Three weeks ago the Bears were left in stunned silence after blowing a late 10-point lead in a disastrous defeat to the Lions that extended their losing streak to six games.
The mood was no doubt much more jubilant Sunday when the Bears exited the field in Jacksonville following a convincing 41-17 win over the Jaguars. With their third straight victory, the resurgent Bears (8-7) inched closer to securing a playoff berth.
It seemed impossible after their loss to the Lions, but with Sunday's win the Bears moved into the No. 7 seed (and third wild card spot) in the NFC playoff race. Coach Matt Nagy's team will qualify for the post-season next weekend with a home victory over the Packers or a Cardinals loss to the Rams in Los Angeles.
"We had a message the last three weeks about where we're going and doing it together, and they've completely done it," Nagy said. "This credit goes to all the players and the coaches. They've responded and they put us now in a situation where it could've went a lot different direction and it hasn't."
After a sluggish start Sunday in Jacksonville, the Bears scored 31 unanswered points, turning a 10-10 tie into a commanding 41-10 lead. They took a 13-10 lead on Cairo Santos' 40-yard field goal as time expired in the first half and then scored TDs on their first four possessions of the second half.
Mitchell Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns—both to Jimmy Graham—one interception and a 97.9 passer rating. Trubisky added a third TD on a 6-yard run, his first rushing touchdown of the season. Allen Robinson II caught 10 passes for 103 yards. And David Montgomery rushed for 95 yards and one TD on 23 carries.
Roquan Smith led the defense, intercepting two Mike Glennon passes. Glennon, who spent the 2017 season with the Bears, completed 27 of 37 passes for 211 yards with two TDs, two interceptions and a 75.4 passer rating against his former team.
The Bears have now scored at least 30 points in four straight games for the first time since 1965.
With their 14th straight loss, the Jaguars fell to 1-14 but won the derby for Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, clinching the No. 1 pick in next year's draft Sunday when the Jets improved to 2-13 by upsetting the Browns.
The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead on the game's opening possession on Aldrick Rosas' 26-yard field goal, capping a 12-play, 71-yard drive.
The Bears responded by taking a 7-3 lead with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Trubisky's 5-yard touchdown pass to Graham with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bears had a chance to make it 14-3 on their second possession, with a first-and-goal at the Jaguars' 1. But Cole Kmet was dropped for a three-yard loss and the Bears eventually were forced to settle for Santos' 20-yard field goal, increasing their lead to 10-3.
The Jaguars answered with a 10-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by Glennon's 20-yard touchdown pass to receiver D.J. Chark, who high-pointed the ball over rookie Kindle Vildor.
The Bears had another golden opportunity to score late in the first half. But on first-and-10 from the Jacksonville 13, Trubisky scrambled to his right and threw an ill-advised pass into a crowd of players that was intercepted by linebacker Joe Schobert with :24 left in the half.
Two plays later, the Bears got the ball back as Smith picked off a Glennon pass and returned it nine yards to the Jaguars' 34.
The turnover set up Santos' 40-yard field goal, giving the Bears a 13-10 lead as time expired in the first half.
The Bears opened the second half with four straight touchdown drives, outscoring the Jaguars 28-0. Third-quarter TDs came on 6-yard runs by Trubisky and Montgomery and a 22-yard pass from Trubisky to Graham.
"A lot of it started up front," Trubisky said, "just the O-line creating holes for the running backs, giving me time to make decisions and get the ball to our playmakers. And then on top of that, our defense was lights out in the third quarter with some three-and-outs, getting the ball back for us and giving them absolutely nothing on offense."
Trubisky's second TD pass of the game to Graham was set up by Smith's second interception of the day. Smith picked off the Glennon pass after it was deflected to him by fellow linebacker Danny Trevathan.
The Bears extended their lead to 41-10 on rookie Artavis Pierce's 3-yard TD run before the Jaguars cut it to 41-17 on Glennon's 34-yard TD pass to Laviska Shenault.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.