Wake up the echoes of 1985. Shout it from the rooftops from Tinley Park to Schaumburg. The Chicago Bears are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
That became perfectly clear with each empty and hopeless Los Angeles Rams possession Sunday night at Soldier Field. The greatest show on turf stepped onto the worst turf in the NFL and lost all its superpowers. Jared Goff and his crew entered averaging 34.9 points/game. They left with six. And an L. And probably some real doubt and confusion about what the heck happened.
How did the team that scored 54 on national television a few weeks ago manage 1/9th of that total?
Well, simply put, the unstoppable force met an immovable object. Khalil Mackand the front force consistently harassed Goff. Speedy linebackers like Roquan Smith took away the middle of the field. Ballhawks like Kyle Fuller made the Rams pay for every mistake.
They snagged four interceptions. They held Todd Gurley to 28 yards and forced Los Angeles to completely abandon the run game, which is so important to its play-action offense. It was utter domination by brute force.
This is the recipe the Bears have used all year, and the results have been delicious. At 9-4, they’re in prime position to win the NFC North and earn the No. 3 spot in the NFC. Any trip to the Super Bowl would have to go through either L.A. or New Orleans, but as the old saying goes: defense travels.
Chicago won convincingly without much — or any help — from Mitchell Trubisky (16 for 30, 110 yards, TD, 3 INT). They overcame a 33.3 quarterback rating. They overcame an empty trip to the red zone and three turnovers. Heaven help the opposition if this team can put all three phases of the game together when it matters.
Maybe putting the words Bears and Super Bowl in the same sentence is hyperbolic. Maybe the domination is obscuring some deficiencies. But this team is winning big football games the way the fanbase likes best. It feels special, and magical, and like a reasonable 1985 facsimile. It is catnip to the masses, and the fuel to dream big.
They are at least familiarizing themselves the steps to the infamous shuffle, should the opportunity arise again.