Chicago Bears fans are probably glad the 2010s decade is over. Most will remember it as being one of the most disappointing and traumatic in franchise history. It began with a bitterly disappointing loss in the NFC championship in 2010 and went downhill fast after that. There were ugly blowouts, painful shortcomings, and just a general feeling of missed opportunities mixed with bad football.
Nevertheless, there were plenty of bright moments too. A ton of exciting games that the team played across the decade. Some were unexpected. All of them were thrilling. The most important question though is obvious. Which among them were the best?
The criteria are simple. Every game had to be close in score and had to be a Bears victory. No Double Doinks allowed on this list. There were plenty of contenders for the top 10 spots, but a few came up just short.
Chicago Bears games that just missed the cut:
Bears topple NFC kingpin 49ers (2014)
The 49ers humiliated the Bears two years prior 34-7 in San Francisco. They’d just gone to the NFC championship for the third-straight season the year prior. So not a lot of people gave Chicago a prayer in this game. The way things started backed that up as they fell behind 17-0 in the first half. Down 20-7 going into the 4th quarter, it looked over. Then Jay Cutler threw three-straight touchdown passes to pull off a 28-20 stunner.
Bears stun Chargers with 4th quarter rally on Monday Night Football (2015)
Cutler always had a pretty strong rivalry with former San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. It seemed like his game took a step up in those matchups. This proved to be one of the best games of his career. After falling behind 13-0 to start the game and 16-7 at the end of the 3rd quarter, Cutler led two late touchdown drives including a 25-yard pass to Zach Miller with three minutes to steal the game 22-19 in primetime.
Bears ride Jordan Howard over Steelers in overtime (2017)
This game had everything. Back and forth scoring. Overtime and an unforgettable gaffe when Marcus Cooper dropped a sure TD on a blocked field goal return. This was as old school a Bears win as possible. QB Mike Glennon (ugh) managed just 101 yards through the air. Thus it fell to Jordan Howard who churned out 140 yards and touchdowns on the ground including the nail in the Steelers’ coffin in OT with a 19-yard score to win it 23-17.
The best Chicago Bears game of the 2010s decade
10. Panthers at Bears: Wacky 4th quarter rally (2012)
These two teams always seemed to play some wild games in the early part of that decade. They were close, competitive, and full of unexpected turning points. This one can be filed under the category of one the Bears really had no business winning. Their offense was stuck in the mud for three quarters, managing just seven points against a young and well-coached Panthers defense.
Carolina had built a comfortable 19-7 lead by the start of the 4th quarter. That did not chance for the first eight minutes of the period. The Bears even missed a chip shot 33-yard field goal. Nothing was going their way. Then Cutler finally found the end zone after taking advantage of a shanked Panthers punt to make it 19-14. On the first play of Carolina’s next series, Cam Newton was picked off by Tim Jennings for a touchdown to make it 20-19.
The Panthers managed to collect themselves enough to get back ahead 22-20 with a field goal. However, Cutler engineered a two-minute drive to steal the game on a 41-yard kick with 10 seconds left.
09. Eagles at Bears: Ending the Michael Vick MVP campaign (2010)
Philadelphia was one of the hottest teams in the NFL by the end of November 2010. They’d won five of their last six games by the time they visited Soldier Field. Their quarterback Michael Vick was in MVP discussions too, having racked up 15 touchdowns and no interceptions during that stretch. Plenty of people weren’t sure even the Bears defense could stop that juggernaut.
Turns out they didn’t have to. They merely had to slow him down because it ended up being Cutler who had the hottest hand in this one. It what might’ve been the best performance of his Bears career, the QB threw four touchdown passes despite attempting just 21 total passes. Matt Forte added to the fun with 117 yards rushing while the defense sacked Vick four times.
It wasn’t a walkover though. The Eagles trailed 31-13 at one point but delivered a late rally punctuated by one of the most ridiculously accurate passes of the decade to make it 31-26. Fortunately the Bears recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the win.
