To paraphrase Mark Twain, “reports of the Chicago Bears demise are greatly exaggerated.” The performance that took place Thursday night in front of a national television audience will should send positive vibes throughout the Bears fan base and more importantly, concern throughout the NFC and the NFL as a whole. Mitchell Trubisky continued to improve by leaps and bounds from earlier in the season and the defense silenced one of the top offenses in the NFL for practically the entire game. This Bears team is coming to life at the right time and gathering momentum as they continue their push to the playoffs in defeating Dallas 31-24.

Defensively, the Bears lost yet another starter when Roquan Smith went down with a pectoral injury early in the 1st quarter. Just as he was coming off his most productive game of the season and re-establishing himself as a tackling machine on the defense, his injury knocked Smith out of the game for what looks to be the rest of the season. Matt Nagy’s post game comments leaned toward Smith being done for the season. While Nagy’s tone was somber, he perked up talking about the outstanding job Kevin Pierre-Louis did filling in for Smith. KPL played like a man with his hair on fire and had his name called consistently on tackles, pass break ups, coverage, and when applying pressure to Dak Prescott. Can the Bears continue a high level of defensive effort with a linebacking duo of Nick Kwitkowski and Kevin Pierre-Louis? We shall see, but Chuck Pagano and company have done an admirable job of making adjustments both in game and week-to-week in attacking opponents weaknesses, but also providing help where needed. With the potential return of Akiem Hicks next week and beyond, the Bears could possibly be down their starting linebackers for the rest of the season, but still make a push deep into the playoffs. While they didn’t generate any turnovers, the defense dominated the Cowboys after their opening drive of 17 plays and 75 yards that resulted in a touchdown. After that initial drive to start the game, the Cowboys had four drives that ended in : punt, punt, missed field goal, and the end of the half.

At that point the offense had asserted themselves and built a 17-7 halftime lead on two Trubisky touchdown passes to Allen Robinson II and a 36 yard field goal by Eddy Piniero. Though he had an early interception, Trubisky looked and performed like a seasoned veteran at quarterback. He was decisive in his reads, spread the ball among the receivers, tight ends, and running backs, and when necessary, ran the ball similarly to the Trubisky of last season. He played fast, and he looked good playing fast. There was a definite air of confidence surrounding the offense and it was reflected in their execution of the game plan. Nagy was spot on in his play calling and before you had a chance to look up at the scoreboard, the Bears were ahead 31-14. It doesn’t get more balanced than the 34 runs and 33 pass plays that were called but it was Trubisky’s ability to efficiently run the option plays that not only resulted in his best ground game of the season, but more than helped open up the passing lanes as well. While his overall numbers (23-31, 244, 3-1) weren’t better than last week, his confidence and moxie was at its peak for all to see and take notice. This Cowboys defense came into the game ranked 8th overall and the Bears moved the ball in the air and on the ground at will for a majority of the game.

The Bears now have ten days to rest and prepare for the next big test on the road to the playoffs: Green Bay at Lambeau Field. While the rest of the league and talking heads may continue not be sold on the Bears, this team isn’t listening to anyone outside of their locker room. You better believe they are going to come out fired up next week in Green Bay and prove to the league they are for real. Bear Down Baybee!!! Bear the $%&! Down!!!