Bears

Bears 31, Cowboys 24: Whose arrows are up and down after Bears beat Cowboys

Bears 31, Cowboys 24: Whose arrows are up and down after Bears beat Cowboys

Don’t look now, but the Bears … might be good? Who knows how impressive a win over the Dallas Cowboys will be when the season ends, but dropping 31 points on that defense is objectively one of the brightest moments of a season that, all of a sudden, doesn’t feel so lost after all. The Bears are back over .500 for the first time since Week 5 and are now firmly on the heels of both teams that stand above them in the playoff standings. Here’s where the arrows are pointing after the Bears’ 31-24 win:

Hon. Mention Up: Mitch Trubisky, JP Holtz (!), the weather for a night game in December 

Hon. Mention Down: Tarik Cohen, Riley Ridley, Jason Garrett’s job security

ARROW UP – Allen Robinson 

If he wants to, Allen Robinson’s probably going to the Pro Bowl, whenever the Pro Bowl is. He didn’t have the gaudiest stats on Thursday night but made his catches count – of his five receptions, two of them were touchdowns. He now has seven touchdowns on the season, the second-highest number of his career. Robinson’s established himself as a bonafide No. 1 receiver this season, and there’s most likely a BIG OL’ extension coming his way this winter. He was playing well before the offense started clicking, so imagine how tantalizing the idea of Robinson finally getting to play in an offense that works is. 

ARROW DOWN – Roquan Smith 

What a bummer. Smith had been the defense’s best player over the last month, and he looked like a legitimate star at times on Thanksgiving. The length of recovery for a pectoral injury varies, but with three weeks left, things look bleak. If his season is over, what a weird one it was. He started slow, had that mysterious absence, but then managed to come back and put together a strong two-month run. 

ARROW UP – Matt Nagy 

The Bears looked ready for Thursday night’s game, which has not always been the case this season and is certainly more than you can say about Dallas’ effort. Credit for that goes to Nagy. The coach also gets credit for a game plan that looked – surprise! – remarkably balanced, as the Bears ended up passing the ball 31 times and rushing it 34 times. He got Trubisky into an early rhythm with some smart screens and bootlegs, something that clearly played into how comfortable the offense looked to end the first half. 

ARROW DOWN – Opening Drive Defense, Again 

The Cowboys converted four different third downs on their 17-play drive to open the game. Four! They came from all distances, too. First came 3rd-and-1, then 3rd-and-3. After that were conversions on 3rd-and-11 and, finally, 3rd-and-8. It was the exact opposite of how they were worked on the first drive of last week’s game, but the result was the same, and once again the offense came onto the field playing from behind. This feels a little pedantic considering the defense only allowed one other touchdown all night, but it also feels notable that the Bears’ defense has gotten off to slow starts in consecutive games. 

ARROW UP – Kyle Fuller 

Fuller’s quietly had a great season. It doesn’t look as good on paper without the interceptions, and he’s had quite a few bounce off his hands, but his pass-jumping instincts have been terrific this year. Fuller held Amari Cooper to 83 yards on six catches and finished second among all Bears defensive players with seven tackles. With Prince Amukamara out with a hamstring injury, Fuller’s ability to keep the Cowboys’ passing game out of sync all night was especially admirable. 

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Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

Did Patriots owner Robert Kraft crush Bears' hope for Tom Brady?

The Bears are one of the first teams mentioned when speculation about where New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could play in 2020. The Bears are the most quarterback-needy club that also has a chance to make a Super Bowl run with a player like Brady under center, so it's logical to assume the soon-to-be free agent will at least entertain the idea of playing home games at Soldier Field next year.

Much of what happens with Brady will come down to how the Patriots view the 42-year-old (he'll be 43 at the start of next season). If all things are equal, and New England makes him a fair offer to come back, it's likely Brady would return to the only franchise he's ever played for. And if owner Robert Kraft's recent comments are sincere, it's more than likely that he will.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Kraft, who was in New York City on Tuesday, was asked by TMZ reporters whether the Patriots will re-sign Brady this offseason. His response? 

"We plan to," Kraft said.

Well, there you have it, right? If the Patriots plan to re-sign Brady, then the Patriots are going to re-sign Brady; assuming, of course, you believe what Kraft is saying in January before New England's decision-makers have had enough time to assess their quarterback situation with, and maybe without, No. 12 under center.

Brady is coming off of one of his worst seasons as a pro, which is saying something considering he's been playing for two decades. His completion percentage was the lowest it's been in six years, his yardage total was the second-lowest in the last 10 years, and his 24 touchdown passes were the fewest he's thrown in a season since 2006. 

It's natural to wonder whether Father Time has finally caught up to him. Maybe, however, his down year was a result of lacking talent at wide receiver and tight end. Regardless of the reason, his 2019 campaign has called into question where he'll be in 2020.

But there are those three words Kraft said — 'we plan to' — that can't be ignored. At the very least, Bears fans can't get their hopes up. The Patriots tend to get what they want, and if they want Brady back in 2020, they'll have him.

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Bears showing strong interest in Dayton TE Adam Trautman

Add Dayton tight end Adam Trautman  to the growing list of tight ends the Bears have met with at the 2020 Senior Bowl.

After confirming Purdue's Brycen Hopkins and Vanderbilt's Jared Pinkney spent time with Bears scouts (in the case of Pinkney, nearly 35 minutes), Trautman told NFL.com's Chase Goodbread that Chicago's scouts have expressed a strong interest in his skill set.

"They're interested in me," Trautman said of the Bears. "They tell me they like what they see."

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of 2020 NFL offseason

Trautman had one of the best lines of the week when he said he prefers driving opposing defenders into the ground against their will over scoring touchdowns, and at a well-built 6-foot-5, 251 pounds, he has the perfect physical makeup to project as a guy who will do that on the next level. He needs development in that area of his game (run blocker), but his 'want-to' is half the battle.

Trautman wasn't the best tight end this week, but he was far from the worst. He's been consistent, and for a team like the Bears who are searching for a tight end who can be relied on as a second-level target for whoever is playing quarterback in Matt Nagy's offense, Trautman's consistency will be viewed as a plus.

Trautman had 916 yards and 14 touchdowns for Dayton in 2019. Scouts wanted to see whether he could handle the jump in competition at the Senior Bowl, and he's answered that question with a resounding yes.

He projects as a Day 3 pick with upside to develop into a starting quality tight end.