It wasn’t Ali-Frazier, Hagler-Hearns, or Clay-Liston.
It wasn’t really billed as David vs Goliath, although it was more like David vs Dalvin. Montgomery vs Cook that is.
The Bears’ 2019 third-round draft pick out gained and out scored the top running back in the NFC to help keep his team’s playoffs hopes alive on the road in Minnesota. The 5-11, 222 pound runner from Iowa State had his second consecutive one hundred plus yard game. Montgomery has scored five touchdowns in his last three games, after crossing the goal line just once in the previous ten contests.
The re-energized offense has put the five game losing streak in the rear view mirror as they seek the seventh and final spot in the 2020 NFL playoffs. Right now, they are one game behind Arizona.
We really clicked and played well when we had to.-Matt Nagy
Nagy talked about Mitch Trubisky’s performance. “It was great to see the way he ran the offense all day today. I think he’s doing a really good job at just commanding the offense and making good decisions. He made some nice throws over the middle. The wide receivers and tight end made some great catches. All of that right now is a little bit of our identity that we’re clicking with. You have the threat of Mitch getting out on the edge and the play actions. You keep them off balance with that It’s all working in sync right now. When you watch, it’s working together.”
Trubisky concurred. “We’re excited. This is what you play for. You play for an opportunity to get into the playoffs. We had a bad streak going there. But we knew if we stuck together and battled as a family, and just kept leaning on each other, we knew we could make a run, and we put ourselves in a position to do so.The guys in the locker room are excited There’s really good camaraderie right now. An intensity and a focus that I like to see.”
The Bears’ signal caller also took note of the success of his newly minted star runner. “David’s a special running back. He runs with such great passion and will when he has the ball in his hands. Him and I both know that it all starts up front with this offensive line. The way they’re playing together, coming off the line, and creating those seems for him to run through. You get David in the open field he’s a special back. He’s going to make guys miss.Guys are going to bounce off of him. He runs harder than anyone I’ve seen in person.”
He’s having a special season. He was clutch for us today.-Mitch Trubisky on Cairo Santos
Nagy has told anyone who would listen that this team would find it’s identity. The subject came up again, as asked by Mark Potash of the Sun-Times why it took so long to reach that point. Nagy alluded to the rash of injuries to the offensive line. It’s also likely as mentioned in this column, that the missed games by Akiem Hicks also played a significant role. In addition, it seems likely that Robert Quinn, Khalil Mack, and Hicks need to be in sync, at the same time, which has finally occurred.
Nagy also honed in on the team’s outlook, “Confidence is very important. Our confidence is way up from earlier in the season. Where it just seemed like we were unsure of what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be. We have more of an identity now. It starts with running the football and then the play action and movement game that comes off of that. Just being efficient on first and second down. Guys are buying into it.There ‘s more passion and excitement at practice over the last few weeks. We feel like we keep getting better every single week. When you keep getting better and guys get more experience playing together, eleven as one. That’s when guys gain confidence.”
Probably the best game I’ve had in terms of the importance of the kicks, the distance of the kicks, and how much this game means.kicker Cairo Santos
Santos absolutely had one of his best game thus far, connecting on all four of his attempts, including a trio from 42 yards and beyond. He was locked in. The young Brazilian has cemented his place on Chicago’s special teams. Hopefully management will lock him down for the foreseeable future.
Allen Robinson also took note of the team’s momentum. “It’s big when anybody gets into that groove,” he said. “For us, we were able to get an identity established early in the game. As far as being able to get some running game going. Then we were able to run some play action off of that. So I thought we did a great job of keeping them off balance. We dictated the tempo of the game.”
It will be important to retain focus against Jacksonville. Nagy cautioned everyone to take note of the the winless Jets victory over the Rams. “We fought through a losing streak. We’re currently on a two-game win streak. But that means nothing. After that sixth game that we lost, we talked about that we have four games that are guaranteed to us. And all we can do is try every way possible to win four. Now we’ve won two, but you can’t get to four without three. Jacksonville has been in some battles now. They’ve been in a lot of tight games. This team is fighting and they’re playing hard, and we know that. The last thing we’re going to do is look past anybody.”