For a few hours there, we were all New York Giants fans. And they didn’t disappoint us (though Saquon Barkley tried to).
The Bears, of course, dusted off the Detroit Lions at home on Sunday, revenging themselves for that Nov. 19 loss at Ford Field and winning back-to-back games for the first time under Matt Eberflus. What’s more, both were against division opponents.
The Carolina Panthers look as hapless as ever and will all but certainly give the Bears a top-two pick in the draft. Whether they use it on a quarterback or trade it, that’s a major win.
The Giants win and Seattle Seahawks loss have the Bears somehow one measly game outside of a wildcard spot after being 2-7 at one point. On top of that, New York’s victory actually improves the Bears’ own draft pick from No. 6 overall to No. 5 all without losing a game.
The defense has dominated and ranks sixth in EPA/play allowed since Montez Sweat joined the squad in Week 9 and became a focal point for opponents. Gervon Dexter Sr. keeps getting better every game. T.J. Edwards might be the team’s best signing this offseason. Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker both suddenly look like building blocks for the Bears defense.
This is just a really well-executed play.— Nicholas Moreano (@NicholasMoreano) December 11, 2023
Yannick Ngakoue gets the sack and shows off his power, but also look at the pop that Montez Sweat generates against the right guard.
In the secondary, Jaylon Johnson, Tyrique Stevenson and Kyler Gordon pass off and pick up the Lions'… pic.twitter.com/JKqUvTPNtL
The young offensive line core of Darnell Weight, Teven Jenkins and Braxton Jones looks incredible and is a testament to Ryan Poles’ ability to build in the trenches (aside from Lucas Patrick).
DJ Moore has done everything the Bears hoped he’d do when they traded for him last season.
Justin Fields hasn’t thrown an interception since returning from his thumb injury and has quietly played like a top-10 quarterback after putting his horrendous first three games behind him.
No, seriously. He’s sixth in EPA+CPOE and 13th in PFF grade since his Week 4 outburst against Denver. Though he hasn’t had any of those performances since, his overall level of play seems to be leveling out into that of a decent NFL QB you can win with and still has potential to do the spectacular.
seriously one of the most impressive throws I've ever seen Justin Fields make. pressure in his lap, far hash out-breaker into a keyhole. insane velocity and placement, stuck it right on Kmet. arm talent pic.twitter.com/BI4cyXZPkl— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) December 11, 2023
Somehow, it feels like there are no bad outcomes for the Bears at the moment.
They could run the table and sneak into the playoffs with a magical postseason push to validate everyone’s hopes about this year’s team.
They could lose to the Browns this coming Sunday and be in the driver’s seat for two top-5 picks.
They could draft Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick and build a juggernaut of a roster around an exciting young quarterback on a rookie contract, creating a Super Bowl window of several years.
They could keep Fields and trade the top pick for a ransom even greater than what they got from Carolina last year and use those assets to keep costs low while preparing to give Fields a payday.
Some of those scenarios might be more prudent or beneficial long-term than others — specifically the drafting a new quarterback part.
The point for now, though, is that Poles’ vision is currently manifesting in a way that suggests the Bears could be fine whether they win or lose, clean house or not.
A rookie quarterback on this roster would probably walk into the best situation of any Chicago Bears rookie passer since Kyle Orton. Adding another young star or two to the offense mix alongside Fields, though, could have this roster looking like the Philadelphia Eagles or San Francisco 49ers — even the version assembled while they were still paying Jimmy Garoppolo a sizable chunk of change.
After several weeks of living in a dark hole of despair with this team, it’s good to feel again like big things are on the Chicago horizon even if their now-faint playoff hopes all but die in Cleveland next Sunday.
Then again, with the way they’ve been playing, who says they have to?
We have Poles to thank for that.