Thanks to a big win against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, the Bears (8-7) are now a prohibitive favorite to earn the final NFC playoff spot. Mitchell Trubisky accounted for three scores, including two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham, and the Bears pounded the Jaguars 41-17 in a game that meant as much to Jacksonville’s long-term future as it did to Chicago’s imminent playoff fate.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 27, 2020
In what is easily one of the craziest NFL seasons ever, the Bears have nearly rendered a mid-season six-game losing streak irrelevant. If Chicago can manage a win in next Sunday’s finale at Soldier Field against the Packers, they will have clinched the sixth or seventh seed in this year’s expanded playoffs, becoming just the third team ever with a six-game skid to reach the postseason.
With the way Chicago’s offense has been clicking during their current three-game winning streak, the Monsters of the Midway could present a formidable challenge for the two or three seed. The Seahawks beat the Rams (9-6) last night, so if both the Cardinals (8-7) and Bears win this Sunday, Chicago would get the sixth seed with Arizona knocking Los Angeles out to grab the seventh seed. A Bears loss against the Packers would require the Rams to knock off the Cardinals to get to the postseason.
The Cardinals did Chicago a huge favor when they lost to the 49ers on Saturday night. Combined with the victory in Jacksonville, that outcome gave the Bears an 82% probability of earning at least that last Wild Card spot and a playoff game at the home of the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
The Packers (12-3) already have clinched the NFC North title and can earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs if they win against the Bears in Chicago or if the Seahawks (11-4) lose to the 49ers (6-9) next week. Green Bay beat the Bears 41-25 in Week 12, their 99th win in the all-time series between the two teams. Since 1992, Chicago is just 15-43 against their rivals.
Bears News & Notes
- ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted out on Sunday morning that multiple sources believe the Bears will retain head coach Matt Nagy for another year. Neither Nagy nor the team has commented on Fowler’s report.
- If Ryan Pace has to fight to keep his job this offseason, the GM will likely point out to his bosses that the Bears are one of the youngest teams in the NFL, with eight players at 24 and under, including seven draft picks over the last three seasons.
- Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He threw the 64th touchdown of his career, putting him in fifth place all-time for the franchise.
- NFL executives believe the Bears will make a concerted effort to sign Trubisky after this season. Under Coach Nagy, Chicago is 25-12 in games that Trubisky has started.
- An end zone interception just before halftime should remind Bears fans that the team may be better off without the fourth-year signal-caller.
- Graham had two touchdown grabs and 69 receiving yards in his best game as a Bear. He now has eight touchdowns for the season, the most for a Bears tight end since Greg Olsen had that many in 2009. One more would give Graham the most since Mike Ditka in 1961.
- David Montgomery carried 23 times for 95 yards and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season for the first time. The second-year back is averaging 4.45 yards per carry this year and has scored a touchdown in five straight games, the longest streak by a Chicago running back since Neal Anderson in 1991.
- WR Allen Robinson had a game-high 10 catches for 103 yards, which put him at 100 receptions for the season. The last Bears wide receiver to catch 100 passes in a season was Brandon Marshall in 2013.
- Sunday was a homecoming of sorts for Robinson, kicker Cairo Santos, and DB Tashaun Gipson. Backup QB Nick Foles also played for Jacksonville (2019).
- DL Bilal Nichols has emerged as a force against both the run and pass this season, already establishing career highs with 39 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 7.0 tackles-for-loss, and 12 quarterback hits.
- With the loss, the Jaguars secured the first overall pick in next year’s draft.
- Sunday’s game against Green Bay has been moved to a 3:25 PM CT start.
There’s a Flag…On the Play
This no-look pass by Ryan Fitzpatrick defies science.
HOW DID RYAN FITZPATRICK MAKE THIS THROW pic.twitter.com/nOe1rBFOP4
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) December 27, 2020
Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust
- In the past three years, Trubisky’s win percentage (66.7%) is better than those posted by several other first-round QBs during their 2-thru-4 seasons, including Carson Wentz (62.5%), Deshaun Watson (55.6%), Baker Mayfield (53.3%), and Ryan Tannehill (45.8%).
- The Bears have scored 30+ points in 4 straight games for the 1st time since Weeks 4-7 in 1965 when their offense was led by Hall of Famers Ditka and Gale Sayers.
- The Ravens have rushed for 100+ rush yards in 38 straight games, the 2nd longest streak in the NFL since at least 1948. The 1974-77 Steelers hold the record with 43 straight.
The Packers played their most complete game of the season in beating the Titans 40-14 at a snowy Lambeau Field last night.
The Lions gave up 588 total yards in their 47-7 blowout loss to the Buccaneers on Saturday.
Urban Meyer has been contacted by at least two NFL teams about head coach openings, including the Lions.
A loss to the Saints on Christmas Day eliminated the Vikings from playoff contention.
- Tom Brady – The 23-year veteran completed 22-of-27 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns as the Buccaneers clinched their first postseason berth since 2007. The 43-year-old QB sat out the second half.
- Aaron Rodgers – The 38-year-old veteran had one of the best games of his career, going 21-of-25 for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
- Davante Adams – The big WR caught 11-of-12 targets for 142 yards and three TDs. Adams now has 109 catches on the season and leads the league with 17 scores.
- Ben Roethlisberger – The veteran field general rallied his teammates from a 24-7 third quarter deficit with three TD passes in the final 18 minutes of play. Big Ben finished the game 34-of-49 for 342 yards with the three dimes.
- Jeff Wilson, Jr. – The 49ers running back accounted for 204 all-purpose yards in San Francisco’s big victory over the Cardinals, including 183 rushing yards on 22 carries.
- Roquan Smith – The Bears linebacker showed the league why he deserved a Pro Bowl selection instead of a snub with two big interceptions on two passes defended paired with eight solo tackles.
San Francisco tight end George Kittle is a lifelong Bears fan, and helped deliver the perfect stocking stuffer to Chicago’s fans.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 27, 2020
At the Podium
- “With where we’re at right now as a team, it’s definitely different. Green Bay is a hell of a football team and there’s a reason why they’re sitting right now as the No. 1 seed. We’re guaranteed one more game, nothing else. If we do well in that one game, then we’ll have an opportunity for more. But we can’t worry about that. We just worry about us.” – Matt Nagy
- “It all starts with an expectation, just having a high expectation for us in this offense that, ‘This is what we’re capable of and nothing less is going to be acceptable.’” – Mitch Trubisky
- “100 means a lot, with the parity of this league. The first time to ever get 100 catches, happening here at [TIAA Bank Stadium], is pretty funny … I tried not to get too much into the emotional side of it. After the season, it will be something cool as far as how that played out.” – Allen Robinson
- “It was business as usual for [Robinson]. He’s been the same guy. His emotions don’t get too crazy. You have to respect a guy like that. It wasn’t as personal for A-Rob as people might assume. Is it a little sweet? Absolutely. If they let you walk, those things are personal.” – Tashaun Gipson
Today’s Halftime Entertainment
Let it Ride by Bachman-Turner Overdrive – The Bears control their own fate , and only the Packers stand in their way of clinching a playoff berth.