Darnell Mooney

‘Robbed of a legacy play': Re-watch the Bears' failed Hail Mary that almost won the game

All Bears fans, and Justin Fields, were left with was a glimpse of what could have been

NBC Universal, Inc.

It was the play that almost saved the day -- a Hail Mary pass into the end zone in the final seconds of the fourth quarter that would have given the Bears exactly what they needed for a win against the Cleveland Browns.

But instead, Darnell Mooney bobbled the ball before losing control and sending it right into the arms of the opposing team for an interception that would cap off a complete fourth-quarter meltdown.

All Bears fans, and Justin Fields, were left with was a glimpse of what could have been.

The Bears entered the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Browns leading 17-7. Their defense had dominated all day, picking off Browns quarterback Joe Flacco three times en route to a 10-point lead. But the wheels came off in the fourth quarter as the Browns scored 13 unanswered points to take a 20-17 lead with 32 seconds to play.

Fields and the offense moved the ball to the Browns' 45-yard line with five seconds to play. Needing a final miracle to avoid a third double-digit, fourth-quarter meltdown this season, Fields let it fly toward tight end Cole Kmet in the end zone. The ball was batted forward and into the arms of a falling Mooney. But the receiver couldn't grip it while falling, and the ball bounced off his toe and into the hands of safety D'Anthony Bell.

Watch the play below:

"I tried to tip it and then hold onto it," Mooney said after the 20-17 loss. "It hit my chest [before I could secure it]. I was already falling, so it's tough. It would have been crazy, but it's tough. How many times do you see a Hail Mary work and actually fall into -- being able to make a catch?

"It was tough. I wish I could have had it, but it is what it is."

Fans reacted on social media in shock and disappointment.

"Justin Fields robbed of a legacy play smh," one user wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"That is brutal. He had the ball…. Wow," another said.

Mooney sat in his locker for a while Sunday, but there wasn't dejection in the wide receiver's face—just disbelief at everything that unfolded, culminating in that would-be hero moment slipping through his fingers.

"I was just like, 'Dang, that would have been crazy if I could have held onto it,'" Mooney said. "It was like, 'Wow, that was crazy.'

"I just saw it and everybody's killing me for it. But it was a hard catch. Difficult catch."

Fields originally thought the plan had worked.

"On a Hail Mary like that, you just want to be able to buy as much time for your guys to get down in position and get a chance to catch the ball," Fields said. "Put some air on it, maybe get a tip. DBs aren't the best at tracking balls. Main thing is just give my guy a chance, and we almost came out with a catch. That's all you can really do.

"I heard some celebration on the sideline, and then it was like, 'Oh.' I saw the guy come out and tipped up and picked, of course. Can't do anything about it."

A feeling of despair briefly swept over the Browns' sideline as the ball found Mooney, but then the jaw-dropping shift took over.

"I damn near s--t myself," Browns tight end David Njoku said of the final play. "Luckily our defense made an exceptional play, sealed the game, and that was it."

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us