A 60-minute game will always have its natural ebbs and flows. It’s impossible for any one team or player’s play to stay static. There’s a reason you have to play all four quarters in football before reserving judgment. Until the final seconds tick off the clock, often anything and everything is possible. The 2020 Bears are a prime example.
After a thrilling 20-19 come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bears are perfect stand-ins for what it means to play to the last whistle. One could argue they have not played a full 60-minute through five contests. One could also contend that for most of the time, they’ve probably only wholly been the best team on the field once or twice. And what’s been remarkable is that those semantics haven’t mattered. When you win four out of your first five games, you tend to forget the ugly, and focus on the glowing end results. It’s not about who wins 35 or 40 of the 60 allotted minutes, but who has more points when the 60 minutes have concluded. In other news, water is wet, the grass is green, and the sky is blue because blue light travels in smaller shorter waves than other colors in the Earth’s atmosphere.
(Besides, how many teams actually play complete 60-minute games in 2020? A handful? One or two? Maybe?)
Like never before, the Bears’ resolve (along with a bit of positive variance and fortune) is shining through. Two weeks ago, following a stunning comeback win over the Falcons, Chicago became the first team in NFL history to win two games in a single season where they were trailing by at least 16 points entering a fourth quarter. Now following the latest win where the Bears were behind 13-0, they have another mark to be proud of and, perhaps, to keep an eye on.
Stat ESPN just showed: This is the second year the Bears have come back from 10+ down to win in 3 of their first 5 games to start a season. The other time? 1985.— Josh Frydman (@Josh_Frydman) October 9, 2020
Super Bowl it is.
No one will confuse these Bears for what may be the greatest team of all-time. It would be outlandish to say a team with a +5 point differential is in any way on the road to glory. Then again, no one thought of such hallowed labels for the 1985 Bears through five games either. To follow in the footsteps of that team to a tee means Matt Nagy and company are doing something right. They’re not playing picturesque football. They’re not without a blemish (or four). But when they’ve been challenged to make plays with games on the line, they’ve come out prepared, disciplined, clutch, and most importantly, sparkling.
And who knows? Maybe Nick Foles does have another magical run in him for Chicago. An experienced quarterback shepherding a talented veteran roster through the winter is, from the surface, not a shock when taking the rest of this calendar year into account. In a 12-month span full of pull-the-rug-out moments, combining the end-game formula the Bears have seemingly mastered with Foles’ steady hand for exemplary postseason success would be far from shocking.