Bernstein: Dominant Bears provide rare bright spot

The Bears produced a complete performance in a 36-7 rout of the Texans on Sunday.

(670 The Score) I forgot that we were allowed to not be miserable on Sunday -- or at least to put off the feeling for enough time to be distracted by how well the Bears actually played.

But our long local nightmare is over, the Bears' alarming six-game losing streak ended with a 36-7 victory over the beleaguered Houston Texans that was -- it's OK, you can say it -- impressive.

Here now are the perfunctory stipulations required to inoculate against any number of entirely valid counterpoints arguing that this was merely the kind of dead-cat bounce typical in the NFL. The Texans were playing without two starting receivers and their top running back and came in allowing opposing quarterbacks the highest passer efficiency rating in the league and surrendering 100-yard rushing totals to the most individual backs. They're also in some organizational disarray, with an interim coach finishing the string while the search for a general manager goes on, all against a backdrop of byzantine executive drama that involves the strange story of Jack Easterby, the unqualified flim-flam artist who has weaseled close to the owner like Grigori Rasputin did with Tsar Nicholas II. All of that is to agree that beating this Houston team right now isn't exactly a towering achievement.

One win doesn't change the direction of the Bears' arrow, either. It doesn't make everything else suddenly OK.

Still, there were so many good things to see.

Mitchell Trubisky responded to a full week of further forensic dissection of the 2017 draft by posting one of his very best games as a pro, outshining Deshaun Watson for a day by completing 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 126.7 passer rating. He was on time and on target, helped by play-calling from Bill Lazor that moved the pocket and gave him half-field reads, allowing him to find receivers both schemed open and in favorable matchups. Allen Robinson was his usual spectacular self with nine catches for 123 yards and a score, Jimmy Graham caught a signature end zone post-up, Darnell Mooney scampered in on a play that was blocked in textbook fashion and Cole Kmet continued noticeable improvement with four receptions for 41 yards and some determined running after the catch.

It looked promising from the outset when David Montgomery burst through a massive hole, stiff-armed one tackler and had enough speed to hold off any others for an 80-yard touchdown that was the longest by a Bear since a Neal Anderson run in 1988. Montgomery accounted for 155 of their 410 yards from scrimmage, with 113 on the ground and 42 more in the passing game.

The defense also made plays in the way we had once been so accustomed. Despite yet another appearance on the injury report, Khalil Mack filled the stat sheet with a sack and a forced fumble and the ensuing recovery, and he nearly intercepted a pass right out of Watson's hand. He and Roquan Smith collaborated on a safety too, and Smith added two of the six total sacks, as did Mario Edwards Jr. They were hitting hard from the first series, rallying to the ball and securing tackles. The pass rush also served to highlight Watson's mercurial elusiveness, as he danced away from so many situations that would've stymied a lesser athlete.

And there may be some irony in the fact that Cairo Santos has now made 21 of his 23 field-goal attempts.

So is anybody now miraculously un-fired?  Probably not.  But the Bears are weird and insular with these things, so there are no guarantees that major changes won't be forestalled by a late snap-back to competence, if it were to continue.

If anything, though, such a complete performance can make it all the more maddening that they've been so few and far between, with positive efforts too often undone by avoidable mistakes, missed opportunities and unfortunate decisions.

We've been conditioned to expect as much in the last two months, and when the clouds break like they did Sunday, we can't be faulted for asking where all this has been.

Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.

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