The Bears rode big defensive stops and made just enough plays on offense to upset the Buccaneers on Thursday night. While the Bears wins this season haven’t always been pretty, the Football Aftershow crew says stacking wins like this show a team’s true character.
“Tough team, man,” said Olin Kreutz. “They have been showing character week in and week out… That was a bad quarter and a half. As you can imagine, everyone was tweeting at us that Foles was terrible, get him out. But this team continues to stick together, and a lot of that has to go through their locker room and their coaching staff.”
After starting punt, interception, punt, the Bears clearly didn’t panic-- even though it looked like it was going to be another long game for the offense. While comeback wins earlier in the season certainly help a team to not lose faith, Dave Wannstedt says the culture of confidence was likely developed much earlier.
“I think a lot of that started in the offseason,” Wannstedt said. “With everything we were going through with COVID, and racial injustice, Matt Nagy probably did a great job, even though it was zoom and all that, of really pulling the team together and talking about a lot of things. You know from a team standpoint it is really paying off now.”
Making things more impressive for Alex Brown is the fact that the Bears welcomed in a handful of new starters on offense and defense. Those players have had to learn to gel without a typical offseason, but they’re making it work.
“There’s a lot of first year guys, a lot of young guys making plays,” Brown said. “Mooney, you got Jimmy Graham, his first year here. And they weren’t able to be together… and now you throw in Nick Foles now, he's on his second week of being the starting quarterback. And now it's like my gosh, can we finally get on (the same) page.”
While the offense still has room for improvement before they’re totally on the same page, it’s true that rookies like Darnell Mooney and Jaylon Johnson have made huge impacts with truncated training camps, and no preseason. That’s a testament to both the players and the coaches.
Yes, the Bears look like they can play better. But the character they’ve shown on their way to 4-1 should be encouraging as they find ways to win while working to improve.