Bears’ 36-7 trampling of Texans is nice, but it changes nothing about their future
The victory doesn’t signify much for the long term, but it does keep a worthwhile goal in play for the season.
Welcome to fantasyland.
It’s a world where everything the Bears do works out beautifully, Mitch Trubisky flings the ball all over the field to near-perfection, the running game roars and the defense hits like a blizzard.
The Bears finally found a more inept opponent and squashed the Texans 36-7 on Sunday in a vacation from their otherwise-dreary season. It’s nice to win, especially after losing six games in a row, but don’t get carried away. Vacations always end, and pounding on one of the NFL’s worst teams doesn’t change how badly this team needs a rebuild.
The one part of it that’s real, however, is that it keeps the rest of the season interesting.
The NFC playoffs are still on the table for the Bears, and making a run at them is a worthwhile endeavor for both the team and those who watch it. The Bears stayed one game behind the Cardinals for the seventh spot and pulled even with the Vikings, whom they visit next week.
‘‘It’s just a start,’’ said coach Matt Nagy, who seemed testy despite earning a week off from being asked whether he’s worried about getting fired. ‘‘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.’’
Other than staying alive in the playoff chase, what the Bears did to the Texans doesn’t mean much. To Nagy’s credit, at least he had the good sense not to gloat about it.
There’s a reason Trubisky posted his highest passer rating (126.7) since hammering the Lions last November. His big day — 24-for-33, 267 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers — was reminiscent of when he blew away the pitiful Buccaneers with six touchdown passes in 2018.
There’s a reason David Montgomery ran for more yards — 80 — on the Bears’ first offensive play than he has in all but three games this season and hit 113 yards for the day. There’s a reason the pass rush suddenly started flooding the backfield with seven sacks, five other quarterback hits and a safety after getting pummeled the last two weeks.
‘‘I think we really needed that as a team,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘It feels like all the work is starting to pay off.’’
The whole city wants that to be true, but the main thing the game confirmed is that the Texans are awful. A lot of teams had great days against them this season.
‘‘In pregame, I had a sense of the vibe and the energy of where we were,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘It felt good.’’
He always says stuff like that. Has Nagy ever gone into a game and gotten a bad vibe from practice or warmups? Doubtful. That good energy was derived, in part, from the Texans allowing the ninth-most points per game and yielding the NFL’s highest opponent passer rating this season.
So as Nagy talked about ‘‘starting to create an identity’’ offensively 13 games into the season, the necessary question is whether that supposed foundation will hold up against teams that haven’t given up already.
Pointing out reality isn’t fun, but circumstances matter.
Fun: The Bears have scored 91 points in their last three games.
Reality: Most of their points against the Packers were in garbage time, and they feasted on bottom-10 defenses against the Lions and Texans.
Had they done anything even remotely resembling this against a decent team, it would be easier to take them seriously.
The upside is that the Bears don’t have to face a decent team until the Packers arrive at Soldier Field for the season finale. Until then, they only have to beat their evil twin (the Vikings) and Florida’s version of the Texans (the Jaguars).
Those teams allow even more points than the Texans, and the Jaguars are just one spot ahead of them in opponent passer rating. Nagy will feel some good vibes before those games, too.
‘‘We don’t care who we play or whatever the situation is; we’re going to fight to the end,’’ linebacker Danny Trevathan said. ‘‘I feel like our defense is rolling [and] our offense is picking it up [like] crazy. I knew it would happen. Perfect timing. We’ve just gotta keep it rolling one game at a time.’’
Calling it ‘‘perfect timing’’ is a little bit of a reach. October would’ve been perfect timing.
The real issues for the Bears go well beyond this season. They need to reconstruct their entire operation, from the team president down to the offensive line, but it’s not time for that yet. For now, they’re aiming for the playoffs, and a thorough takedown of the Texans was a good step toward getting there.
If the Bears win their next two and go into the game against the Packers with a playoff berth on the line, that’s all anyone reasonably can ask of them at this point.
Then comes the much-needed demolition.