The Bears' six-game losing streak is over.
Nearly two months removed from their last victory, a 23-16 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 6, the Bears were able to control a game from start to finish and record their most lopsided victory in two years, beating the Houston Texans 36-7.
After facing a bevy of criticism over the past seven weeks—especially after last week's loss to the Detroit Lions—coach Matt Nagy felt that the game against the Texans would be different.
"I thought in pregame, I had a sense of the vibe and the energy of where we were," said Nagy. "It felt good. For those guys, I wasn't sure how it was gonna go, but they proved it. All three phases played together. This is the first time all year that we've had that."
It has been more than a year since the Bears won by more than seven points, but on Sunday, a resurgent defense matched with a proficient offense to deliver a win without caveats.
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky turned in a compelling performance, completing 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. However, Trubisky's most crucial stat line may have been his complete lack of turnovers.
The Bears entered halftime with a 30-7 lead. In one half, the offense had matched its highest point total in any game this season.
"All in all, I thought the first half was really good," said Nagy. "We talked about finishing in the second half. I thought our offense was very efficient in the first half. We got touchdowns when we needed to—it started obviously with the first play from scrimmage and David [Montgomery] having an 80-yard touchdown run."
Montgomery finished with 113 yards on only 11 carries while also contributing 42 yards on three catches. The Bears totaled 169 yards on the ground, their highest total since Week 17 of the 2018 season.
Nagy believed that Montgomery's touchdown on the first offensive play set the tone for the team for the rest of the game.
"Anytime you score an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game," said Nagy, "and you get seven points and your line blocks, your quarterback makes the right decision, your wide receivers block, and then your running back finishes, you get a 7-nothing lead, it's a pretty cool deal. We want to keep that going, and I think that helped us get going along with the defense playing fast."
Success built on success. With the Texans keying in on Montgomery to avoid another long run, Trubisky was able to lead the team down the field with a series of short and intermediate throws. The quarterback spread the ball around, completing at least two passes to six different receivers.
Receiver Allen Robinson II crossed 1,000 receiving yards on the season in a nine-catch, 123-yard performance that included a touchdown in the waning seconds of the first half. Rookie tight end Cole Kmet continued to play a larger role in the offense with four catches for 41 yards.
"We were getting a lot of third downs early in the season," said Nagy. "We're not now. We're scoring points. There's a confidence right now in this offense. That part I appreciate, from these players of saying, 'You know what, we're gonna figure this thing out. We're gonna get it.' So, that's happened there."
Nagy drew attention to the success the team had in all three phases. After back-to-back lackluster performances, the defense came alive against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, recording seven sacks, including a safety forced by outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
Watson had some early success with his feet, but the defense adjusted and kept him in check after the Texans' lone scoring drive.
"When you do that, and then you get a lead," said Nagy, "you're able to kinda pin your ears back and let the guys we have up front go after the quarterback. That's what happens. It accumulates over time. It's kinda like body shots. The bigger a lead that you get, the more you can see that. And then they become one-dimensional."
The energy that Nagy felt before the game seemed to spread to the coaching staff, which saw success in play-calling that has eluded the Bears for most of the past two seasons.
"I thought our coaches did a hell of a job," said Nagy, "all of us communicating and being able to talk through what we like, and then the players gotta execute it."
The Bears have an outside shot at the playoffs, though the six-game losing streak has shut most avenues to the postseason. However, Nagy can appreciate the change in vibe that the first blowout in two seasons brings.
"It's been awhile," said Nagy, "but when you go through moments like this, you stay resilient, and you stay persistent, and you trust in one another. That's what we've done. We're going to use that moving forward. I just appreciate that from everybody."
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Texans in Chicago.