The Chicago Bears were disappointing in 2021. The offense stunk and the defense was wasted yet again. Despite the decline, the team had moments that gave fans hope. But these were more than just top plays throughout the year. The moment you feel, as a fan, when something finally goes right after so much wrong is something not every fan base is familiar with. Chicago Bears fans are though, all too well. But this finally feels different.
The Bears released the top 10 plays of the 2021 season on their YouTube channel Friday afternoon. They’re all great, but some of them have a much more meaningful impact on Bears’ fans who are desperate for modernity. We fans have suffered enough, but these moments gave us glimpses of hope.
Andy Dalton had some nice moments this season and there were times the offense shined. But it had no traces of hope because they always fell short. At least when the youth the Bears traded up for shined or the fan-favorite took us back to 2006, in those same moments, we felt good about it. It sure felt better than hollow words in front of a pre-printed backdrop. That’s cause for optimism amongst the overwhelming anguish surrounding the Chicago Bears franchise.
Top 4 Fan-Favorite Plays of the Chicago Bears 2021 Season
4. Damiere Byrd 2-Point Conversion Catch at Seattle
When the Bears signed Damiere Byrd, they created a quick receiving corps, one of the fastest in the league. But Byrd’s usage in 2021 wasn’t anything to write home about. He played in all 17 games, caught 26 passes, and scored once.
What’s impressive though, is the way he came through for the team during Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks. Their playoff dreams were gone, but the Bears shook Lumen Field thanks to Byrd’s fantastic play.
It’s incredible to look back on that photo and know that he hauled in that catch with one knee inbounds. In a lost season, that was an uplifting lead change.
3. Jakeem Grant 97-Yard Punt Return Touchdown at Green Bay
The Bears led the Packers well into the second quarter on Sunday Night Football. It was quite a surprise considering they had a 4-8 record heading into Week 14. But Jakeem Grant highlighted the second quarter with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields. Then roughly eight minutes later, he recorded the longest punt return touchdown in Chicago Bears history. Grant brought fans 2006 vibes with his 97-yard return.
The Bears lost 45-30 because Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense completely picked apart their defense. At the time, the punt return touchdown felt great because, in a lost season, we fans clung to one thing only: beating the damn Packers.
By the first two-minute warning of the first half, Bears fans were feeling mighty confident. It didn’t last long of course, but what else is new?
2. Justin Fields 22-Yard Touchdown Run vs. San Francisco
I’m sure this play is in most Chicago Bears’ top plays of 2021. Most of you probably have it as No. 1 on your list. This was an incredible fourth-down play that showed us a glimpse of our future.
Greg Olsen summed it up perfectly on the broadcast. This play is why the Bears drafted Justin Fields. The loss to the 49ers stung, but how can you not be excited for more of this?
1. Roquan Smith 53-Yard Pick-Six vs. Cincinnatti
I still can’t believe Roquan Smith was snubbed from yet another Pro Bowl. But it happened yet again, in spite of this incredible pick-six against the Cincinnati Bengals.
You can watch that touchdown over and over again and it doesn’t get old. That moment, albeit during Week 2 when everything was still fresh, was enormous for this Bears team. Fans have rallied around Roquan Smith and they love him. Strong and physical Chicago Bears defense is in our blood. Roquan has that and proved it here.
How would you structure your top Chicago Bears plays of 2021? Check out the Bears On Tap podcast for more on the Bears’ greatest moments of 2021 and further offseason content.
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