CHICAGO — In the more-you-can-do department, Bears running back/receiver/return specialist Tarik Cohen has carved out another new niche — as postgame emcee and victory party DJ. Thus Sunday’s celebration at Soldier Field, the Bears’ third in as many weeks, left Cohen searching for just the right jam to get the home locker room appropriately lit.
“We had ‘My Dawg’ by Lil Baby going,” Cohen said. “And we were all just looking at Mitch like, ‘That’s my dawg.’ Because he balled today.”
Who could argue? After a 48-10 thrashing of the Buccaneers, there was little question that second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was the toast of the locker room and the talk of Chicago. In his first truly special performance as a Bear, Trubisky threw five first-half touchdown passes and six for the game. He made good decisions and a series of terrific throws. He threw for 354 yards, ran for 53 and gave the Bears a 3-1 record.
And the Bears, in turn, gave a rejuvenated home crowd a glimpse into their potential.
“This shows us what we can be consistently,” Cohen said. “And that’s really what we’re putting our big emphasis on right now. Consistency. Learning to do this week in and week out.”
Added Khalil Mack: “We’ve got the potential to do something special. It’s a cool vibe here right now.”
What an afternoon. What a month, really.
Pause for a second, Bears fans, and take yourself back to the last day of August. The Bears had completed a marathon preseason the night before. (And who could ever forget that 28-27 loss to the Bills at Soldier Field?) Final cuts were ahead. And at the time, the greatest curiosities surrounded whether Aaron Lynch and Marcus Cooper would make the 53-man roster. The Bears seemed like an ordinary team with limited breakthrough potential.
Now imagine if someone could have told you about the series of scintillating September surprises that awaited the Bears.
On the first day of the month, the general manager traded for one of the top five defensive stars in the league.
On the final day, the franchise quarterback threw six TD passes — to five receivers.
In the 28 days in between, the Bears came to life as a team full of playmakers, a united bunch with a think-big mentality. They put together their first three-game winning streak in more than five years. They put their claws into first place in the NFC North.
September’s lone blemish? A loss at Lambeau Field in which the Bears actually led the Packers by 20 points in the second half.
Circle Sunday as the day fun officially returned to Soldier Field. Not since 2013 had there been such a contagious pregame buzz pulsing off the lakefront. And not since December 1980 had the Bears rewarded their home fans with a win so lopsided.
Sunday’s blowout was a complete performance in every way. In addition to Trubisky’s explosion, Cohen and Taylor Gabriel each topped 100 receiving yards. Trey Burton opened the scoring with a beautiful 39-yard touchdown catch. Mack had his fourth strip-sack in as many weeks. The Bears defense contributed four sacks and three more takeaways.
Eddie Jackson, who had a second-quarter interception himself, took a moment to appreciate the positive energy spreading through his home stadium. Jackson hasn’t been around long and has had to live through only one of the Bears’ four consecutive last-place finishes. Still, there he was after Sunday’s game telling rookie cornerback Kevin Toliver how different Sunday felt.
“This is new,” Jackson acknowledged. “When I got here last year, you could feel the energy was down. We were losing games. Now you can feel it’s turning around. And everybody has hope. We’re not even thinking about losses right now. We’re thinking about how we can continue this.”
Through four games, the Bears have had eight offensive players reach the end zone and 13 defensive players record either a sack or a takeaway. Suddenly, they seem to have a roster with few glaring holes.
And if Trubisky continues to play at anywhere near the level he reached Sunday, the Bears have every reason to dream big. For the rest of this season and the half-decade beyond it.
Mack called Trubisky’s performance Sunday “real special” and said he knew it was coming. Mack said he could see it in Trubisky’s face. He could feel it in his demeanor.
“He’s a very, very, very competitive dude. And a special talent. And you seen that today. … From here on out, that’s what you want to see.”
If the regular season’s first month could include so many spectacular surprises, who knows what the next three might hold.