Narrow road

Worth noting: Bears come away with narrow road win over Seahawks

For the second time this year, rumors swirled that the Bears could fire Matt Nagy if they lost a specific game. Both times, Nagy and the Bears were victorious.

The first instance came on Thanksgiving when they defeated the Lions, and the second came on Sunday with their 25-24 road win over the sea ​​hawks. A brave two-point conversion call after a late touchdown put the Bears in the lead, and Seattle couldn’t step down the field to regain their lead. While a 5-10 record still isn’t fantastic, it’s definitely better than 4-11.

Here are some takeaways from this week’s win.

Offense

The Bears offense was hampered by having only their third quarterback left and playing in the snow. That said, they haven’t played as badly as I expected this week.

Nick Foles took over at quarterback with Justin Fields and Andy Dalton out, and while the 10-year veteran was obviously limited in what he could physically do, he put on a respectable outing. He finished the game 24 for 35 with 250 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Foles started the game playing a very conservative brand of football, but he was able to help the Bears down the field a bit late in the game.

Completing 7 of 11 passes in the fourth quarter for 99 yards and a touchdown, Foles was able to lead the Bears to a comeback once he started to stretch the field a bit more. He struggled on the deep ball due to the weather and poor arm strength by NFL standards, but he had a solid mid game and was a big part of their comeback. For a backup making his first start of the year, he did his job well and should feel good about his performance and help his team to victory.

He had a solid outing despite questionable play from his offensive line, which struggled in both pass protection and run blocking. Foles has been sacked four times and hit nine times, and while those sacks and hits might not have happened with an athlete superior to quarterback, it’s the offensive line’s job to keep the pocket clean for their quarterback, and they didn’t.

David Montgomery saw his efficiency drop in the rushing game because of their play, as he averaged just 2.1 yards per carry on 21 carries, despite scoring one rushing touchdown. It was as a wide receiver that he was most valuable to his team, as he caught 7 of 9 targets for 61 yards and served as a reliable controlling option in snowy conditions. Darnell Mooney thrived when given routes that allowed more space, catching 5 passes for 57 yards and making a thunderous 30-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Cole Kmet had a solid outing with 4 catches for 49 yards, securing passes in tight windows and even showing some post-catch value. Jimmy Graham and Damiere Byrd also deserve a lot of credit for their spectacular touchdown catches and two-point conversions, respectively.

Were the Bears so effective on offense? Not necessarily, but it was far from their worst performance this season. They were just decent enough to take the win, and that’s a good thing at the end of the day.

Defense

It wasn’t the flashiest game for the Bears defense, but they finally got the job done and limited Russell Wilson to the best of their abilities.

Chicago’s pass rush was solid on Sunday, totaling 2 sacks, 7 quarterback hits and 12 pressures. Robert Quinn finished the game with another sack – making it his seventh straight game with at least one sack – as well as 4 pressures and 2 hits. Bilal Nichols and Trevis Gipson joined forces on the team’s other sack, landing 5 combined pressures in the process. Since the offense dominated the time of the possession battle, the Bears didn’t have a lot of reps to work on, but they took advantage of what they had.

The Seahawks doing fairly limited damage were helped by the Bears secondary who did well in the passing game. Although they allowed two touchdowns and forced no turnovers, Wilson completed just 59.3% of his attempts and hit just 5 of his 11 combined targets against DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Deon Bush and Artie Burns had two pass breakups each, Duke Shelley allowed just 9 yards on 3 coverage attempts, Artie Burns allowed just one no-win completion on 3 targets, and Thomas Graham Jr. bounced back from being burned by Metcalf for a touchdown to not allow another hold on 3 more targets for the rest of the game.

The biggest issue for the Bears was Seattle’s running game, especially Rashaad Penny. The former first-round pick had 135 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, which gives him an average of 7.9 yards per carry. He managed to get over the Chicago defense, forcing 7 missed tackles and recovering 95 of his yards after contact. The defensive line was jostled at the point of attack and the secondary struggled in the running game. That said, Roquan Smith and Alec Ogletree combined for 17 tackles, with the former also having two tackles for a loss and averaging an all-around depth of 1.3 yards.

Overall, the Bears had a solid outing on the defensive side of the ball. It wasn’t perfect on its own, but it was a respectable performance that helped their team to victory.

three and out

3. Robert Quinn is just half a sack away from tying Richard Dent for the single-season sack record in Bears history.

The NFL Comeback Player of the Year award has only been given to one defensive player since 2008, so it’s unlikely Quinn could win the award with Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz as nominees. That said, bouncing back from just 2 sacks in 2020 to 17 sacks in 14 games is nothing short of remarkable. He deserves all the credit in the world for the quality of his game.

2. As I mentioned on Twitter yesterdaypersonally, I wouldn’t be upset if Nick Foles stayed on the list next year.

Barring a trade after June 1, the Bears will be listed for at least $7.67 million in 2022. Releasing him would only save $3 million, so they would still be paying him relief money from foreground for not even being on the list. Considering Andy Dalton is a free agent after this year — and they’re still liable for $5 million of his contract due to a contract rebuild — the Bears could keep Foles on Dalton, which would ultimately be cheaper than cutting Foles and re-signing Dalton.

1. Even after a road win, the Bears would be better off if they choose to fire Matt Nagy this week or let him know they intend to leave him at the end of the year.

This would allow the team to interview head coach candidates before the end of the year, giving them an edge in the hiring process. While the timing is a bit awkward, considering Nagy’s Bears are coming off a win, the new rule means it would be a disadvantage for them not to have made a decision about his professional status.