The Bears are heading to Motown for Sunday's game against the Lions with a full head of steam, riding a four-game winning streak that includes a 31-26 victory over the Eagles, arguably the most impressive win in what has been an extremely easy schedule.
But the Bears are starting to look like serious contenders rather than pretenders, mostly because they finally got a playoff-caliber performance from an offense that has, for most of the season, been a burden to the outstanding defense and special teams.
The offensive surge couldn't have come at a better time because the defense allowed 398 total yards against the Eagles. The offensive outburst helped give the Bears sole possession of first place in the NFC North at 8-3.
Quarterback Jay Cutler's 146.2 passer rating, the highest of his five-year NFL career, included four touchdown passes, 247 yards on 14 of 21 completions and no interceptions.
"Jay Cutler was outstanding throughout," coach Lovie Smith said. "Whether he was throwing the football or taking off running the ball, I just felt like he was in total control of our offense, distributing the ball around. With him playing like that, we're going to be hard to beat."
The Bears were undefeated in November for the first time since the 2005 team also went 4-0 en route to an 11-5 season.
"I would definitely say our arrow's pointed up, when you win four games in a row the way we have," Smith said. "We talked early about getting in position in October and making that run in November. That's exactly what the guys are doing."
The four-game win streak came at a critical time, on the heels of back-to-back home losses, said linebacker Brian Urlacher.
"We're where we want to be," Urlacher said. "We kind of stumbled there in the middle of the season with those two home games we lost. But we're leading our division. That's where we've wanted to be all season long."
The Bears' record has been questioned by doubters because of the relative ease of their early schedule, but Sunday's victory over the NFC East leaders made a statement.
"They were considered the best team," safety Chris Harris said. "Them and Atlanta were two of the best teams in the NFC. Nobody really talked about us. We don't care. We like it that way. We were picked to lose this game at home, which is kind of a slap in the face. But we have a great team, a resilient team."
BY THE NUMBERS
Bear Report: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears.
Bears Not Surprised After Beating Philly
Bear Report Top Stories
Can Bears pass rush crack the Top 10?The Chicago Bears managed the 12th most sacks in the NFL last season. Can this year's pass-rush unit ascend into the Top 10, or potentially the Top 5?
Bear ReportYesterday at 11:03 AM
Who will emerge as Bears No. 1 receiver?The Chicago Bears have a ton of question marks surrounding the 2017 receiving corps, which includes the lack of a clear-cut top pass catcher. Will anyone fill that role?
Bear ReportMonday at 11:00 AM
Bears hope key players heal up by campIt's still unclear if established veterans like Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Danny Trevathan and Zach Miller will be ready to go by the start of Chicago Bears 2017 Training Camp.
Bear ReportFriday at 12:11 PM
Rookies to play prominent roles in Bears OExpect this year's crop of rookie draft picks to play important roles in the Chicago Bears offense from the get-go, which includes Adam Shaheen, Tarik Cohen and, potentially, Mitch…
Bear ReportThursday at 10:54 AM
Where will Bears find leadership in 2017?For a Chicago Bears roster that has gotten progressively younger the past two-plus seasons, who will emerge as the leaders for a rebuilding team during the 2017 campaign?