Bears Ready To Be Measured Against Patriots

October 17, 2018 - 3:08 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Back to work at Halas Hall on Wednesday, the Bears were a team eager to put their overtime loss in the past and move forward. 

What happened to the Bears this past Sunday in Miami, a 31-28 overtime loss to the Dolphins filled with mistakes and missed opportunities, was buried a day later. This is a 3-2 football team still in first place in the NFC North and ready to respond.

"We're just eager for that next opportunity to prove ourselves," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. "Not really to the outside, but prove it to each other what we believe the type of team we are, a hungry team that wants to close out games and really be a dominant force. That's something we got to get better at.

"That's something you just got to do. You can't really talk about it. You got to go out there and make it happen. So, we just got to continue to get better and close out games when we have that opportunity."

There could be no better litmus test for this confident Bears team than what's coming Sunday: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots coming to their home turf.

How good are the Bears really? We're about to find out as they face a team that has set the standard for nearly two decades.

"It's a good measuring stick of where you're at," said tight end Trey Burton, whose Eagles defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl LII last February. "But at the end of the day, this isn't a playoff game, this isn't the Super Bowl. It's another regular-season game."

The Bears know well what they're up against in the Patriots (4-2). Belichick has won five Super Bowls, while Matt Nagy has been a head coach for all of five career games. Brady is in his 19th season, while Trubisky is set to make his 18th career start. The Patriots have made the playoffs in nine straight years, while the Bears have been there only once in that span.

Chicago can only imagine the annual success New England has relished. But the Patriots know the Bears will bring a tough challenge.

"We're ready," Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said of the Bears' challenge. "Every single week, we expect every team's' best and hopefully they expect our best every single week. That's how we prepare around here and that's how we try to play every game."

Added Belichick: "It really looks like a 5-0 team to me if you change one or two plays. You can say that about a lot of teams, but that's the league we're in."

The Patriots follow the lead of Brady, the 41-year-old who's still playing at a high level. Gronkowski praised the structure that Brady provides to the other 52 players in their New England locker room. 

Brady is 4-0 against the Bears in his career, with the most recent matchup being a mismatch. The Patriots earned a 51-23 win over the Bears in November 2014, part of a downward spiral for Chicago that led to a three-year rebuild. Where the Bears go from here is up to Trubisky, who admires the legacy of the five-time Super Bowl champion Brady.

"It's just a testament to him of how he's been able to do it this long and still be that successful," Trubisky said. "He's just really been able to push the limits at what can be accomplished at this position and how everybody looks at it. So, he's really taking this thing to new levels. It will be cool to compete against him this weekend."

Nagy echoed a similar sentiment.

"It doesn’t matter the score with him," Nagy said. "You always see that he just has this mentality that at the end of the game, they’re going to win because of him."

The Bears have been challenged early, first with a season-opening loss to the Packers in which they squandered a 20-0 lead at Lambeau Field. They responded with three consecutive victories before falling to the Dolphins. The Bears spoke of resolve after their first loss and did again after their most recent setback.

Confidence remains strong for the Bears, even after a disappointing loss. To reach the lofty standards they've set for themselves, they know they must respond against the Patriots.

"They're a great opponent," Trubisky said. "They're always in the mix, every single year, no matter how they start, they always finish strong and they get better every single week throughout the year.

"We're excited about this weekend. We'll definitely be able to see where we're at against a very high-caliber opponent."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​