Justin Fields' return from a thumb injury probably couldn't have gone better for 56 minutes.
Then came the finish.
Fields couldn't complain about his thumb or his own effort in Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Lions, so he didn't.
"I mean, we just played a heck of a team, No. 1 in our division, like I said, probably top three, top five in the league right now," Fields said. "If I'm keeping it real, we probably should have won the game.
"It just comes down to finishing and executing at the end of the game."
Fields' 104 yards rushing made it apparent he has no problem risking further injury to his injured right thumb because he had 18 carries.
"It held up pretty good," Fields said. "It didn't really affect me in any way, so it felt good."
In fact, Fields felt better for the 4 1/2 weeks away, although his production made it clear they missed his explosiveness while he was away.
He went 16 of 23 for 169 yards and a touchdown of 39 yards to DJ Moore, the longest pass play he had this year. The TD came on a second-and-21 play. He also had his longest run of the year, a 29-yarder, and ran for four first downs.
The Bears didn't mind his running even coming off the injury. In fact, it was critical to the game plan.
"We just thought that, you know, when they do play coverage or match coverage and play man where they're not, you know, having a spy in there for him, that's when we had our opportunities to take off and run," coach Matt Eberflus said.
Fields had no thumb pain, although his middle finger was cut and bleeding once.
"I felt like it was the first game of the season out there," Fields said. "My body felt that good."
Eberflus came away liking what he saw but not entirely convinced with the numbers by his QB and the offense. There were two first-half possessions after takeaways when the Bears failed to score. A few more splash plays by his quarterback could have helped.
They corrected this in the second half with a touchdown and field goal after takeaways but the lack of points on those two first-half possessions loomed large at game's end.
"I mean you know, when you always want, you always want major production, right?" Eberflus said. "He had, you know, a couple games this year and again, when the numbers are the numbers, you know? "Obviously we ran the ball really well today and we were controlling the ball the game that way much of the second-half and we've just got to continue to do that. But we'll look at the tape and, you know, see where he needs to improve and see where everybody needs to improve."
One way might be running the pass routes correctly for Fields. His deep ball to Tyler Scott could have clinched the win and Scott got behind the defense on third-and-9 with the Bears up 26-21 but initally turned to look instead of running through the route and came up a few inches short of the ball. They punted and the Lions drove to the winning points.
"I think he just misjudged the ball," Fields said. "He was running straight.
"He's a young player with a bright future in this league and he'll be good and bounce back."
Added Fields: "If that thing connects, yeah, I think that seals the deal in my opinion."