Bears remain in playoff hunt with win over Jaguars, who lock up No. 1 pick in 2021 NFL draft

Eric Edholm
·3 min read

It was a rare win-win game for two NFL teams in one game in Week 16.

The Chicago Bears took a step closer to notching a playoff spot by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 41-17, on Sunday.

And with the loss, coupled with the New York Jets’ shocking win over the Cleveland Browns, the Jaguars have locked up the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The Jets will pick second.

It feels almost a certainty that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be the pick when the Jaguars are on the clock.

Might that be enough to lure a big-name coach such as Urban Meyer? That will be a fascinating story to follow most of the offseason.

The 1-14 Jaguars have started three different quarterbacks this season: Gardner Minshew, Jake Luton and Mike Glennon. On Sunday, Glennon had a chance for revenge against his former Bears team that signed him and benched him after four starts in 2017.

Glennon struggled Sunday, throwing two interceptions that led to 10 Bears points.

It ended up being a revenge game for Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, who started his career in Jacksonville. It hasn’t always been roses for Robinson in Chicago, but he showed his former team how good he is with 10 catches for 103 yards.

The Bears also received big efforts from Jimmy Graham (season-high 69 yards, two TDs) and David Montgomery (95 rush yards, touchdown).

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson celebrates against his former team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson celebrates against his former team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Mitchell Trubisky, who replaced Glennon as a rookie three seasons ago, completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards with two TD passes and a TD run. Trubisky threw a bad end-zone pick right before the half and got away with a few risky passes but played under control more often than not.

The Bears’ 41 points were their most since Week 9 of the 2018 season.

The game ended up such a blowout, in fact, that even Nick Foles got to have a slice of revenge against the Jaguars, who traded him to the Bears this offseason. Foles came in midway through the fourth quarter to put a bow on the Bears’ eighth victory of the season.

That also guarantees that Bears head coach Matt Nagy will go his first three seasons without a losing record.

The Bears’ path to the playoffs

The Arizona Cardinals’ 20-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday opened the door for the Bears. That put them in a win-twice-and-in situation, and they accomplished the first part Sunday.

If the Bears beat the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 at Soldier Field, they’re in. Green Bay might have nothing to play for in that game, too.

It’s been quite the roller coaster for the Bears, who started the season 5-1, lost six straight and now have won three in a row.

Chicago also can get in with a loss by Arizona on the road next Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Bears can land only a wild-card spot, but only the Nos. 6 or 7 seeds. They can’t catch the 10-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the fifth spot.

Chicago is most likely to be the final team in the playoffs. To earn the sixth seed, it’ll need to beat the Packers and have the Rams lose to both the Seahawks and Cardinals. That would result in a three-way tie of 9-7 teams, and the Bears would earn the tiebreaker in that scenario.

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