Sidelined with a concussion last week, Aaron Lynch watched the Bears game from his couch.
Even then, the Bears outside linebacker couldn’t believe his good fortune.
“I’ve never been on a team in the NFL where I was like, ‘Wow, there’s no way we can lose any games,’” he said.
It’s not close. In four years with the 49ers, he had separate runs where his team lost 13-straight, nine-straight, four-straight and three-straight games. He once went three calendar years without the 49ers winning back-to-back contests.
The first-place Bears are on a five-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. It’s foreign territory for Lynch, but also to anyone associated with the Bears in recent years. When the team won three-straight NFC North games in 12 days, they matched the number of divisional wins John Fox accrued in his three years as a Bears head coach.
Something special is happening, left tackle Charles Leno said.
“It’s not anything you can describe,” he said. “You just feel it, you sense it and you know it. It’s the way we interact with each other. It’s the way we compete in practice.”
Trust begets winning begets belief.
“Once we got to a point where we felt like we could trust each other and we knew we would make plays for each other,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said, “I think the winning just fell into place.”
Tight end Trey Burton, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles last season, searched for words to describe the feeling.
“Confidence, swag,” he said. “Just knowing. Believing in your teammates, truly believing that regardless of the situation, they’re going to make it work.”
Regardless of who is on the field.
During the five-game streak, the Bears have played four games without guard Kyle Long, a three-time Pro Bowl player who was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury after the Jets win. Two were without outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, and receiver Allen Robinson, who reached the Pro Bowl with the Jaguars. They missed the Jets and Bills wins with injuries.
The three are among the Bears’ four highest-paid players, in term of salary cap hit, this season.
The Bears’ Thanksgiving win came without quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is expected to miss his second-straight start Sunday with a right shoulder injury. Chase Daniel will start in his place.
In recent Bears seasons, Trubisky’s absence would be considered a roadblock. On a win streak, though, players consider it mere speed bump.
That’s the power of belief.
“I think it’s a huge part of it either way,” said Bears coach Matt Nagy. “So when you’re winning, the confidence in yourself and what you’re doing. Believing in what you’re doing, believing in your coaches, believing in good things are going to happen.
“I think that’s so important for anybody in any sport — or really in life and what you’re going to do. As long as you believe in it, then good things will happen.”
Nagy’s Chiefs went 39 days without a win last year — and followed that by winning four-straight games to reach the playoffs.
“When you’re on a losing streak, there’s not that belief, there’s not that conviction and you start self doubting, and you get into that mold, and you don’t want that,” he said. “So every [win] that you get, every win that you get, it gets easier and easier to have that trust and confidence and teamwork working together. “
That’s a new feeling around Halas Hall.
“I think it’s just momentum, man — positive momentum. …” Burton said. “It’s just that atmosphere that’s been created here.”
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