Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) catches a 38-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the second half against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Good morning, Chicago.
And welcome to Victory Monday!
Two-game winning streaks aren’t noteworthy for many NFL towns, but when Chicago goes 707 days without one, well, we’re going to bask in it.
Let’s get to the thoughts …
I don’t know if it will be a December to remember for our Bears, but Sunday’s 28-13 triumph over the Lions certainly showed the ingredients are there. The defense was dominant, forcing another three turnovers and holding Detroit scoreless in the second half. That, in turn, allowed our coaching and quarterback to be better than their coaching and quarterback. You couldn’t draw up a better script for a NFC North win at home late in the season.
Does that mean the Bears are officially in the hunt? At 5-8, they’re holding up the bottom of those network graphics, but the New York Times still projects the Bears with just a seven percent chance to make the playoffs.
That said, we’re two weeks out from Christmas and already looking forward to next Sunday’s game in Cleveland. If the Bears win that, we’re set for two must-see home games against Arizona and Atlanta on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. That’s a big win for a team that started 0-4 and fell to 3-8 just 22 days ago when they coughed up that late lead to the Lions in Detroit.
Credit Matt Eberflus for his team staying relevant this late in the season. He might’ve been shaky at the end of early losses and at the podium, but it’s clear he never lost the locker room. I still think any decision for 2024 should be made on the Bears options — if there’s a clear upgrade, Ryan Poles and Kevin Warren must take it — but the rise of the defense have erased some of our early doubts about Flus.
Ryan Poles deserves a lot of credit, too, for going out and getting Montez Sweat. There’s so much parity in the NFL that one difference-maker can swing the fortunes of a unit. We’re seeing that with Sweat, who has single-handedly turned the defensive line into a problem for opposing quarterbacks. And while the rush defense was already solid to Sweat’s arrival, it’s now rating second-best in the NFL, just behind the Super Bowl contender 49ers.
Justin Fields makes it look so damn easy sometimes. He was 22 yards out when he took off on his touchdown run and he was still able to beat three Lions defenders to the front corner of the end zone while looking like he was on cruise control. I’ll miss plays like those if the Bears do make the offseason decision to move on.
Anyone starting to get the feeling the Lions are the new Vikings while Jared Goff is the new Kirk Cousins? Both franchises built up solidly with blue-chippers on both sides of the ball, only to get complacent with a better-than-average quarterback with a clearly defined ceiling. It’ll be interesting to see how Detroit proceeds at that position going forward.
What a damn shame all those Lions fans at Soldier Field left disappointed.
I wouldn’t hate if Poles’ offseason shopping list in free agency includes an upgrade at running back, particularly if the Bears can take care of WR at the top of the draft.
I still can’t believe 38-year-old Joe Flacco will be quarterbacking the Browns on Sunday. Here’s a fun fact for the road: Justin Fields was nine years old when JF15 made his NFL debut in 2008.