The Bears say there’s no dark cloud over Soldier Field.
Lose Monday night, though, and they might want to look skyward.
Between this regular season, preseason and last year, no NFL fan base has gone longer — since Week 4 of 2015 — without seeing a home victory. The Bears were a franchise-worst 1-7 there last year, and have won just one of their last 11 home contests dating to the final weeks of the Marc Trestman era.
“That’s disappointing,” receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “We should be pissed off. We want to win every home game.”
Before the season, Bears chairman George McCaskey said such a record was unacceptable — “I want us to play better at home,” he said — and called dominance there part of any path to the playoffs. The Bears’ need for a home win transcends such tropes, though; they need to beat the Eagles on Monday to keep the home crowd from growing restless. Even fans who were patient with last year’s rebuild won’t have the same reaction if Phase 2 produces the same in-person result.
“Nothing’s hanging over Soldier Field, that we can’t win there,” tight end Zach Miller said. “We didn’t play well in those specific games. We need to execute better. We got a chance to do that Monday night and get a win here at home.”
The Cowboys’ lone home win last year came in Week 1, but they won a preseason game. By contrast, the Bears — who travel to Arlington, Texas, next week — lost their two exhibitions at Soldier Field by a combined score of 45-7.
It got so ugly at home last year — considering the Bears had a winning road record — that coach John Fox considered changing “everything” about his team’s weekend home routine, starting with where they slept downtown the night before games. He settled on a few small adjustments.
Whether it was in the name of increased efficiency or good luck is a different debate, though; Fox doesn’t alter routines when his team is winning.
“We almost considered changing hotels, but we liked where we were, they did a great job, so we elected not to do that,” he said. “But, you know, this is a night game, that’s unusual. We were undefeated at night last year, but we’re at home. We had a miserable home record.
“So we’re kind of tweaking that a little bit, and we’ll see if it works or not.”
Danny Trevathan knows the power of home dominance; his Broncos lost four regular-season home games, total, in his four seasons there.
“It’s your home — you have to protect it,” the inside linebacker said. “Take pride in it. Don’t let anybody come in here and have their way.”
Bears opponents did last year, though the games were close. Of the Bears’ seven home losses, six came by one score or less — and were by a combined 26 points.
“This year with those close games, we’re a different team with a different mindset,” running back Jeremy Langford said. “So maybe we’ll be able to pull those out.”
They have no other choice, Jeffery said.
“I’m just trying to win every home game,” Jeffery said. “That’s a must. I ain’t gonna let our fans down.“