The Bears delivered their most impressive performance of the season Sunday at Soldier Field, snapping their six-game losing streak with a decisive 36-7 rout of the Texans.
The Bears dominated on both sides of the ball. Their offense scored four touchdowns for the second straight week and generated 410 total yards, while their defense recorded a safety on one of a season-high seven sacks and yielded only 263 yards.
"Today was just how it looks when a team plays complementary football," said receiver Allen Robinson, who led the Bears with nine receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. "Our defense has been playing great throughout the season, so for us just being able to play complementary football on special teams and offense, I think you're starting to see it all come together."
Mitchell Trubisky completed 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards with three touchdowns, no turnovers and a season-high 126.7 passer rating. Trubisky threw three TD passes to three different receivers in the first half as the Bears raced to a 30-7 halftime lead.
David Montgomery sparked the offense with a career-long 80-yard touchdown run on the Bears' first play of the game. He finished with a season-high 113 yards on 11 carries and also caught three passes for 42 yards, compiling a career-high 155 yards from scrimmage.
Robinson topped the Bears in receiving yards for the 11th straight game and surpassed 1,000 yards on the season for the second straight year.
The defense was fueled by Khalil Mack, who recorded a sack of Deshaun Watson for a safety and forced and recovered a fumble by ripping the ball away from running back Duke Johnson. Roquan Smith and Mario Edwards Jr. both had two sacks for the Bears.
"It was awesome, especially against a very mobile quarterback in Watson," said Smith, who led the Bears with 12 tackles. "Not many people get to sack him often. But I just felt like it was relentless pursuit from everyone."
Watson completed 21 of 30 passes for 219 yards with 1 TD and a 101.9 passer rating. He also rushed for 38 yards on seven carries.
In producing their most lopsided win since a 41-9 victory over the Bills Nov. 4, 2018 in Buffalo, the Bears (6-7) moved into a tie for second place in the NFC North with the Vikings (6-7), who lost to the Buccaneers 26-14 Sunday in Tampa. It was the first victory for the Bears since Week 6 over the Panthers in Carolina, a span of 56 days.
"I'm proud of our players and coaches for being able to be resilient and focused in and locked in as to where we're at," said coach Matt Nagy.
In the first half, the Bears compiled 294 yards and 18 first downs. Trubisky completed 18 of 21 passes for 178 yards with three TDs and a 141.6 passer rating. Montgomery rushed for 106 yards on six carries.
After Montgomery's career-long TD run gave the Bears an early 7-0 lead, they made it 14-0 on Trubisky's 5-yard TD pass to Jimmy Graham early in the second quarter. With four receivers lined up in a bunch to the right, Trubisky threw back to the left to the 6-7 Graham, who beat 5-11 safety Eric Murray.
Trubisky completed 8 of 8 passes for 71 yards on the drive.
The Texans (4-9) cut the deficit to 14-7 on Watson's 5-yard TD pass to receiver Keke Coutee with 8:37 left in the second quarter. But the Bears followed by scoring the game's final 22 points, including the last 16 points of the second quarter.
First, Mack dropped Watson in the end zone for a safety, increasing the Bears' lead to 16-7. Trubisky's 11-yard TD pass to Darnell Mooney then made it 23-7 with 3:22 left in the half. Excellent blocks by fellow receivers Anthony Miller and Robinson sprung Mooney.
After the Bears defense forced a three-and-out, Trubisky capped an 11-play, 77-yard drive by beating a blitz with a 3-yard TD pass to Robinson, widening the margin to 30-7 with :08 remaining in the half.
The Bears increased their lead to 33-7 on the opening possession of the second half on Cairo Santos' 39-yard field goal.
The Texans then marched to the Bears' 1. But Watson exited on a third-down incompletion with an apparent right elbow injury and backup A.J. McCarron was sacked by Smith on fourth-and-goal, turning the ball over on downs.
Watson returned to the game on the Texans' next drive and was sacked by Edwards Jr. on fourth-and-7 from the Bears' 45.
"Defensively, I thought we swarmed 'em," Nagy said. "You felt that."
Santos provided the final points with a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, making it 36-7. Edwards Jr. put an exclamation point on the win by recording his second sack of the game as time expired.
The Bears' first victory since Oct. 18 kept their slim playoff hopes alive heading into an NFC North showdown next Sunday in Minnesota.
"It feels good for all of us to have this," Nagy said. "We're going to enjoy it. But then we're going to reset and refocus for next week."
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Texans in Chicago.