A cool thing that Pierce Tavern in Chicago is doing: 20 percent of all sales today are going back to their workers. So I would encourage you to shop local if you can and boost businesses if you can. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all.
• Here’s a playoff scenario featuring the Bears that would absolutely blow my mind:
It's still mathematically possible for the Bears to get the No. 5 seed at 9-7 and face a sub-.500 NFC East champ in Round 1, per ESPN playoff machine. If Bears, Bucs, Cardinals & Rams all finish 9-7, which is possible, seeding goes like this:
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) December 22, 2020
• At the risk of getting way-too-ahead of myself, a Matt Nagy-Ron Rivera matchup would be ridiculously juicy. Two former Andy Reid assistants going against each other would be a treat. As would a potential game in which Nagy faces off against Alex Smith. Oh, and maybe we could dust off the 2017 NFL Draft weekend comps of Smith and Mitchell Trubisky? OK, I’ve traveled too far down that rabbit hole.
• Andrew Dannehy (Da Bears Blog) digs up how the Bears are finding answers to what ailed them earlier in the season. Better late than never, I suppose. What’s wild about Chicago’s newfound success is that it makes the team’s offseason look better now than at any previous point. There are flashes showing why Cole Kmet and Jaylon Johnson were second-round picks. Examples of why the team rolled the dice on Darnell Mooney, a little-hyped receiver out of Tulane. The hires of Bill Lazor and Juan Castillo as new voices and perspectives appear to be shining through on the offense. Plenty of little things are adding up to bring the Bears new life.
• At the center of the changes along the upgraded offensive line — which I believe is sparking the offensive renaissance — is Sam Mustipher:
The Bears' offensive line struggled earlier this season in the wake of injuries and COVID-19 issues. But the unit has found its footing, and center Sam Mustipher is a big reason why.
“He’s a leader and he has extreme confidence in himself.”https://t.co/AU1TUZ4Cen
— Chicago Tribune Sports (@ChicagoSports) December 23, 2020
— Bear Report (@BearReport) December 23, 2020
Get to know Sam Mustipher, from the kid who was correcting his third grade teacher to the answer for the Bears at center https://t.co/XpxUV12QQ7
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 23, 2020
• There are some good reads about the re-vamped interior offensive line. More specifically. Mustipher’s story is a fascinating one. There is something fascinating about making that climb from undrafted free agent to starting on an NFL team. Seeing someone do it on the Bears obviously piques my interest more than usual. Moreover, watching someone do it along the offensive line is special. And to play center? With all those responsibilities? And to do it well? I tip my cap to Mustipher, but also to GM Ryan Pace, former OL Coach Harry Hiestand, and every scout who had an hand in bringing the player on board. It’s a real team effort.
• Allen Robinson II is the only receiver in this group not to get an invite to the Pro Bowl:
• The Bears have a new running back, and the team is already doing its part to make sure he can’t be poached:
#Bears have protected QB Tyler Bray & RB Spencer Ware on the practice squad for Week 16.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) December 22, 2020
• Let’s keep an eye on the injury report this week. Because of Cordarrelle Patterson’s knee injury, I can envision the Bears using one of their practice squad call-up options on promoting Spencer Ware as a reserve back for game day. Just something to keep an eye on this week.
• Speaking of Pro Bowl snubs:
• I love art:
How do you take an NFL team photo during the pandemic? Local artist Eliot Zuniga provided the Bears with the solution. https://t.co/ql2MJjjZve
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) December 23, 2020
• For your listening pleasure:
• Fanatics is now running its end-of-year clearance sale, up to 70% off.
• This would be a bigger deal to us had the Bears not won back-to-back games:
The new rule allowing virtual interviews during the regular season (up to 2 hours long) applies to head coaching vacancies only. Restrictions apply to other positions. No in-person interviews permitted as long as the hiring club or candidate’s club is still playing. A breakdown: pic.twitter.com/3T2MNDJiqI
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 22, 2020
• Oh, sure. Now the league wants to tweak things.
• The Bulls are back:
WAKE UP THE BULLS SEASON STARTS TODAY!https://t.co/Fz43zHD263
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) December 23, 2020
• Soon enough, the Blackhawks will join them. And with that, our sister site’s coverage will begin with it: