Less than 200 miles away in Indianapolis, the Houston Texans had just completed an impressive fourth-quarter drive -- capped off by a two-point conversion -- to beat the Colts 32-31. And thus, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft fell into the Bears’ lap.
The Bears are just a year removed from a total tear down, having fired both head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. The team traded the pair for a different Matt-Ryan duo, hiring Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles to take the reins.
Despite posting the worst record in the league and losing the last 10 games of the season, there was an undeniable potential surrounding the Bears camp this season starting with quarterback Justin Fields.
With the help of a revamped offense that capitalized on Fields’ athleticism and creativity outside of the pocket, Fields enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign. He sat out Sunday’s game with a hip injury, but was only 63 yards short of breaking Lamar Jackson’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback.
The Bears also find themselves with an abundance of cash thanks to Poles' roster purge this past year. The team’s 32 players under contract for a combined $111.163 million is easily the fewest of any team in the league this season.
Despite having made only seven playoff appearances in the last three decades, the long-suffering Bears fan base haven’t had the top pick in the draft since 1947.
Speaking of historic days in franchise history, one fan was quick to equate this offseason with the team’s lone Super Bowl victory.
Rounding out the Sunday wins was Lovie Smith, the former Bears head coach. While Smith’s job in Houston might be in jeopardy after that game-winning play, he’s certainly endeared himself to the city of Chicago.