08. Bears at Ravens: Pounding that rock (2017)
Who says old school football has no place in the current NFL? The 2017 Bears were a true throwback team. They ran the ball. They played good defense and they limited turnovers in order to protect their young quarterback. Not much was expected of them going to Baltimore that year. The Ravens were a veteran, battle-tested team that was 6-1 in their last seven home games. It was a hostile stadium to play in.
Shockingly though, the Bears came right out and punched them in the mouth, building a 17-3 lead. If not for two major special teams mistakes that resulted in touchdowns the game would’ve been a blowout. The second was a 77-yard punt return that tied it 24-24 to force overtime. It felt like Chicago didn’t have enough answers to pull it out. Then Howard came to the rescue.
At the most critical moment of a monstrous afternoon that saw him go for 167 yards, the running back delivered a 53-yard gallop from the Bears’ 7-yard line. Mitch Trubisky followed that with a gutty 18-yard throw under pressure on 3rd and 11 to get the team in field goal position for a 27-24 win.
07. Bears at Broncos: Eddy Money delivers (2019)
Everybody loves an offensive shootout but there’s just something about a dirty, physical, and sloppy defensive slugfest that makes one love football. That is what Bears fans got at Mile High in Denver last season. The team was going against old friend Vic Fangio and his new team. Unsurprisingly the game quickly developed into a battle between two talented defenses. Points were at a premium throughout.
Chicago battled out to a sizable 13-3 lead at one point. Unfortunately a highly questionable penalty on Eddie Goldman allowed the Broncos to narrow the gap 13-6 in the 4th quarter. Then on their next drive they managed to convert two 4th downs to deliver a gutwrenching touchdown and two-point conversion to go ahead 14-13 with 37 seconds left.
The Bears quickly faced 4th and 15 with nine seconds to go. That’s when Trubisky found Allen Robinson over the middle for 25 yards. Somehow they managed to get the timeout with one second left. It was here Eddy Pineiro, their young kicker, cemented his folk hero status with a 53-yard field goal to win it.
06. Jets at Bears: An after-Christmas shootout (2010)
When people thought about the Bears and Jets in 2010, they saw two teams that won in the classic style. They played great defense and ran the ball well. So one can imagine fans were somewhat perplexed when the two quarterbacks, Cutler and Mark Sanchez, took over the game almost from the jump and put together one of the most unlikely shootouts of the season.
Not only did the two teams exchange scores, but they also exchanged double-digit leads. Chicago led 10-0 early in the game before New York came back with 21-straight points to go up 21-10. Cutler finally ended the bleeding with a late TD in the first half while a Jets field goal made it 24-17. It was then that the Bears quarterback basically took over the game.
In a span of just seven minutes he fired three touchdowns passes to Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. All of them 25 yards or more. Sanchez managed to keep up with one of his own and another field goal to make it 38-34. At last the defenses settled in by the 4th quarter. New York had one last chance to win it with just over a minute to play, but Chris Harris ended that with his fifth interception of the season.
05. Vikings at Bears: Cutler delivers in the clutch (2013)
Divisional games are always better than normal ones. That is just a fact of life in the NFL. For the longest time it always seems like the craziest stuff happens between the Bears and Vikings at Soldier Field. This instant classic from 2013 is too often forgotten because of how the season ended for Chicago but it had everything. Big plays. Lots of turnovers. Tons of yards and points and an ending that was a fitting climax.
This game was a true back-and-forth affair. Neither team could grab control of the game. Every time the Bears scored, the Vikings would answer. Minnesota got a fumble return for a touchdown. Then the Bears got a pick-six just a few minutes later. It seemed though like Minnesota started to gain control in the second half, taking a 30-24 lead on three-consecutive field goals.
It was then Cutler delivered an 11-play drive spanning over three minutes in which he threw on every snap, ending with a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds left to escape 31-30.
