The Chicago Bears square off against the Houston Texans this Sunday. Both teams come into this matchup with their playoff hopes pretty much dashed. The Bears, however, still have an outside shot of squeaking in.
The Bears and Texans don’t have a very long history. The Texans came into existence in the 2002 season, and in the past 18 years these two teams have squared off a mere four times. This Sunday will mark the fifth duel between these two teams and, surprisingly, Houston is 4-0. Chicago looks to get their first tally in the win column.
This time around, the battle between the Bears and Texans has a little more drama added to it. Bears fans are tired of hearing about what will be the focal storyline during the broadcast itself. Deshaun Watson makes his first start against the Bears and Mitchell Trubisky, Watson’s 2017 draft class peer. The guy who Ryan Pace passed on in the 2017 NFL Draft will go toe-to-toe against the player the Bears ultimately chose — one who will ultimately no longer be the quarterback in Chicago at the conclusion of this season.
A lot has changed since Chicago and Houston’s last encounter.
On September 11th, 2016, the Bears made the trip down to Houston to kick off the 2016 season. It was a battle featuring Jay Cutler and Brock Osweiler that afternoon. Both rosters were remarkably different than they are today. The game itself got off to a promising start for Chicago as they halted Houston’s opening drive after Tracy Porter intercepted an Osweiler pass deep in Bears territory. On the ensuing Bears possession, the offense marched 75 yards on eight plays, capped off with a one-yard Jeremy Langford touchdown.
Following a Texans punt and a Bears turnover on downs, Osweiler led his team 54 yards which resulted in a Houston field goal. The Texans capitalized soon after a Bears punt when DeAndre Hopkins caught a 23-yard TD pass from Osweiler. Houston’s drive spanned ten plays and 61 yards.
Both teams exchanged punts before the Bears found the end zone for the second time in the first half. A huge 54-yard pass from Cutler to Alshon Jeffery (note: it’s not Jeffries) set up an eventual 19-yard TD reception for Eddie Royal.
The Bears sported a 14-10 halftime lead.
When the second half kicked off, the Bears trotted their offense onto the field. Two plays into the drive, Cutler threw a costly interception on a pass intended for Kevin White. The Texans cashed in soon after with a field goal and cut the Bears’ lead to 14-13. The two teams exchanged five consecutive punts before Houston regained the first lead on a Will Fuller 18-yard TD reception. The Texans’ drive spanned 64 yards on nine plays.
In typical Bears fashion, they were unable to respond and were forced to punt. Soon after, the Texans added their final score of the game on a Nick Novak 38-yard field goal.
The Chicago Bears offense stalled twice more with a punt and turnover on downs, and that was all she wrote. The Bears started with a 14-10 lead only for Houston to shut them out and score 13 unanswered points in the second half.
A 23-14 loss to the Texans started the Bears season at 0-1. This spun the wheels in motion for what was the beginning of the end of Jay Cutler’s tenure as Bears’ QB. The 2016 season eventually led the Bears into the Mitchell Trubisky era.