This Wednesday feels like a Tuesday. I can’t shake it.
- The sights and sounds of the Bears’ Week 7 win are even better the second time around. Let’s re-live the magic:
- I know we’ve been spending time looking ahead to the 2023 NFL Draft, pick positioning, and prospect spotting. And while that win on Monday Night Football might’ve mucked up some future Bears draft stuff, it was also the kind of game that made you forget that was even part of the equation. The Bears got splash plays from pretty much every player you’d want contributing to the team in 2023 and beyond. That the Bears put a tally in the win column is a nice little bonus.
- Maybe we’ll look back at the win and think differently down the line. But still … we can confidently say that (1) how the win happened was DEFINITELY a good thing because of who were the key cogs who made it a reality and (2) winning in that manner could help the Bears in future ways we can’t yet anticipate. That win has the potential to be a culture builder. And it also could serve as a recruiting chip. Imagine being Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus, or even a player like Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, and Roquan Smith using that win to nudge free agents essentially saying “we can do this on the regular if you joined our squad.” Watch out now!
- First, we get the wins. Then come the dance compilation vids:
- Did Eberflus earn an automatic extension with that win on MNF? The Bears head coach told reporters (via the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley) that the McCaskeys were “pleased” Bill Belichick didn’t pass George Halas on the all-time wins list on Monday Night Football. Everything was lining up for a Belichick coronation in primetime. Instead, it was the Bears playing spoiler and snatching a win. Unless the Patriots’ QB controversy undermines everything the team has built, Belichick will have his day in the sun. But it won’t come at the Bears’ expense.
- This nugget from ESPN’s Mike Reiss put a smile on my face:
“Bill Belichick leaned in and stuck around longer than the norm during the post-game handshake with Matt Eberflus, who seemed to earn a measure of Belichick’s respect, likely for how hard his team plays for him.”
- I would never (e-e-e-ever) try to put a first-year head coach in the same stratosphere as someone with Belichick’s credentials. HOWEVA, one thing I’ve liked about Eberflus from the get-go has been his insistence on building game plans aimed at beating each individual opponent. Every game plan is going to look different. And that is a Belichickian line of thinking. I’m totally into it. And not just because it is that a departure from the Matt Nagy approach of trying to shoehorn pages from Andy Reid’s playbook because they work for the Chiefs.
- (Dying laughing):
- A good eye from 670 The Score’s Chris Emma, who highlights that Monday’s win marked the first game in which Khalil Herbert was given 10+ carries in a game when David Montgomery started (and finished the game healthy). These Bears have the potential to carve out a running game that could be the envy of the rest of the league. And if they do so, they could really throw some defenses for a loop. An expanded ground attack forcing defenses to (eventually) play with a single-high safety could open up a variety of new passing lanes. But, again, the Bears’ offense and success will have to dictate that change.
- A fun football factoid: The Bears have three rushers on pace for at least 800 rushing yards this season. Pretty mind-blowing, eh? Herbert (1,127 yards), Fields (884), and Montgomery (873 yards) are all running at a high-octane clip. Maybe this is what the future of NFL offenses looks like.
- Timing is everything?
- Kicker Cairo Santos took home the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week award for his efforts on MNF. But he shouldn’t have been the only Bears player bringing home some hardware:
- Roquan’s play has really taken off since the win against the Texans. In his last five games, Smith has 58 tackles, 4 tackles-for-loss, 2 QB Hits, 2 interceptions, 2 passes defended, and 2 sacks. Deuces are wild for No. 58. And if you were to extrapolate those numbers over a full 17-game season, we’re looking at a stat-sheet stuffing line of 197 total tackles (122 solo), 14 tackles-for-loss, 7 QB Hits, 7 interceptions, and 7 sacks. As it stands, he is on a 17-game pace to reach 189 tackles (117 solo), 10 TFLs, 7 QB Hits, 5 INTs, and 6 sacks. It’s almost as if Smith is letting his play do the hard work in contract negotiations. I hope Poles and the rest of the front office has eyes on this situation.
- The rest of this week’s award winners:
- This adds another layer of intrigue to the upcoming Bears-Cowboys showdown:
- What in the world has gotten into the Blackhawks?
- Got heeeeeem: