CHICAGO -- The New England Patriots' 38-31 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday came down to an exciting final play, on which Bears receiver Kevin White hauled in a Hail Mary pass from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at the 2-yard line but was kept out of the end zone by multiple defenders.
"They say it's a game of inches, and that's kind of what it came down to," Patriots running back James White said.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady described it as a play on which "you just kind of hold your breath." He credited Trubisky, who faced pressure from outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, for making a good throw.
As for Trubisky, who was rolling out across his body to his left before planting his feet to throw from the Bears' 36 yard-line, he initially believed it was a touchdown.
"I saw a group of receivers down there, Kevin made a heckuva catch. From my vantage point, I thought he was in," he said.
Trubisky's impressive heave covered 62 yards in the air, and referee Clay Martin reviewed the play to confirm that White -- who turned quickly to his left after making the catch in an attempt to barrel through Patriots defenders Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Jonathan Jones -- was stopped short.
"It looked closer. I just saw him go up, catch the ball, and I just couldn't tell exactly where he was, how he came down, what the extra effort was, and then you could see on tape we were just a little short," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "In a perfect world, you'd love to get into the end zone for that, but we were a little far away and into the wind. ... We were a yard away from tying the game."
One of the unusual parts of the play for the Patriots was the presence of receiver Josh Gordon as a defender. That's a role tight end Rob Gronkowski usually plays, but Gronkowski was inactive because of a back injury.
Gordon's assignment was as the "jumper," but his attempt to bat the ball down was unsuccessful. Gordon said it had been a while since he assumed that role.
"Too many people around the ball at once to try to even figure out what's going on. I wanted to grab it. Somebody else wanted to grab it. Pushing and pulling and everything like that," he said when asked what happened. "He ended up with it. It was a great play for him, definitely. But fortunately enough, we were able to hold them out of the end zone."
Meanwhile, Harmon, one of the Patriots' safeties, said that while the play didn't necessarily unfold the way the Patriots would have liked, one positive was that everyone knew their role.
The Patriots had four players involved with the pass rush, dropping seven deep into coverage.
"You can't prepare for every scenario, but you can have rules that you can always go to that always put you in a good situation and good position, and that's what it was," Harmon said. "We didn't go over him catching the ball at the 2-yard line, but we did have rules, and everybody did their rules. We had a jumper and everyone else kind of playing for the tip.
"When you see that everybody does their job and resorts back to their rules and plays by their rules, we can get a good play out of a situation like that."
Harmon also eyed Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel as a player White might have tried to pitch the ball to after making the catch.
"Gabriel was trying to call for the ball, but I made sure I put my arm around him, too. It's the last play. Anything can happen. They had the ball right there," Harmon said. "Just trying to do everything to make sure they couldn't get the ball into the end zone."