CINCINNATI – After struggling in back-to-back losses to the Eagles and 49ers, the Bears offense busted out of its slump in a big way in Sunday's 33-7 win over the Bengals.
The same unit that had mustered a total of 17 points, 16 first downs and 287 yards in its previous two games exploded for season highs with 33 points, 23 first downs and 482 yards Sunday.
"We just went out there and executed and we just had fun doing it," said rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who completed 25 of 32 passes for 271 yards with one touchdown and a 112.4 passer rating. "We trusted the plan and went out there and let it loose."
After being held to a total of 68 yards rushing the last two weeks, the Bears ran for 232 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in Cincinnati. Jordan Howard rushed for 147 yards and two TDs on 23 carries, while rookie Tarik Cohen added 80 yards on 12 attempts.
"It's a big relief because there was a little frustration because things weren't going the way we wanted them to and we weren't having any success on offense," Howard said. "[But] we can't let that get us down. We had to keep coming out and fighting."
The 33 points were the most the Bears have scored since Nov. 15, 2015 when they beat the Rams 37-13 in St. Louis.
"We had a great week of practice," Trubisky said. "I feel like that just trickled throughout the week—the positive energy—and the guys just came together and we were able to make all the plays today."
Impressive feat: With a four-yard run late in the third quarter, Howard became the first Bears player to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.
"It means a lot because the running back tradition here is very storied," Howard said. "It's a lot to live up to, so I'm very honored about that."
After setting the Bears' rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards last season, Howard has rushed for 1,032 yards this year with three games remaining. His 147 yards Sunday were his second highest total of the season behind a 167-yard performance Oct. 15 in Baltimore.
"He ran pretty violent, ran pretty angry," Fox said. "When he does that, you see the results."
Quick start: The Bears scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the game (on Howard's 21-yard run) for the first time since Nov. 20, 2016 when Zach Miller caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in an eventual 22-16 road loss to the Giants.
The Bears started their first drive Sunday at their own 49 after the defense forced the Bengals to punt from their own 19 and Cincinnati drew a 15-yard penalty on the punt.
"We want to start fast and finish fast," Trubisky said. "We had pretty good field position, thanks to our defense. They played well all game. That's how we want to operate; run down and score on the first drive of the game."
The Wright stuff: Kendall Wright became the first Bears receiver to top 100 yards in a game this season, catching 10 passes (on 11 targets) for 107 yards.
"Kendall did a great job getting open," Trubisky said. "He keeps telling me to stick with him on some of those option routes that he has and I did. I just trusted it and he went up and made great catches today. That's what we expect out of Kendall; just continue to get open for us and make great catches."
"For a guy new to us, hats off to him because he's worked very hard in a position group that some people didn't give us much credit or hope," Fox added. "Seeing the results was fun to watch."