The 2017 Chicago Bears were 3-5 at home, winning only one game in their building after October 22nd. The 2016 Bears were 3-5 at home, winning (again) only one game at Soldier Field in November and December combined. The 2015 Bears? Glad you asked. 1-7 at home. That win came on October 4th.
The home of the Chicago Bears has been a wonderful place to play football. If you’re not the Chicago Bears. Not any longer.
Sunday night the Bears won their sixth game on the lakefront in 2018. It is the first time they’ve registered six home wins since their Super Bowl-losing campaign of 2006. And they did it as underdogs. They did it against the team with the best record in the league. They did it against one of the sport’s best offenses, and the game’s most lauded offensive mind. An offensive mind so fertile it can memorize TEN names.
But it wasn’t just what happened that resonated. It was how it happened. There were four primary components to Sunday night’s victory.
I. The Crowd
The Soldier Field faithful knew this was a massive game and acted like it. Their raucousness was bursting through my television set in Queens, NY.
II. The Weather
As predicted here, the boys from Los Angeles were desperate to trade-in Navy for Santa Monica Pier as quickly as possible.
III. The Defense
They held the Rams to 214 total yards and an average of 3.5 yards per play. They sacked Jared Goff three times and intercepted him four times. They were, in a word, dominant.
IV. The Running Game
The much-maligned rushing attack finally had their breakout performance, setting the tone and keeping the opposition on their cold, cold sideline.
There was also a fifth component.
V. The Nagy Element (Also called “Fun, Fun, Fun”)
In many ways, this vintage of the Chicago Bears has restored some of the most endearing qualities of the franchise’s history.
Celebrating every interception with an elaborate dance? This is an organization that once did a music video in the middle of the regular season to announce their coming Super Bowl title.
Handing off to fat guys at the goal line. Hell, the Bears did this in a Super Bowl.
But faking the hand off to a fat guy and throwing a touchdown pass to another fat guy? That’s next level. That’s the Nagy Element. That’s the kind of fun-loving, fuck-it-why-not shit that has permeated every single aspect of the franchise. You can see it on the sideline. You can hear it on the 400 level. You can see it in the “Club Dub” videos across Bears social media.
The head coach of the Bears is constantly telling his players to “have fun out there”. They are. And so are we.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 10, 2018
Here’s some more things to consider when it comes to the renaissance of the home field advantage for the Bears:
- Their point differential at home is +78, giving them a margin of victory of 14.1 points. Those are staggering numbers for the modern NFL. They’re not quite the Saints (+84, 18.4 margin of victory) but they’re getting there.
- Their only loss at home came to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who required TWO special teams touchdowns to get the job done. The Bears are an angry 6-1 since that afternoon.
- At home, the Bears average a half-yard more per carry, more than 25 yards per game on the ground and double the number of runs 20+ (10-5). This means that at home, they are a physical bully.
Now, Sunday, the Bears face their final regular season opponent at home. It is their longest rival. A team that has embarrassed them for years at Soldier Field. And if Minnesota loses tonight in Seattle, the Bears will have a chance to finish the NFC North at home right in front of those sons of bitches.
It is the only way this run at home could conclude. Cold day. Feverish crowd. Angry defense. Inspired running attack. And, oh yea, fun.