Bill Belichick has had the Chicago Bears’ number throughout his career. He is 5-1 against Chicago since becoming the New England Patriots head coach in 2000, with his only loss coming in his first year with the team. While this might not be surprising considering New England’s success over the previous two decades, it becomes significantly more impressive when taking a deeper look at when they faced off.
The Bears have not been a great team since the turn of the century, as they have finished with a winning record only seven times since 2000. Three of their most promising seasons in that span occurred in 2006, 2010, and 2018. Those years all had two things in common: a loss to the Green Bay Packers (words cannot describe how much I wish that weren’t accurate) and a loss to the Patriots. Even when the Bears were at their best, New England has managed to be even better.
Their most recent meeting came four years ago today when they faced off in Week 7 of the 2018 season. The Bears were coming off a bye week at 3-2 and were eager to prove their hot start was not a mirage. Meanwhile, the Patriots were riding high on a three-game winning streak after an uncharacteristic 1-2 start to the year. While New England escaped with a narrow 38-31 victory, Chicago gave them everything they could handle and proved to be a force to be reckoned with. The game came down to a last-second hail mary (caught by Kevin White) that fell just short of the end zone (a microcosm of White’s tenure with the team).
The Bears only lost one more game the rest of the way before taking it on the chin against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card round. If they had beaten New England, we would have been spared from the infamous Double Doink, as Chicago would have had the second seed due to having the tiebreaker over the Rams. On the bright side, they still would have been hard-pressed to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, as they were destined for a Super Bowl rematch with… you guessed it, the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots.
While the Bears managed to keep the game close in their latest meeting, they were not so lucky in their other recent attempts to knock off New England. Chicago had no answer for Tom Brady and the Patriots’ high-octane offense when they squared off in Week 8 of the 2014 season. Brady threw five touchdowns (three of which were to Rob Gronkowski) during the 51-23 rout.
The 2014 clash may have been hard to watch, but their matchup in Week 14 of the 2010 season was arguably even more deflating (pun intended). They were two of the hottest teams in the league at the time, and the wintry conditions at Soldier Field seemed like they were going to be in Chicago’s favor. Nevertheless, only one team showed up for the contest, and it wasn’t the home squad, as New England came away with a demoralizing 36-7 victory.
The Patriots are not the only team that has had Chicago’s number, as Belichick has also had success against the Bears during his time with the Jets and Browns. He only faced the Bears once in each of his stints as head coach (and assistant head coach in the case of New York) with each team, but he came out victorious in both contests.
The Bears may have struggled greatly against Belichick-led teams, but they enjoyed more success against him when he was the defensive coordinator for the Giants during the late-80s. They notably shut out the G-Men 21-0 during the Divisional Round matchup in their iconic 1985 season and beat them 34-19 the following year. In all fairness, Chicago was steamrolling everyone then, as they were in the midst of the best two-year stretch in franchise history.
What are the chances history repeats itself on Monday night? Unfortunately, they seem to be pretty good. New England may only be one game ahead of the Bears, but the eye test would suggest these are two teams going in opposite directions. The Patriots are coming off back-to-back impressive victories, while the Bears are hoping to break a three-game skid. With that said, New England’s roster looks much different than in any of the aforementioned losses, as they are far less imposing without Brady at the helm.
On a positive note, the Bears might have an edge at quarterback for the first time when facing Belichick. Mac Jones has stumbled out of the gates to begin the year, and New England’s offense has looked significantly better with fourth-round selection Bailey Zappe leading the charge. Meanwhile, Justin Fields has looked much more comfortable in recent weeks and has the potential to take over a game at a moment’s notice. The Bears have a chance to rewrite the script and pull off an upset if he can do so on Monday night.