The Bears didn't even make it to their locker room before the Chicago skyline, towering over Soldier Field's north end, came alive. One by one, like lighthouses looking out over Lake Michigan, sky scrappers lit the night sky with a dazzling array of blues and oranges, leaving little doubt about what had happened on the shores below.
The Bears are 4-1. As far as records go, it's as impressive as it is incomplete. No Super Bowl's ever been won before the second weekend in October, but the difference between 3-2 and 4-1 is, put simply, significant: historically, 4-1 football teams make the playoffs 85% of the time. 3-2 teams? 54%.
"I think that anytime you go 4-1, you get to a point where they’re not always the prettiest of wins," Matt Nagy said after a nail-shredding 20-19 win. "The best part about all this is that I’m super-excited with, our players and our coaches, that we’re 4-1 and we know we can play a lot better.”
That much is true. For the third time in four games, the offense scored 20 points or less. Nick Foles somehow found a way to throw the ball 42 times and finish with under 250 passing yards. David Montgomery averaged 2.9 yards per carry (all 10 of them!) and Allen Robinson's bizarre interception issues continued. When one of *Philadelphia's* most revered human beings says it was a fist fight, you know how sloppy things got.
"It wasn't an easy game by any means," Foles said. "We just kept fighting, kept fighting and everyone kept throwing punches. And I'd say the big thing from tonight was we got to learn how to go through a fist fight like this and come out on top. And you don't want them every week, but if it's what it takes to win every week, that's what we'll do."
Thursday night could have gone wrong in so many different ways. To start, the Bears spotted Tom Brady 10 points in the first quarter; to end, they gave him the ball and 90 seconds. They only converted on 30 percent of their 3rd downs and relied on a backup, journeyman kicker four different times. On half a week's rest, going up against The Best Quarterback Of All Time playing on The Best Team of 2020 (by DVOA, at least) could – and probably should – have been disastrous. Instead, the Bears flipped the narrative, and perhaps their season's trajectory, on its head. Tristan Wirfs can relate.
"We’ve been practicing. We practice hard," Khalil Mack said. "We work at the little things. We try to get better at the little things. … It’s only up from here. This was great to see the success from the hard work we’ve been putting in. But there’s more hard work to be done. There’s no letting up from this group."