MONDAY MORNING GLORY: How much longer will 'THEY' deny the Bears?

USATSI

USATSI

What more do you have to do to earn respect? Field the most dominant team in the NFL? Hold the NFL’s top offense to six points and zero touchdowns? Go from worst-to-first in the span of a year? Exorcise your demons against THAT team and THAT quarterback? The one who made it a point to remind everyone how much success he’s had in your home crib.

What else do the Chicago Bears have to do for the nation to consider them as a legitimate Super Bowl contender?

The Monsters reclaimed the NFC North for the first time in eight years on Sunday, beating the Green Bay Packers 24-17. The game was never a certainty for the Bears; a ridiculous fake punt failed at midfield, giving Packers QB Aaron Rodgers good field position and setting themselves up for the game-tying touchdown & two-point conversion. On the next Chicago drive, Tarik Cohen coughed up the football deep in Packer territory, handing the knife back to the surgeon that has carved up this franchise up game-after-game for most of the last decade.

All of a sudden, serenity suddenly turned into panic. The familiar feeling of impending doom started to creep up from behind the loyal Bears fanbase, starving for success after four-straight seasons of putrid, last-place finishes.

But while Packers fans stood by with smug looks on their faces, anticipating another comeback win from their arrogant gunslinger, there was just one problem…

No one told the Bears defense they should be worried.

“We don’t know how to quit,” said Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks post-game. “There’s so many guys in this room that care about one another and have bought into what we’re trying to build here and want this to be a great team… that when we’re up against the wall, we’re gonna keep fighting.”

Leonard Floyd, the second first rounder taken during the Ryan Pace era, sacked Rodgers on the following play, and the defense held for a 3-and-out on that drive. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky then lead the Bears on a five-play, 45-yard drive capped off with a Trey Burton touchdown that put Chicago ahead for good.

“I’m most proud of the type of guys we have in our locker room, the culture we’ve created,” said Trubisky, who bounced back from the worst game of his career a week ago against the Rams and completed 20-of-28 passes for 235, two touchdowns and no interceptions. “We know that nobody really believed in us on the outside in the preseason or even throughout the season, but we know what type of team we had.”

The defense held serve, picking off Rodgers in the endzone - his first in 402 passing attempts, FOX wouldn’t fail to remind you - and sealing a division crown for the Bears. It was a fairytale moment for the city of Chicago, long haunted by number 12 and his penchant for sucking the hope from the hearts of those who bleed orange and blue. This is how it had to happen. This is how the Bears needed to win the division. This is how they needed to show the nation that Chicago can compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

Alas, what was the biggest story on NFL Gameday Prime that night?

“What is the Bears biggest liability?”

What more must they do to prove to the Shannon Sharpe’s and the Stephen A. Smith’s of the world that they belong?

A week ago, the narrative from national media was that the Rams don’t play well in the cold, but in reality, Vic Fangio devised the perfect gameplan to stop an explosive LA Rams offense (one that the Eagles duplicated last night). During the week, it was how the Cowboys are more dangerous in the playoffs than the Bears. Yes, that same Dallas Cowboys team that laid a goose egg in Indianapolis on Sunday. This week, it’s how Trubisky is the “weak link” that will hold the Bears back. Soon enough, they will run out of red herrings, and they’ll have to admit the truth: the Bears have the George Halas trophy, and a trip to Atlanta, well within reach.

All they have to do is take it.

QUICK HITS

George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers won’t be playing in January, but they just got a huge win on Sunday over a Seattle Seahawks team fighting for a wild card spot. You’d think Kittle would be on cloud nine, but really, he was trying to hurry the fuck up and get to San Jose for Sunday’s WWE TLC show.

First off, that shirt is fucking fire. As a lover of wrestling tees, vintage and new, I commend his style choice. You can never go wrong with a Stone Cold Steve Austin tee. It’s the Ol’ Reliable of pro wrestling tees! You know when you wear one, you’re gonna receive tons of compliments not just from fans, but normal people who stopped watching wrestling when they realized in fifth grade that they liked girls, but damn that Stone Cold Steve Austin was a mean sumbitch wasn’t he?!

Also, I understand it… Priorities first. Why do I wanna be here answering all these stupid ass questions to help some writer from The Athletic write his post-game recap when Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte are about to tear each others faces off in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match and I’M ALREADY LATE?!?!?!?!?! Fuck your questions bruh bruh, I need to get to these ringside seats ASAP!