Now the battle was on. The Bears came back on Butler's 38-yard field goal, cutting Detroit's lead to 17-13. And four minutes later Harbaugh gave the ball to Anderson, who raced left, juked linebacker George Jamison inside, then outran safety Benny Blades to the goal line and made one of his trademark dives into the end zone for the TD. Anderson was clearly back in form.
But the Lions fired again from their modified run-and-shoot attack, this time with Peete hitting Green on a left-to-right crossing pattern during which all the Chicago defensive backs seemed to be on a fire-drill sprint to the wrong side of the field. "Blown coverage," noted studious Chicago middle linebacker Mike Singletary in the locker room afterward.
So now it was 24-20 Lions, with 1:05 to play. Bear fans were seen leaving the stadium at this point—tentatively, to be sure—but no doubt confident that with Harbaugh at the helm, it was tap city for Ditka's troops. A former Michigan quarterback leading an old-fashioned Bears' two-minute drill? Forget it.
But Harbaugh, who is now in his sixth year as a pro and his third as a full-time starter, is one of those rare finds—a seemingly mediocre quarterback who just gets better and better. On the Tuesday before the game he had considered Chicago's prospects for the season. "I don't know how many games we'll win," he said. "But everybody worked hard this off-season. I worked hard this off-season." Part of that hard work was giving up beer in late July, "just for self-discipline," he said.
The Bears started their winning drive on their own 26, with Harbaugh calling the plays: passes from the shotgun formation to wideout Ron Morris and Anderson, followed by a Harbaugh scramble for 14 yards and a Darren Lewis run for 13 more. After a timeout Harbaugh hit wideout Wendell Davis for 20 yards and a first down at the Lion 11. Nineteen seconds remained. "I have been thinking a lot about Joe Montana this summer," Harbaugh said later. "He says that on pressure drives he just thinks about fundamentals—the drop, steps, not trying to do too much. That's what I did out there."
On first down he threw incomplete to Davis. On second down he hit Morris for five yards, to the six. On third he missed Davis in the right corner of the end zone. Five seconds remained. Ditka sent in a play called 13 wing jet. Harbaugh dropped back and found Waddle racing in from the right side on a crossing pattern underneath Davis, who was on a corner clearout. Harbaugh's laserlike pass was no more than an inch in front of safety Harry Colon's outstretched left hand.
The Bears won and proved something in doing so: They do know how to come back and win. Harbaugh was so giddy in the locker room that he twitched like a hyperactive kid. "This is the best I've ever felt in my whole life," he said. "I'm so happy for all of us. I'm so happy for Ditka. I don't like to see him hurt. People question him all the time—the stuff he says—but I believe in my heart he does everything for a purpose. He's got, like, this gut feeling about things. Instinct. And heart." Harbaugh paused, trying to get a handle on himself. "If I were drinking," he went on, "I'd have a beer." If the quarterback were drinking, there's at least one coach—and maybe a whole city—that would stand him a round.