After defeating the Baltimore Ravens in overtime during Week 6, the Chicago Bears didn’t talk like the 2-4 team (who just ended a lengthy road losing skid) they were. They had confidence. And after a thoroughly dominant defensive performance and win against the Carolina Panthers (which still left them a game below .500), the players aren’t changing their tune:
Leonard Floyd on bigger picture for the #Bears: "We're definitely trying to change the culture."
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) October 22, 2017
Winning football games leads to culture change. Full stop. And winning games while developing a rookie quarterback is one of the toughest challenges in sports, but that’s exactly what the Bears did despite limiting Mitch Trubisky to just seven pass attempts on Sunday.
Maybe a different Bears team finds a way to lose either or both of their last two games. Perhaps Joe Flacco finds a streaking Mike Wallace behind a busted coverage. Or Cam Newton channels his 2015 MVP form, engineering a stunning comeback against a gassed defense that was on the field for nearly 40 minutes of a 60-minute game defending for 69 total plays.
But none of those things happened. Nor did any of the numerous other things that could have gone wrong.
Not falling into losing habits, showing perseverance, and emerging triumphantly from difficult situations is exactly what culture change looks like. And if the Bears are going to successfully change their culture, it’s going to have to come from first-round picks like Floyd, Trubisky, and a resurgent Kyle Fuller, as well as draft-weekend late-round steals such as Jordan Howard, Adrian Amos, Tarik Cohen, and Eddie Jackson.
Culture change starts on the bottom floor and doesn’t happen overnight. And, frankly, the process is far from over. The offense still hasn’t taken the training wheels off Trubisky and the special teams unit remains on shaky ground. But these Bears seem to have found an identity they can rally around. We’ll see if they can continue to build as the team faces a tough road test with the suddenly streaking New Orleans Saints.