By: Alex Patt
The Chicago Bears have had a fair share of great wins and bad losses over the past two decades. Sadly there have been more bad losses than great wins, but each season usually features at least one win that is memorable. Even in the seasons they win as few as three or four games.
So without further ado lets go year-by-year from 2000-2019 and pick one win from a selected season that stands out the most.
2000: Bears 24 – Patriots 17
The early 2000s were most awful under head coach Dick Jauron and this season was no exception. 2000 was a very forgettable 5-11 season, though Brian Urlacher’s rookie year campaign was something to watch. They did not have a lot of great wins but this week 15 win at Soldier Field over Bill Belichick’s Patriots is at least a fun answer in the “Have the Bears ever beaten Belichick?” trivia game. Shane Matthews beat Drew Bledsoe with two touchdown passes and a 128.2 rating.
2001: Bears 27 – Browns 21 (OT)
One of the funnest flukes in recent Chicago history was the 2001 Bears. They won the division with a 13-3 record and won some crazy games. Week 8 against the Browns is an all-time great. Trailing 21-7 with less than a minute left most spectators at Soldier Field had exited the stands and hit the road, but the Bears were about to pull off a miracle.
Shane Matthews found Marty Booker for a nine-yard touchdown to make it 21-14 (after the extra point) with 32 seconds left. Bears then recovered an on-side kick at mid-field with a chance to tie the game with seven points. With eight seconds left, Matthews threw a Hail Mary pass to the end zone which bounced around and ended up in hand of James Allen. Extra point was good and the game was tied at 21-21 heading into overtime.
For the second week in a row, the Bears won in when safety Mike Brown picked off the pass and took it into the end zone.The few fans left went nuts as Browns quarterback Tim Couch was left speechless. An incredible and improbable victory for the Bears.
2002: Bears 27 – Vikings 23
Reality settled in when 2002 rolled around and the team was once again a bottom-feeder. It was still a unique season as the Bears had to play at Memorial Stadium in Champaign because Soldier Field was being torn down and rebuilt that year. Their week one victory against division-rival Minnesota was a fun one. They erased 23-13 deficit in the fourth quarter and won it with 28 seconds left on a David Terrell touchdown pass from Jim Miller.
2003: Bears 19 – Broncos 10
This was a pretty mediocre season, which would be Jauron’s final season as head coach. The Bears would finish 7-9 and still well out of playoff contention. They had one win on the road that season which was against a pretty solid Denver Broncos team that made the playoffs that year. Paul Edinger kicked four field goals, including a 54 yarder as time expired in the first half. Only touchdown for the Bears was a Kordell Stewart one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the Bears ahead for good.
2004: Bears 21 – Packers 10
The game that would spark a little winning streak for the Bears at Lambeau Field in the mid-2000s came in week two in Lovie Smith’s first year as head coach. Brett Favre would be held to 252 yards and was picked off twice by the Bears defense. Biggest play of the game was a Mike Brown 95 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the first half. Brian Urlacher made the tackle and forced the fumble. Thomas Jones rushed for a one-yard touchdown run to make it 21-3 in the third quarter and the Bears held on after forcing Favre to turn it over on downs with 1:18 left.
2005: Bears 24 – Packers 17
Christmas Day was very merry for Chicago in 2005 when the Bears went up to Lambeau Field in week 16 and clinched the NFC North title. Sure the 2005 Packers were pretty awful, but beating Brett Favre felt good no matter what. Thomas Jones rushed for 105 yards including a touchdown run and Muhsin Muhammed caught a touchdown pass from Rex Grossman. The Bears defense picked off Favre four times in the game including a Lance Briggs pick-six in third quarter and a game-sealer with nine seconds left by Chris Harris. It was the first time since 1991 the Bears swept the Packers in a season.
