The Chicago Bears had a great weekend. With everything falling their way, they now hold on to the final playoff seed in the NFC. They now control their playoff destiny.
With all the craziness happening in 2020, the year feels like it lasted three years. The same can be said about the Chicago Bears‘ season. We’ve seen three different seasons in one. In the first one, the Bears ran out to a 5-1 record and held the top seed of the NFC. Then, they could not buy a victory as they went on a six-game losing streak. During that time, the offense could not move, ranking at the bottom in nearly every category. All hope was dashed.
The Bears entered their third season, though. Suddenly, the offense not only looks efficient but very good. A reshuffled offensive line now opens holes for the running backs and protects the quarterback very well. They’ve won three games in a row and scored 30+ points in their last four games (the last time they did that was 1965). Just when we thought their playoff hopes were gone, they now hold the final playoff seed.
The reason for that is an incredible weekend. Everything fell in place for them. An undermanned San Francisco 49ers upset the Arizona Cardinals, who held that last playoff spot. That meant the Bears would take that spot with a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bears took care of business and now they control their playoff destiny.
It was scary at first, but they eventually knocked the Jaguars around
I’m sure that many Chicago Bears fans felt that somehow the team would throw away their shot. The Bears haven’t had success in big games as of late. In the first half of the game, those feelings seemed to be coming true again.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano failed to put pressure on immobile Jaguars quarterback Mike Glennon. As is the case with Bears backup quarterback Nick Foles, Glennon cannot slide from the pressure and use his legs to extend plays. He’s basically a statue waiting to get hit. Instead of blitzing him, Pagano had edge rushers Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn out in coverage.
Without the pressure, Glennon looked like an effective passer. He completed 13/17 for 96 yards and a touchdown. While everyone expected a blowout, the two teams were tied at 10 late in the first half.
Then Trubisky became Trubisky again by throwing an awful pass into the end zone and into triple coverage. The pass was intercepted and the Jaguars had the ball trying to take the lead. However, Glennon also turned back to form, throwing an interception to Roquan Smith (the first of two interceptions for the day). The Bears turned that into a field goal and they had momentum going into the dreaded third quarter.
Who says the third quarter is bad?
Heading into this game, the Bears scored two touchdowns all season in the third quarter. One of them came last week against the Minnesota Vikings. This game was different, though. The Bears exploded for THREE touchdowns in the third quarter, blowing open the game. After suffering through the scary first half, the Bears scored 28 points in the second half to win going away, 41-17.
The second half was a great scene of the offense and defense complementing each other. While the offense has skyrocketed, the defense has regressed. The offense needed to gain all those points. In the four games before the Jaguars game, the defense allowed 27.25 points per game while the offense averaged 31 points. For the defense, that includes the game against the Houston Texans in which the defense only allowed seven points.
The defense looked like it was headed in that same direction in Jacksonville until Smith’s interceptions before the half. Of the Jaguars’ six drives in the second half, one ended in an interception, four ended in punts, and one ended in a garbage-time touchdown.
The Bears control their playoff destiny
After all the struggles, through the benchings, through the lineup shuffling, and all the losses piling up, it’s incredible that these Chicago Bears are not only still in the playoff hunt but also in control of their destiny. They have a win-and-your-in game in Week 17. It doesn’t matter what the Cardinals do, if the Bears win they are in the playoffs.
Of course, this being 2020 and all, the win won’t be easy. The Bears need to beat the hated Green Bay Packers. The Packers will be at full strength because they still have something to play for — the top seed in the NFC. The New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks are also in the hunt for that top seed.
There will be no sitting players for any of the teams that still have something to play for. The NFL flexed Bears/Packers game to later in the day (4:25 ET). That means the Bears, Packers, Seahawks, Saints, and Cardinals all play at the same time. There will be a lot of scoreboard-watching in the final week of the NFL’s regular season.
It’s going to be huge. We know what’s at stake this weekend. We’re going to enjoy the win tonight and then start preparations tomorrow. But it just sets up for a special opportunity to finish our season strong against a rival like this.
Having the Bears involved in all of this might be the most 2020 thing to happen this season.