04. Ravens at Bears: Overtime thriller at muddy Soldier Field (2013)
The best games always tend to be the ones where the weather gets involved. Chicago isn’t typically known for violent thunderstorms but it was very different this afternoon. Soldier Field was pelted by a massive downpour coupled with lots of lightning that suspended play for a considerable amount of time. When the game finally resumed, it didn’t take long for the field to devolve into a mud pit.
True to form, the Ravens were tough. They took a 17-10 lead in the 3rd quarter before Josh McCown led the Bears to 10 unanswered to retake the lead. Baltimore looked ready to deliver a kill shot as they made it 1st and goal at the Chicago 5-yard line with 36 seconds left. The defense made an unlikely stand though, stopping two Ray Rice runs and a Joe Flacco pass to force a field goal attempt.
In overtime, the defense managed another stop, giving the ball back to McCown. He covered 64 yards on three passes including a 43-yard dime to Martellus Bennett to help set up a 38-yard field goal for the 23-20 win.
03. Packers at Bears: Slaying the beast to seize the crown (2018)
Green Bay has remained a boogeyman to the Bears for a long, long time. Whenever the two teams have met with something on the line, it’s the Packers who always seem to emerge victorious. This game was for the NFC North title for Chicago and hope to stay in the playoff chase for Green Bay. If that weren’t enough, the Bears hadn’t beaten them at Soldier Field in eight years.
So needless to say there was a lot on the line in this game. Predictably, it was a tight contest from start to finish. The Bears came out hot for a change, building a 14-3 lead. Aaron Rodgers isn’t easy to keep down though and the Packers tied it up by the end of the 3rd quarter. The Bears needed a drive to get momentum back and they got one from Trubisky who capped a 45-yard march with a 13-yard TD pass.
Eddie Jackson then shut the door with three minutes left, intercepting Rodgers in the end zone to preserve a 24-14 lead. The Bears held on to win 24-17, clinching the division and exorcising a few demons in the process.
02. Bears at Chiefs: Cutler’s most insane comeback (2015)
Sometimes there are games that defy description. Games where a team needs a sequence of unlikely events to happen in order for them to even have a chance to win. Rest assured, the Bears were not the better team that Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs were on their way to an 11-5 record and their first playoff win in decades. Chicago finished 6-10 that season. The game played out that way too.
For the first three quarters anyway. Then in the 4th? Things got kooky.
Kansas City had paced themselves to a 17-6 lead going into the final 15 minutes. The first two Bears drives of that quarter also came up empty. On the third, with just over seven minutes left Cutler put together a 12-play drive that was capped by one of the best throws of his career. A 22-yard dime to Marquess Wilson (of all people) in the back corner of the end zone. Then after a quick three-and-out by Kansas City, he somehow topped himself.
Chicago again drove into Chiefs territory. With 23 seconds left at the 7-yard line, a low snap caused Cutler to drop the ball. Somehow he quickly picked it up and fired it off right before getting hit to Matt Forte for the go-ahead touchdown. The Bears won 18-17 because nothing makes sense in the NFL.
01. Bears at Packers: A Thanksgiving treat on Brett Favre night (2015)
This was one of those rare moments where Bears fans remember where they were when it happened. This was truly a game experts gave Chicago a snow ball’s chance in hell of winning. It was primetime. It was Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers and the 7-3 Packers. If that weren’t enough. It was also an evening of celebrating Brett Favre Night. The first QB in green and gold to torture Bears fans many years ago.
Nothing about this game was logical. Cutler outplayed Rodgers and looked better late in the game. The defense held Green Bay to just 13 points in their own building. This included a goal line stand in the final seconds where Rodgers had four shots at the end zone from the Bears 8-yard line. Shea McClellin led the team with 10 tackles. Tracy Porter had an interception and was arguably the best player on the field that night.
It was a true team victory and the highlight of that season for Bears fans and ultimately the decade. The one game people still talk about to this day.