Chicago Bears: What happened every time they went 5-3

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 20: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 20: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have reached the halfway point of their season at 5-3, in command of the NFC North and rolling off two-straight victories.

This marks the first time they’ve reached midseason with a winning record in five years. Bears fans aren’t entirely sure how to handle it. They fear disaster around every corner. Not surprising given what they had to live through over the past few seasons. That said, here’s an interesting question. Has the team gone 5-3 before? If so, how many times and most importantly how did the rest of the season play out.

The answer to the first two questions is yes and a total seven times in the Super Bowl era. The results from those seasons were fascinating not just in how they concluded, but also how many of them featured all-time memorable Bears moments.


The Bears had lost three of their last four games after a 3-0 start. The schedule delivered a timely reprieve though in the form of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who they hammered 44-9. That win allowed them to gain momentum, winning four of their next five. Two straight losses though set up a big game in the season finale against Detroit. Chicago handled their business, cruising to a 30-13 victory and the teams’ first playoff berth in five years.


The week after securing their 5th victory, the Bears suffered one of the most controversial losses in franchise history. The infamous “Instant Replay” game in Green Bay where QB Don Majkowski appeared to throw a winning touchdown while being past the line of scrimmage. The play was upheld and the Bears fell 14-13. It was a dispiriting defeat. They won just one more game, losing six-straight to close out the year a rough 6-10.


Chicago was in the midst of a four-game winning streak when they made it to 5-3 that year. So they were red hot by that point. The defense was the best in the NFL and the offense was getting it done with running back Thomas Jones and the occasional nice play from rookie Kyle Orton. It wasn’t always pretty, but they ended up winning six of the first seven in the second half of the year and clinched a first round bye in the playoffs.


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It looked like the Bears had things in hand coming out of the bye week. They beat Detroit to reach that 5-3 mark, but then things went bad. They lost a tough game to a really good Tennessee Titans team and then got shellacked in Green Bay 37-3. The team managed to squeeze out three straight wins after that but their mojo never really reappeared. A crushing loss in Houston in the finale dropped them to 9-7 and just missed the playoffs.


Just like this year, the 5th victory for the Bears was against Buffalo on the road. That win gave them some much-needed momentum and they proceeded to win five-straight including one at home against Minnesota and another in Detroit. They finished out the season 2-2 but had the division locked up with two weeks left to go. They secured an 11-5 record and a first round bye before a tough and foreshadowing loss in Green Bay in the finale.


The Bears had it all clicking when they passed the 5-3 mark. They’d just beaten a good Eagles team in Philadelphia and then hammered the Lions at home 37-13. Unfortunately, disaster struck the next week as Jay Cutler broke his thumb in a win over the Chargers. His exit totally killed the offense, which scored just 20 or more points in two of the final six games. The Bears finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs, losing Brian Urlacher to a devastating knee injury as a final chaser.


The second half ride of 2013 was crazy. After beating Green Bay to reach 5-3, the Bears would lose three of their next four to reach 6-6. Then they crushed Dallas on Monday Night in a frozen Soldier Field, beat Cleveland the next week, and then got absolutely toasted by the Eagles 54-11. That set up a showdown for the division against the Packers in the finale at Soldier Field. Everybody remembers what happened after that. Randall Cobb wide open.