The John Fox era is coming to an end in Chicago. All those “what-if” scenarios about the Bears winning out after dominating the Bengals can be put to bed after Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of the Lions. So for my first post on DBB I’m going to look back and reflect on the three best and three worst games of the John Fox era.
Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom, I’ll start with the good. As of writing this John Fox only has 13 wins as Bears coach; three of which came when Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley were under center. So really I’m looking at 10 games here. Slim pickings, but you work with what you’ve got.
#3. November 15th, 2015
Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams: Chicago 37, St. Louis 13.
This win marks the second biggest margin of victory of any Bears win under Fox. It followed a thrilling comeback win in San Diego against the Chargers the previous week, making it the second time that season the Bears managed to string two wins together in a row. (They have never managed three in a row under Fox.) Jay Cutler went 19/24 with 3 TDs, no turnovers, and a career high passer rating of 151.0. It was decisive, dominant, and damn fun to watch. It put the Bears at 4-5, which after a 0-3 start was a happy surprise. You could see the improvement in the team, and more importantly, you could see that they were buying into John Fox’s message and methodology. It felt like it could be the beginning of more good things to come.
#2. October 31st, 2016
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: Chicago 20, Minnesota 10.
Coming into this game things weren’t great for the Bears or John Fox. Rumors that week circulated that Ryan Pace had hired outside consultants to evaluate day-to-day operations and that Fox was potentially one bad game away from being fired. Jay Cutler was returning from a thumb injury with many under the opinion he had fallen out of favor with Fox, and had Brian Hoyer not gotten hurt the previous week against the Packers, might not have returned as a starter at all.
Not to mention the Bears came into the game 1-6, the Vikings 5-1. Most people expected another primetime slaughter. Instead Cutler came out sharp and poised, Jordan Howard smashed through the Vikings imposing defense, Alshon Jeffery got his first touchdown of the season, and the Bears defense lit up Sam Bradford the whole night. The game was never out of the Bears hands, and even though their hopes for a playoff berth were all but dashed at 2-6, they were heading into a bye-week with a friendlier looking schedule ahead. Fans were hopeful the Bears could finish strong and build more momentum and excitement leading into the 2017 season.
#1. November 26th, 2015
Chicago @ Green Bay: Bears 17, Packers 13
You might disagree with me on the first two games, but without a doubt beating the Packers on Thanksgiving night in Lambeau Field, on the night they retired Brett Favre’s jersey, is the undisputed high point of John Fox’s tenure with the Chicago Bears. The game itself wasn’t very pretty, as evidenced by the score. It was cold, wet, and gritty, and the Bears were able to survive a last minute fourth quarter drive that saw Aaron Rodgers have 4 attempts inside the red zone to win the game. The Bears patchwork defense gutted it out, and thwarted one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
- This was Jay Cutler’s first (and only) win in Lambeau Field.
- It put the Chicago Bears at 5-6 for the season keeping them somewhat relevant in the playoff hunt.
- It set them up with 10 days to prepare for a home game against the woeful San Francisco 49ers, led by Blaine Gabbert, giving the Bears the very real possibility of getting to .500 on the season.
It was awesome, and it never got better for Fox than that night.
December 10th, 2017: Chicago @ Cincinnati: Bears 33, Bengals 7
Some of you might argue this game belongs in the top three. After all it was the widest margin of victory for the Bears of any game John Fox has coached. A pure beatdown. On top of that, rookies Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen, and Eddie Jackson all had great games. It gave fans an optimistic glimpse at what we hope to be a very promising future. Plus it was just good fun to watch this team win again. That said, this win happened in what I’d call the lame duck stage of Fox’s coaching career. The Bears are 4-10. They went right back to looking terrible (and terribly coached) the next week. This game was too little, too late from John Fox and his coaching staff, which is why I couldn’t justify a top three spot.