A Transformational Moment, Fields Makes Top-5, Brisker’s Hamlin Tribute, Lovie’s Help, and Other Bears Bullets

I need to figure out what I’m cooking for this weekend’s gathering of friends. Yours truly hasn’t been cooking for myself since the night before Christmas Eve, which probably isn’t good for my health. But grieving, tying up loose ends, nibbling on pizza from the Christmas Eve party I didn’t attend, picking through Christmas leftovers from stuff my pops made, and the wave of food friends have sent me the last two weeks has kept me out of the kitchen. That’ll change. It’s unsustainable. This isn’t how I wanted to begin my year.

But don’t worry about me. Being cognizant of something that I want to change means that I’ll get around to doing it. Eventually.

  • You better believe these guys are looking forward to bringing it next year:
  • Honestly, I didn’t think it would happen. In fact, I mocked anyone who was saying it was even a possibility back in August. But it did indeed happen. By finishing with a 3-14 record and .176 winning percentage, the Chicago Bears finished the year with the NFL’s worst record. Their reward for futility: The No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Giggity.
  • Chicago’s football team concluded the year losing 10 consecutive ball games. Their last win was that Monday nighter against the Patriots. That was 77 days ago. Wowzers.
  • I’ll always remember that night fondly for oh, so many reasons. It was Justin Fields’ breakout performance. We saw rookie Jaquan Brisker exact his revenge against Mac Jones by picking off the Pats QB after getting kicked in the nether regions. Matt Eberflus out-coached Bill Belichick was a thing that happened, too. And I’ll always remember that as the first game Dosta and I watched together. What a special night that turned out to be. 🫶
  • Also: I can’t get enough of the Bears onesie she got me for Christmas that her mom was kind enough to drop off for me. Even after her passing, my girl knows how to make my day.
  • While the Bills were giving off “Team of Destiny” vibes, perhaps I was losing sight of the Bears being that (but on the opposite end of the competitive spectrum). Just look at what it took for Chicago’s football team to get in a position to land that first overall selection:
  • Some things are just meant to be (even if the path to get to them is daunting and weird).
  • NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock writes the Bears landing the No. 1 pick sets the team up for a “transformational offseason” ahead. And I don’t think he is overselling it one bit. Having the first overall pick means the Bears control the top of the draft board. Coupling that with being $118 million under the cap means that this should be a transformational offseason. To be clear, I don’t think the Bears are going to create a Super Bowl contender in one offseason. However, the pieces are in place to piece together a squad that can make a leap that resembles what the Jaguars did this year.
  • I can’t overstate the importance of adding the first overall pick in the draft. You’ve got the QB-needy teams in a Snuggie from now until the time comes to make that pick. Does your team want Alabama’s Bryce Young? Hit up Halas Hall and start the bidding. From there, the Bears can load up on draft capital for an epic rebuild.
  • After reading Cam Ellis’ latest at 670 The Score, I’m realizing how much of a masterclass in tanking the Bears put on this year. This one will go down in history as an all-timer.
  • Lovie Smith will always be a legend for lending a helping hand to the Bears’ rebuild efforts:
  • Smith told reporters postgame that coaching his team to a win was always his goal.

    “This is the option I had. You’re saying, ‘Hey, guys playing this last game, all that you’ve been working for all your life, you play to win. Forget that. Lose the game on purpose?’” Smith said, via the Tribune’s Colleen Kane.

    “I think that would be a hard one to get by. They wouldn’t expect me to say that. I didn’t. Each week our game plan has been to win the game. And that’s what we followed through on today.”

  • Hey, now! The Bears have a DBs Coach gig opening now that the season is over. Just saying.
  • Mark Potash (Sun-Times) hits a sweet spot with his assessment of the Bears’ 2022 season in noting that while Poles and Head Coach Matt Eberflus didn’t prove anything (one way or another, good or bad) this season. And that the next step is all on them. Fair enough. Although, I’d counter by saying that it’s not like we learned nothing about Poles and Eberflus. Two takeaways. One, we saw Poles can create Day 3 picks out of thin air. And Eberflus can keep games close for a chunk of the season (despite the talent deficiency). I have some issues with each. But we can do a deep dive later.
  • A fun fact that came about because of Tim Boyle’s appearance in yesterday’s game:
  • That’s the only fun thing associated with Boyle because this was his stat line on Sunday: 2/8, 33 yards, 4.1 Y/A, 0 TD, 2 INT, 4.7 quarterback rating. ESPN’s QBR metric spit out a 0.5 for Boyle’s efforts. I didn’t even know a QBR could go that low.
  • At least the gang looked good in the navy on navy unit:
  • Now, bring back the white on whites. Please?
  • You just knew Justin Fields was going to make this list. Watch the video to find out where his best play lands among the top-5:
  • I can’t say it enough, so I need to keep finding different ways of presenting this: The Bears are in a position to use the first overall pick to build sustained success because they already have their quarterback — Justin Fields. Watching Boyle and Nathan Peterman really drove home how valuable Fields is to this team.
  • It was cool reading about Jaquan Brisker’s tribute to Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who he has known since eighth grade. Good stuff from the Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley.
  • I can’t believe this is how Green Bay went down in a must-win game at home:
  • Javon Wims and Anthony Miller punching C.J. Gardner Johnson in games against the Saints during the 2020 season still stick in my craw. Those two moments still boil my blood. Neither of those guys is on the Bears anymore. I’d hate to be a Packers fan thinking about those moments as my team enters the offseason missing out on a playoff berth.
  • Packers defensive lineman Quay Walker issued an apology for shoving a member of the Lions training staff:
  • Upstart Blackhawks youngster Lukas Reichel finally made it to the goal-scoring column. And he did it in a 4-3 OT win:
  • Weirdness permeates as the Carlos Correa saga continues. (Bleacher Nation Cubs)
  • Our BN Bulls guy Eli did some podcasting:
  • written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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