’s offensive line for buying him a few bonus seconds to make the throw. “From my vantage point, I thought he was in. … We were that close. It was like one yard, two yards away.”

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“[Trubisky] got a good throw on it,” added Pats quarterback Tom Brady. “I think those are just — you hold your breath. I saw [Kevin White] jump up and catch it, and I, obviously, didn’t have an angle on the goal line, so I thought he was getting close to the end zone. They were pushing, and we were pushing, and it was probably, what? Probably a half-yard or a yard? Pretty close, so good for us to hold them out.”

With their last-second defensive stop, the Patriots avoided overtime Sunday and came away with their fifth win of the season. Had the Bears tied it up and forced five minutes of extra time, however, it would have been a fitting ending to a chaotic game that featured five turnovers. The score also would have marked another dreadfully inconsistent outing by the Patriots’ defense, which gave up 453 total yards.

Safety Duron Harmon seemed happy the group was at least able to pull together for the critical last play.

“The good thing is everyone played and did what we were supposed to do,” said Harmon, whose role was to plant his feet in front of the goal line and stay down. “We let the jumper jump, and that was Josh [Gordon]. Everybody else did our jobs, being box-out players and making sure [K. White] didn’t get into the end zone.”

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Gordon, who recorded his first defensive snap with the Patriots, noted the number of players around the ball made it difficult to discern exactly what happened, but he, too, was relieved things worked out in New England’s favor.

“I wanted to grab it,” Gordon said. “Somebody else wanted to grab it. [There was] pushing and pulling and everything like that. He ended up with it, so great play for him, definitely, but, fortunately enough, we were able to keep him out of the end zone.”

Even though his team had an opportunity to level the score, Trubisky said the Bears took no solace in the outcome because “close doesn’t cut it.”

“There’s a new standard here,” Trubisky said. “Coming up one yard short and not tying the game and going to the overtime. That’s not good enough, anymore.”

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