Riding a five-game winning streak, Bears preach the power of belief
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Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch was out with a concussion when the Bears faced the Lions on Thanksgiving and watched the game from his couch.
Even then, he couldn’t believe his good fortune.
‘‘I’ve never been on a team in the NFL where I was like, ‘Wow, there’s no way we can lose any games,’ ’’ he said.
In four seasons with the 49ers, Lynch went through runs in which the team lost 13, nine, four and three consecutive games. He once went three calendar years without the 49ers winning back-to-back games.
The Bears, meanwhile, are on a five-game winning streak heading into their game Sunday against the Giants. It’s foreign territory for Lynch — and for anyone associated with the Bears in recent years. When the Bears won three NFC North games in 12 days, they matched the number of division victories John Fox accrued in his three seasons as their coach.
Something special is happening, left tackle Charles Leno Jr. said.
‘‘It’s not anything you can describe,’’ he said. ‘‘You just feel it, you sense it and you know it. It’s the way we interact with each other. It’s the way we compete in practice.’’
Trust begets winning begets belief.
‘‘Once we got to a point where we felt like we could trust each other and we knew we would make plays for each other, I think the winning just fell into place,’’ defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said.
Tight end Trey Burton, who won a Super Bowl last season with the Eagles, searched for words to describe the feeling.
‘‘Confidence, swag,’’ he said. ‘‘Just knowing. Believing in your teammates. Truly believing that, regardless of the situation, they’re going to make it work.’’
Regardless of who is on the field.
During their winning streak, the Bears have played four games without guard Kyle Long, who went on injured reserve with an ankle injury after the victory against the Jets. They also played two games without outside linebacker Khalil Mack and receiver Allen Robinson. The three are among the Bears’ four highest-paid players, in terms of salary-cap hit, this season.
The Bears’ victory on Thanksgiving came without quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is expected to miss his second consecutive start Sunday with an injured right shoulder. Chase Daniel again will start in his place.
In recent seasons, the absence of the starting quarterback would have been considered a roadblock. This season, however, players consider it a mere speed bump.
That’s the power of belief.
‘‘I think it’s a huge part of it either way,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘When you’re winning, [you have] the confidence in yourself and what you’re doing — believing in what you’re doing, believing in your coaches, believing good things are going to happen.
‘‘I think that’s so important for anybody in any sport — or, really, in life and what you’re going to do. As long as you believe in it, then good things will happen.’’
Nagy was the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs when they went 39 days without a victory last season, then followed that by winning four consecutive games to reach the playoffs.
‘‘When you’re on a losing streak, there’s not that belief, there’s not that conviction, and you start self-doubting,’’ he said. ‘‘You get into that mold, and you don’t want that. So every [victory] that you get, it gets easier and easier to have that trust and confidence and teamwork working together.’’
That’s a new feeling around Halas Hall.
‘‘I think it’s just momentum, man, positive momentum,’’ Burton said. ‘‘It’s just that atmosphere that’s been created here.’’