What a (Day After) Christmas Miracle Means for the Chicago Bears

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Twas the day after Christmas and all through the land, many Chicago Bears fans wouldn’t be happy. Unless Matt Nagy was banned. But, facing mounting rumors over his imminent termination, the embattled head coach pulled out all the stops (relatively speaking) on the road with his third-string quarterback under center.

The Bears went for it on fourth down on their first trip into the red zone instead of taking the points. That was after trading punts with the Seahawks and then D.K. Metcalf caught a 41-yard score on a falling Thomas Graham.

But it was Nick Foles, making his first start since Week 10 of last season, that found Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard score and then Damiere Byrd for the two-point conversion to seal it.

The Chicago Bears Had a Merry Christmas at the Seahawks Expense

Addressing the Obvious

What does this win mean for Matt Nagy? For most, not much as the body of work speaks louder than a Week 16 victory over a similarly struggling Seahawks team starting several unknowns in their secondary too. A passing game that has cracked 200 yards in each of the last six games after not doing it once in the first eight is equal parts damning and impressive.

However, Ian Rapoport made it sound as if the door was still open for a Nagy return in 2022.

Stranger things have happened; the New York Giants announced Joe Judge and Daniel Jones will both return for whatever reason. But the offense for the Bears has been a hindrance far more often than it has been an asset over the last four years.

To his credit, Nagy has not deflected blame in that regard.

“Big picture, not enough points isn’t going to win games. That starts with me.” – Matt Nagy following Week 15 loss to Minnesota Vikings

It does raise questions about Ryan Pace’s future over the need for Andy Dalton to be brought in as the offense looked as good with Foles as it did in any of Dalton’s six appearances (four starts) considering the snowy conditions they were playing in. Foles completed 24-of-35 passes for 250 yards and that touchdown to Graham.

This may frustrate folks, but the win also showed that Nagy hasn’t lost the locker room despite the frustrating penalties they’ve committed, including the head coach himself.

We just don’t know what this ownership group will do.

All of Quinn’s Men

Seahawks running back Rashad Penny had 135 yards on just 17 carries and a score. That puts a little bit of perspective on the Bears holding Russell Wilson to 181 passing yards. Wilson did throw two scores, after all; the one early to Metcalf and then a 24-yarder to tight end Gerald Everett.

The story of the day is Robert Quinn’s pursuit of Richard Dent’s single-season franchise sack record. After recording his 17th of the season on Sunday, Quinn needs just one more to break the record with two games remaining.

Metcalf also went the way of Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson last week in that, outside of his touchdown, he didn’t really do much, recording just one more grab for no gain.

Quinn’s resurgence is the latest piece of an abstract puzzle that is Pace’s tenure and why the latter’s future is so clouded. Injuries zapped Kevin White any chance of proving his worth. But since then, Pace has seen one former first-rounder in Leonard Floyd go elsewhere and flourish. His first try at franchise quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, made noise in his preseason return.

Could it simply be a case of misfortune and mismanagement keeping the roster from reaching its potential?

That could be used to explain away the Dalton-Foles situation.

It doesn’t solve the perpetual depth issues this team faces year-in and year-out. That’s what makes the rumors of sweeping changes something to watch because what does that mean to this particular organization?

Apparently, we are about to find out.

Last Laugh

There were reports this offseason that the Bears made an offer for Wilson. They were rebuffed by Seahawks head coach and vice president of football operations, Pete Carroll. This season has been far from stellar for either franchise. Chicago has to feel better about their ability to re-tool the roster around Fields than Seattle does with Wilson and his massive contract.

Rumors of a Wilson trade this coming offseason are starting up. They are sure to get less in return if they do indeed pull the trigger.

How does that affect Pace?

Probably about as much as the win does for Nagy given the other party’s responsibility for the ultimate outcome. It is interesting that he could be able to separate himself from the shortcomings of the past few years.

Finally, David Montgomery could only muster 45 yards on 21 totes for 2.1 yards per carry and a touchdown but led the team with seven catches for 61 yards. Khalil Herbert scored the Bears second touchdown of the day on a 20-yards scamper in the third quarter. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet combined for nine grabs and 106 yards.

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