Now 6-6 and still in the hunt for the NFC wild card, the Bears looked like an offense capable of delivering in the clutch for the first time in quite a while. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky played his best game of the season, throwing for 338 yards and three scores, but he wasn't Chicago's highest-graded star per Pro Football Focus. Instead, it was rookie running back David Montgomery, who not only had the highest mark on offense but also the entire team.
Montgomery ended the game with 16 carries for 75 yards and added two receptions for 21 yards and the game-winning three-yard touchdown catch. His 87.4 PFF grade was his best of the year.
"It was a quick play, so get to the line fast," Montgomery said of his touchdown catch. "I had a shallow (route) coming across, and I just happened to squeeze open and I just caught the ball. I almost dropped it, but I caught it."
Montgomery's rookie season hasn't been as productive as expected when the Bears selected him in the third round of last April's NFL draft, but he's been limited by questionable playcalling and an even more questionable offensive line. Nonetheless, he's carried the ball 172 times for 594 yards and five touchdowns, which puts him on pace for just under 800 yards and around seven touchdowns. Every one of those yards and touchdowns will have been earned by the first-year bowling ball of a runner.
Montgomery flashed a little bit of everything in the Bears' Thanksgiving Day win. He was elusive, powerful, patient and had just enough burst to pick up yards in chunks. He set the tone early in the game with a 14-yard run on his second carry from the Lions' 24-yard line; the Bears scored the next play on a Trubisky-to-Allen Robinson dart.
It was a sequence that's been missing for what feels like the entire season. A strong running play that set up an effective passing touchdown. Better late than never, I suppose.
Montgomery will be even more important in Week 14 against the Cowboys, who have an offense that will be a much more difficult challenge than the Lions and quarterback David Blough. The Bears have to play keep away, and it'll be up to Montgomery to maintain his Thanksgiving Day success down the stretch.