2006: NFC Championship Game Bears 39 – Saints 14
For the first time since 1985 the Bears had punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a thrashing of the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field on January 21, 2007. Drew Brees, while throwing for over 300 yards, was sacked three times and picked off by Nathan Vasher. In total the Bears defense caused four Saints turnovers and even included a safety. Despite dominating most of the game, it was a very close score (18-14) going into the fourth quarter. However the Bears put up 21 points in the fourth, crushing any hopes the Saints had. Bernard Berrian made a ridiculous touchdown catch with Jones and Cedric Benson each pounding the ball into the end zone to put the game away and turn it into a laugher. Jones rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns total that afternoon.
It was off to Miami after the Bears sung their victory song in the snowy/rain mix at Soldier Field with the George Halas trophy. I know what you might be thinking, why not the amazing comeback in Arizona? While incredible, this game was for a trip to the Super Bowl.
2007: Bears 37 – Broncos 34 (OT)
Playing with fire is kicking to Devin Hester. The Broncos decided to play with fire at Soldier Field in week 12.
In a game that featured a Jay Cutler-led Broncos team, the Bears were looking to keep their slight playoff hopes alive. It was a high-scoring affair which saw Hester score two special teams touchdowns, one on a kick off return and one on a punt return. Hester totaled 232 special teams yards on ten returns. Even with the ridiculousness of Hester, the Bears still trailed 34-20 with just under six minutes to go. With 5:17 remaining, Adrian Peterson rushed four yards for a touchdown to make it a one score game and got the ball back after the defense got a big stop. With 28 seconds left on fourth down, Rex Grossman faded a ball to Bernard Berrian which he just held on to and kept is feet in bounds for a touchdown. Robbie Gould added the extra point and overtime would be needed to determine the winner.
Bears won the coin toss and got the ball to start overtime. Grossman’s 39 yard pass to Desmond Clark, a couple of Peterson runs and a holding call on Denver set up Robbie Gould for the game-winner from 39 yards out. He nailed it and the Bears completed the comeback win.
2008: Bears 20 – Packers 17 (OT)
In one of the coldest games in NFL history the Packers visited Soldier Field in a crucial week 16 game. While the Packers had nothing to play for, the Bears had playoff hopes on the line. This would also be the first career start at Soldier Field for Aaron Rodgers.
It started off horribly for the Bears as the Packers jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the second quarter and trailed by 11 at the half. Kyle Orton found Greg Olsen in the end zone in the third quarter to pull within 14-10, but early the fourth the Packers extended the lead to 17-10. Orton and rookie Matt Forte would lead the late fourth quarter charge and drive into the end zone with 3:11 left to tie it at 17. In the final minute it looked like the Packers were going to pull off the upset win when Mason Crosby lined up for a 38 yard field goal with 25 seconds left. Alex Brown went up and blocked the kick which sent Soldier Field into a frenzy. Overtime would settle the score.
Bears won the toss and got the ball. With a 17 yard catch by Olsen and 14 yard screen pass to Forte, the Bears once again set up Robbie Gould to win the game. 38 yards out, Gould once again won it and pushed the Bears to 9-6.
2009: Bears 36 – Vikings 30 (OT)
Jay Cutler’s first season as a Bear was incredibly disappointing as they finished 7-9. However the epic Monday Night Football match between the Bears and Vikings was a Bears game for the ages.
Brett Favre’s Vikings were already in the playoffs, but they were still playing for home field in the NFC playoffs. Bears were 5-9 and wanted to make Favre’s one last run at a Super Bowl more difficult. The Bears came out blazing and jumped to a 16-0 lead at the half. Greg Oslen recorded a touchdown pass and Robbie Gould kicked three field goals. The second half saw the Vikings battle back from a 23-6 deficit late in the third. Adrian Peterson rushed for two touchdowns with the second being a game-tying score late in the fourth quarter. Though one of the Vikings touchdowns saw a key missed extra point by Ryan Longwell. After Cutler connected with Earl Bennett for a 20 yard touchdown pass the Vikings tied it again at 30 with a Sidney Rice six yard touchdown catch with 16 seconds left. Overtime we go.
Bears had the first chance to win it with a 41 yard attempt by Robbie Gould, but uncharacteristically he missed. The defense stopped the Vikings and got the ball back…only to go three and out. The game-defining moment came when Hunter Hillenmeyer forced Peterson to fumble and Nich Roach recovered. It all ended when Cutler threw a 39 yard bomb to Devin Aromashodu to win it.
