Let’s be honest. Every now and then, the fan inside of us gets excited about meaningless wins. For the realists out there, this comes with a sense of shame, for you know that meaningless wins also bring adverse consequences. But for the grumpy curmudgeons, a meaningless win generates outright anger and resentment.
I can’t speak for the latter of you. You’ll just have to deal with your bitterness at your next therapy session. But for the rest of us, the Bears’ 25-24 comeback victory over the equally troubled Seahawks on Sunday elicited more than a few excited couch noises.
The Bears do not have a first-round draft pick in 2022 thanks to the Justin Fields trade. And although they might have lowered their draft position in subsequent rounds, I don’t really care. The Bears gave us something to cheer for as they generated 317 yards of offense, 25 points, and a come-from-behind victory that featured two great throws and catches down the wire.
I’ll be honest, when the first camera shots caught a glimpse of Lumen Field merrily powdered with snow, I thought, “Oh crap … this can’t be good for an offense that struggles to put points on the board.” I prepared myself for the fact that this game could have been headed toward a 9-6 finish. And after a scoreless first quarter from the Bears, I thought they were well on their way to holding up their end of the bargain.
To make sure my three hours weren’t completely a loss, I busied myself assembling an exercise bike and churning out 5 miles on it during the first half, while putting together a 122-step lego transformer for my son throughout the second half.
Little did I, or any Bears fan for that matter, realize that snow would not be a great detriment for the Bears’ offense. Especially against a Seahawks defense statistically among the worst in the league.
The Bears’ run game did not achieve a great deal of success against a mediocre Seahawks run defense. David Montgomery managed just 45 yards on 21 carries. But it was the commitment to the run that helped keep the defense honest and allowed the Bears to take advantage of one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Getting the start in place of the injured Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, Nick Foles showed just how savvy a veteran he really is.
Foles completed 24 of 35 pass attempts (68.5%) for 250 yards and a 98.5 passer rating. He also engineered the game-winning drive in which he found Jimmy Graham amid tight coverage in the front corner of the end zone for the touchdown. The Bears, with nothing to lose, lined up for the two-point conversion and the lead. Foles rolled right and found Damiere Byrd in the back of the end zone. Byrd made a terrific leaping catch, but even more amazingly got a knee down in the end zone and managed to hold on to the ball with just one hand on his way to the ground.
The way Foles engineered that fourth-quarter comeback brought back memories of when he stepped in for a struggling Mitch Trubisky against the Falcons in 2020 and tossed a game-winning touchdown pass to Anthony Miller. Foles may not be the most talented quarterback around, but he’s a smart veteran who plays with poise in pressure situations. He truly has earned his NSFW nickname — go look it up if you don’t know it. It’s not “Saint Nick.”
While the Bears defense has been solid all season and has had to cover for the offense on multiple occasions, it may have been the other way around in this one.
Yes, Roquan Smith led the team in tackles again and Robert Quinn added yet another sack to his impressive season total. But the run defense was horrendous against Rashaad Penny and the Seahawks’ rushing attack. Penny tallied 135 yards and a touchdown on just 17 carries.
Additionally, the secondary blew coverage on a third-quarter touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Gerald Everett that gave the Seahawks a 10-point edge. And Thomas Graham — the rookie who had a decent game against the Vikings and led much of Bears Nation to lament, “Daaa, why ain’t dis guy been playin’ all season?” — got burned badly by D.K. Metcalf for a first-quarter touchdown — and even got a staredown from Metcalf to boot. (And that’s why he hasn’t played all season until injuries and COVID reared their ugly heads.)
Fortunately, it’s a team game and when one unit struggles the other picks them up.
Right now, Bears fans are waiting with bated breath to see if the team fires Matt Nagy. New rules allow teams to interview head coaching candidates before the end of the season, so firing Nagy would enable the Bears to get a jump on that process. At his day-after press conference, Nagy told the media he assumes he’ll be coaching the rest of the season. Whether breaking news comes later in the day or on Tuesday remains to be seen.
For now, Bears fans have two more games to look forward to this season. Both are winnable games against the Giants and Vikings. First up will be a noon contest against the dreadful Giants in the Bears’ final home game of the season. Whether Nagy is coaching and Fields is under center will be the two biggest question marks the rest of the week.