After teetering on the edge of irrelevance by losing two straight and three of their previous four games, the Bears played themselves back into the NFC playoff race with their 45-28 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
It was a win that did more than just put the Bears at 7-6 and in a virtual tie with the Detroit Lions at the top of the NFC North, thanks to the Lions’ collapse against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
“That just gives us hope that we can kind of control what we do to put us back in the race,” said cornerback Tim Jennings. "We’re not really worried about anyone else. We've got to kind of win out so we can control our own destiny. It feels good to be back in the hunt.”
Suddenly the Bears go from the brink of extinction to within a realistic chance to regain the division lead that they lost with their first loss to the Lions back in Week 4.
The Lions draw the Baltimore Ravens in Detroit next Monday night, the Ravens who have won three straight since their loss to the Bears. The Bears go to Cleveland, which has lost four straight despite some nice performances by former Bears quarterback Jason Campbell.
Not far behind, the Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) have a decision to make with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his broken collarbone.
That is really not high on the Bears’ minds as of Monday night.
“Through wins and losses,” coach Marc Trestman said, “even after a very difficult and disappointing loss last week (at Minnesota), we found out a lot more about ourselves. That’s what this is all about: To find out what we’re all about.”