2010: Bears 40 – Vikings 14
A historic game for a number of reasons on both sides. For the Bears, the win would clinch them the NFC North crown and see Devin Hester return his 14th career punt return for a touchdown. For the Vikings, it was played at TFC Bank Stadium because the old Metrodome roof collapsed due to snowfall. This was also the final game of Brett Favre’s career. In the second quarter Corey Wootton sacked Favre for a loss of 12 and he came out of the game. He never played another down in the NFL again.
The rest of the game was just a much better Bears team blowing out a bad Vikings team. Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes and Matt Forte rushed for 92 yards. The defense forced five Vikings turnovers. Bears celebrated their first NFC North title sine 2006.
2011: Bears 30 – Eagles 24
The 2011 Bears had a dang good team and were primed to make the playoffs…until everyone got hurt and those dreams were dashed. When they were riding high earlier in the season they won a big game in Philadelphia against Michael Vick and the Eagles, which seemed like a statement game at the time.
After leading 17-10 at half time, the Bears defense got rolled over by Ronnie Brown and LeSean McCoy and suddenly the Eagles were up 24-17. With 21 seconds left in the third the Bears inched closer on a Robbie Gould field goal. Then the Bears took the lead back in the fourth quarter on a five yard Jay Cutler pass to Earl Bennett. The defense stood their ground and did not let the Eagles get anything the rest of the way. Gould added anther field goal late for insurance and the Bears went on to win.
2012: Bears 34 – Cowboys 18
The first half of the 2012 Bears season saw a team that looked like they could make a run to the Super Bowl. Sadly that was all for not, but that initial 7-1 stretch included a massive defensive win in Dallas in week four against Tony Romo and the Cowboys. The main highlight of this game was the Bears defense picking off Romo FIVE times! Players who recorded these picks included: Major Wright (2), D.J. Moore, Lance Briggs, and Peanut Tillman. Two of the picks were for touchdowns (Briggs and Tillman recorded those). Jay Cutler threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, one to Devin Hester and the other to Brandon Marshall. “Jerry World” felt like “Soldier Field South” that night with the thousands of Bears fans cheering in the stands.
2013: Bears 45 – Cowboys 28
Second year in a row putting a win against the Cowboys on this list. This time it was at Soldier Field in in week 14. Romo’s squad would face Bears backup Josh McCown with Jay Cutler being hurt. The Bears offense would shred the Cowboys defense apart. The highlight of the game was Alshon Jeffery making a ridiculous catch in the back of the end zone with seconds left in the first half on a 25 yard throw by McCown. This put the Bears up 24-14. In the second half the Bears scored 18 unanswered points and put the game away. McCown finished with 348 rushing yards, four touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown of his own. Jeffery and Brandon Marshall combined for receiving 184 yards with Matt Forte rushing for 102. In total five different Bears got into the end zone.
2014: Bears 28 – 49ers 20
Screw this season. Ugh.
Though the win for the Bears against the 49ers at brand new Levi’s Stadium was pretty epic. Heavy underdogs going in the Bears would find themselves trailing 20-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Would anyone watching guess the Bears would put up 21 unanswered points? Doubt it, but that is exactly what the Bears did.
Early in the fourth Jay Cutler connected with Brandon Marshall in the end zone to make it 20-14. Then Colin Kaepernick was picked off by rookie Kyle Fuller on the next play to set them up in the red zone. First play was a Cutler three yard pass to Martellus Bennett for a touchdown to give the Bears a 21-20 lead. Next 49ers drive…Fuller picks off Kaepernick again. Marshall would record a hat trick with this third touchdown of the game with 6:55 left. In the final minutes Kaepernick drove the 49ers into the red zone but the Bears defense stopped him on fourth down to seal the win.
2015: Bears 17 – Packers 13
The 2015 Thanksgiving night game on NBC featured the heavily favored Packers facing the Bears at Lambeau Field. Brett Favre was being honored that night and fans of the 4-6 Bears were just hoping their team would not get totally embarrassed.
