Good morning, Chicago!
Say, can anyone remember the last time the Bears gave up 49 points and the city’s reaction wasn’t continued self-loathing and calls to fire everyone?
Yeah, me neither.
Probably because it’s never happened.
And yet here we are, the morning after the Bears were downed 49-29 in Dallas and things don’t seem that bad, even if it’s going to be a rainy Halloween.
We have Justin Fields to thank for that. Nicholas Moreano called the Bears quarterback “the silver lining” in his postgame wrap from Jerry World and that’s just about right. We’ve staked the success of this season solely on seeing growth from QB1 and he’s starting to follow the script as we start to raise our eyebrows.
Fields’ numbers on Sunday were fun: 17-of-23 passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns, another 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He finished with a career-high 120.0 QB rating.
Those numbers won’t make anyone forget vintage Dan Marino, but they were paired with 240 total rushing yards — the team’s third straight 200+ rushing game. The Bears offense is suddenly productive under offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, even if the talent deficits at offensive line and wide receiver remain.
More importantly, Fields is controlling the game and playing it at his own speed. He’s taking first downs with his legs, going through progressions and making plays at every level of the field. He’s looking like a guy who’s hard to game plan for.
Yes, it’s OK to start thinking the Bears might finally have their quarterback.
Because you’re not alone.
On Sunday afternoon, the CHGO Bears Twitter account asked its followers if they approved of Fields’ performance this season. It’s a few hours later as I write this and a whopping 95.4% of the respondents have replied “yes.”
You’ll never get all Chicagoans to agree on one thing, but that’s “no ketchup on hot dogs” or “Aaron Rodgers is the worst person ever” territory. It’s certainly much higher than what we would’ve seen had we run the poll after the Washington loss.
Fields and the Bears still have a long way to go, but it’s nice we’ll be able to approach the final two months of the season with anticipation rather than a begrudging sense of duty.
Is this what hope feels like?
Join us at the CHGO Bears tailgate this Sunday!
The Week Ahead
• The Bulls drop in on the soap opera that is the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, come back on Wednesday to host the Hornets and then play the Celtics in Boston on Friday. They wilted down the stretch in weekend losses to San Antonio and Philadelphia and need to figure out how to stop their opponents from sinking so many threes.
• The Blackhawks are starting to figure out the tank a little more after dropping three straight. They’re not there all the way yet, though, as they took the overtime point against Buffalo and Minnesota the last two nights. The Isles and Kings come through the UC on Tuesday and Thursday before the Hawks play a Saturday matinee in Winnipeg.
• The White Sox and Cubs will watch the World Series play out and then the hot stove season will really start to move, I suspect.
• Illinois football is coming off a win over Nebraska and puts its 7-1 record up against Michigan State in Champaign on Saturday. Keep your heads on a swivel, fellas.