These Chicago Bears Might Just Be Dangerous

| December 11th, 2023

The Chicago Bears’ Playoff Hunt Is On?

It’d have sounded unbelievable a month ago, but Matt Eberflus may have turned the 2023 Chicago Bears around.

What was once a hapless team with a bottom-3 defense that couldn’t intentionally stop a 3rd & long has become a team that dominates the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, pressures passers into mistakes downfield, and plays a clean, balanced brand of offense that turns opening game scripts & quality field position into the points their defense needs to win games.

It hasn’t always been a pretty formula, but since September’s 0-4 start it’s been a winning one. Eberflus left Detroit weeks ago in desperate need of a statement — now, after a pair of divisional wins & a two-score pounding of the division-leading Detroit Lions, he’s made his statement is loud and clear.

This team is young & hungry. They make life hell on quarterbacks & Jared Goff is no exception — Goff’s 5 interceptions against the Bears equal the 5 interceptions he’s thrown against the rest of his opponents combined. Their super-athlete quarterback, Justin Fields, has the burst to turn a sure sack into an explosive run at any moment.

This team has plenty of warts, and there’ll be plenty of time to discuss them later. With the Carolina Panthers in a death spiral, every game begs questions about what to do with the #1 overall pick.

But even if for only one day, enjoy this win. After all, pending the Packers’ results , your Chicago Bears remain only two games away from an NFC Wild Card spot.

We’ll save more detailed discussions about player performance, this game’s meaning, and everything else for another day. For now, raise a toast to a divisional Victory Monday — Go Bears!

Postgame Podcast:

Nick and I recorded a podcast where we talked through the ups, the downs, the ins, and the outs of Chicago’s latest win here:

Your Turn: How do you feel about yesterday’s game?

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Chicago Bears Dominated Their Foe, Secure Future On Thursday Night

| November 10th, 2023

Coming out of halftime, Bears’ Head Coach Matt Eberflus promised the nation that he ‘had tricks up his sleeve’ in the 2nd half of Chicago’s game against the Carolina Panthers. He may not have had much more in mind than a battering D’Onta Foreman touchdown run and a suffocating defensive gameplan, but he reached into his sleeve and pulled out a gritty, ugly win on Thursday Night Football all the same.

Sometimes we don’t ask how the win happened, we simply ask how many wins the team can provide. Chicago’s latest win keeps their own playoff hopes alive (even if only technically) while pushing Carolina down a path that the Panthers may not recover from this season — with Chicago holding onto Carolina’s 2024 1st round draft selection, that’s great news for the Bears indeed.

ESPN Analytics list the Bears as having a 42% chance at the 2024 NFL draft’s #1 overall pick, with even better odds that they land a top 2 pick rather than exclusively #1. That’s great news for Chicago regardless of whether you want to see the Bears reset at Quarterback or not — as we saw in last year’s DJ Moore trade, high picks are valuable commodities that create extraordinary opportunities for the teams that possess them.

Thursday’s contest was anything but a pretty game, and chances are the results didn’t change your opinion of Matt Eberflus one way or another. If you didn’t like him before, his conservative offensive game-plan, goofy halftime quote, and bizarre decision to kick the extra point with the score at 10-15 (rather than going for 2 and playing for a 7-point lead) likely didn’t sway you now. But if the offensive line’s recent chutzpah and the defense’s clear improvement have gotten you thinking about what Flus’ vision could look like given another offseason, I wouldn’t blame you for that either.

Next week’s Detroit game looms large for Matt Eberflus — if he wants to make a statement, he’ll need to make it in his trip to Motown. But between then and now, enjoy 11 days of that winning feeling.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Everything Is Better When It Ends With A Win

| October 6th, 2023

Amidst swirling rumors that foretold Matt Eberflus’ impending doom, the Chicago Bears shook their fist at destiny and blew out the Washington Commanders on the road. Given that the Bears were 5.5 point underdogs, it’s safe to say that no one expected this result — but this morning? I’m much happier for it all the same. Who doesn’t love a win?

The Bears’ big Thursday Night victory brings up a series of questions the team will look to answer over their next few weeks:

  • Where has this level of play been all season?
  • Now that he’s decidedly not-fired, how long is Matt Eberflus’ leash for the rest of the year?
  • What will it take for Justin Fields to declare himself ‘The Guy’ in Chicago going forward?
  • Has the locker room fully bounced back from the 0-4 start to the season?

But rushing to answer any of these questions too soon could lead to a foolish answer in the long run — for now, let’s all sit back and enjoy a weekend of stress-free football. Cheers!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:

  • DJ Moore is the offensive weapon that Chicago has dreamt of for years. On 10 targets, Moore caught 8 passes for 230 yards & 3 TDs. Need I say more? He broke tackles, he hauled in difficult passes, he accounted for ~81.5% of Justin Fields’ passing yardage, and he produced throughout all 4 quarters of the game. From start to finish, Moore looked nearly unguardable — in fact, Commanders HC Ron Rivera benched the rookie corner guarding him (Emmanuel Forbes) on account of his struggles. I don’t know if a greater hat-tip exists in the league.
  • Justin Fields followed up his Broncos game with another great day. Fields’ role was more the steward than the superstar role on Thursday Night, but when his 1st passing option plays like DJ Moore played last night I’ll never fault him for feeding his playmaker the ball and getting out of the way. Quintessential quarterbacking.
    • Fields finished the day with another 4 TDs and a combined 339 yards between passing and rushing — he was efficient when throwing downfield & picked up key first downs with his legs, proving that his athletic toolkit can create sustainable offense outside of an over-reliance on splash plays.
    • The most impressive thing Fields did, in my opinion, was keep the Bears out of disaster on offense — Cody Whitehair’s snaps weren’t perfect and there wasn’t always an open man downfield (I assume), but Fields managed to throw away dangerous footballs when necessary and consistently caught the bad snaps, even turning a particularly bad one into a rushing first down. Sometimes a QB’s job is simply to keep the offense on schedule, and that’s exactly what Fields did.
  • No Turnovers from the offense. Hell yeah.
  • Darnell Wright, Nate Davis, Tevin Jenkins, take a bow. The Offensive Line is always hard to pick apart on the live watching, but it seemed as if Fields had consistent pocket time and the Bears ran the ball without issue. Remember, Washington’s Defensive Line is full of stars — for Nate Davis, Darnell Wright, and Teven Jenkins to hold their own like they did is remarkable. Hopefully they can keep it up.
  • Gervon Dexter Sr & the Rookie Class stepped up when needed. Wright has been as good as you can ask a rookie OT to be. Both Bears starting CBs in today’s win came from their 2023 Rookie Class and each player held their own. Gervon Dexter Sr. contributed 3 pressures tonight. It was a banner day for Poles’ latest draft class — hopefully the group keeps it up.

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