Packers get the first touchdown, Bears answer with a Jay Cutler three yard pass to Zach Miller in the end zone. Packers take lead back on a Mason Crosby field goal, Bears answer with a Jeremy Langford one yard rushing touchdown. Another Crobsy field goal makes it 14-13 with the Bears clinging to a one point lead going into the half.
Whatever, plenty of time for Aaron Rodgers to work his magic right? Nope! The Bears defense allowed zero point the entire second half and even saw Tracy Porter picking off Rodgers late in the game. The only scoring was a Robbie Gould field goal to make it 17-13 early in the fourth quarter. It did look like Rodgers was going to break Bears fans hearts yet again in the final minutes as he drove into the red zone, but the defense buckled down. The final play of the game was a fourth down desperation pass from Rodgers to the end zone that was tipped away by Porter. Cutler recorded his only win in Green Bay and got to eat a big turkey dinner as Rodgers lost the Bears for the first time since 2010.
2016: Bears 20 – Vikings 10
In one of the most forgettable seasons in recent memory, one of their three measly wins came in unexpected dominating fashion against the Vikings on Halloween night at Soldier Field. Jay Cutler was returning from injury to face Sam Bradford and a ferocious Vikings defense. Bradford was held to 228 yards and was sacked five times by the Bears defense. Meanwhile rookie Jordan Howard ran for 153 yards and scored a touchdown and Cutler threw for 252 yards with a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery. The Vikings never had a lead in the game and scored their lone touchdown with 5:41 left.
This game was pretty much forgotten about in Chicago a few days later when the Cubs won the World Series.
2017: Bears 17 – Panthers 3
This game somewhat helped put the young Bears defense on the map. The two big plays of this game were both made by rookie Eddie Jackson. His 75 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and 76 yard pick-6 accounted for 14 of the 17 Bears points. Cam Newton was held to 211 yards and a 54.9 rating. Nothing really to say on the offensive side of the ball, other than rookie Mitch Trubisky attempted just seven passes the entire game. Purely a game dominated by defense.
2018: Bears 24 – Packers 17
Finally…after all the years of pain and suffering to the hands of the Green Bay Packers, the Bears finally eliminated them in a big game and won the NFC North for the first time since 2010. First year head coach Matt Nagy took them from worst to first officially in week 15 at Soldier Field. Khalil Mack and the historic 2018 Bears defense suffocated Aaron Rodgers all afternoon long. Though the Bears lost the early lead they had, they were able to take it back for good in the fourth quarter on a Trey Burton 28 yard catch in the end zone from Mitch Trubisky. Bears would add an insurance field goal soon after to put them ahead by 10.
Rodgers and his streak of beating the Bears at Soldier Field officially came to an end when his pass attempt to Jimmy Graham in the end zone was picked off by Eddie Jackson with under six minutes to play. The roar of the Soldier Field crowd when that Rodgers pass fell into Jackson’s hands was deafening and a moment Bears fans will never forget. The division title was official when Trubisky took a knee with just a few seconds left and the P.A. announcer exclaimed, “The Chicago Bears are NFC North Champions!”
This was truly the biggest win for the Bears of the decade.
2019: Bears 31- Cowboys 24
Last year was such a disappointment with such high expectations. A team that was favored by many to win the Super Bowl ended up finishing 8-8 and no playoffs. There was though that one tiny glimmer of hope in week 14 when the Bears beat the Cowboys to go to 7-6.
The Cowboys came into this game in the playoff hunt as well, but like the Bears had not lived up to expectations overall. This game at least gave Bears fans a night of fun. After trailing 7-0 early the Bears went on to score 24 unanswered points from second quarter through the third quarter. Trubisky threw two touchdown passes to Allen Robinson, one of which was at the end of the first half, and another touchdown pass to Anthony Miller. Just as the Cowboys inched closer early in the fourth on a Ezekiel Elliott two yard touchdown rush, Trubisky answered with a 23 yard touchdown run himself to put the Bears up 31-14. Cowboys got some points back late but it was not enough and the Bears won as Tarik Cohen did a back flip on the final play.