The Chicago Bears Proved Why Changes are Needed in Ugly Season Finale

Bears ugly

Sunday got ugly for Chicago Bears fans but, if you’ve been paying attention to the NFL even remotely just since Thanksgiving, you are well aware of the job status of Matt Nagy. They haven’t come out and said it officially. The consensus is that Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings was the head coach’s final captaining the ship.

It sure seemed as though he was coaching as if this was his final with the headset as the Bears made some uncharacteristic decisions.

A 14-0 halftime lead was squandered and the Bears finish the first-ever 18-game schedule with a 6-11 record. It’s their 18th season with a losing record since winning Super Bowl XX following the 1985 season. They have 14 winning seasons in that span.

Matt Nagy’s Chicago Bears Tenure (Presumably) Ends in Ugly Fashion

Well Then

Despite starting the game with an eight-play, 39-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, the Bears turned four straight Vikings punts into just six points. They answered the first two by turning the ball over on downs on Andy Dalton sacks. Both of the sacks were for substantial losses.

It was a rough day for the pro-Dalton crowd. He threw the ball 48 times, setting a new high for Bears quarterbacks this season and breaking his own mark of 41 passes thrown against the Arizona Cardinals; also in a loss.

Chicago then scored on a field goal and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams.

At one point, the Bears starting running back David Montgomery could be seen visibly frustrated on the sideline as threw Bears threw the ball in a fourth-and-short situation.

Montgomery finished with 72 yards on 20 carries, finishing below 4.0 yards per carry for the fourth week in a row and the sixth time this season. That is something to keep an eye on with Montgomery heading into the final year of his rookie deal. He said this past week he want to remain a Bear “for life”.

The third-back has reached 1000-yards from scrimmage in each season to start his career.

One thing that could help him if he is on the Bears next season is the emergence of Darnell Mooney as a legitimate threat in the passing game this season. He caught 12 balls for 126 yards notching the first 1000-yard season of his career.

That’s no small development with Allen Robinson out the door this offseason. Though, perhaps in a signal of his future, Ryan Pace noted they have financial flexibility going forward.

Speaking Of

Pace’s use of “we” and “going forward” together would seem to indicate he already knows his fate. As we covered late last week if he does indeed survive it will be thanks to his ability to not be seen or heard in uncontrolled situations. However, the latest reports indicate that his future is still very much in the air.

They may have heard the rumblings from the national media and, more importantly, the fanbase.

We even have renewed word that team president Ted Phillips could be reassigned.

If things with Pace are still up in the air, Sunday should go a long way towards seeing him ousted as well. The Bears will in fact have some cap space as he mentioned. But they only have 32 players currently under contract for next season.

That money is going to dry up quickly. With no first-round pick thanks to trading up for Justin Fields, it’s going to be interesting to see just how much they can improve.

For good measure, they’ll be paying Charles Leno roughly $2.7 million next season. Leno just earned an extension for three years and $37.5 million with the Washington Football Team. Leno along with cornerback Kyle Fuller were cap casualties. Both left the Bears woefully thin in two of the most critical areas in today’s NFL: left tackle and cornerback.

With second-round rookie Teven Jenkins injured most of the season, the Bears had to rely on 40-year-old Jason Peters. He played well but that he was needed is the issue when his predecessor earns an extension.

Especially when many will find direct correlations between the salaries for Fuller and Leno with the Bears to those of Dalton, Nick Foles, and Jimmy Graham.

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Crystal Ball

There is no need to rehash what the ideal offseason for this franchise would look like. But there are still a lot of questions to be asked. The team is scheduled to hold its annual end-of-season meeting on Monday. That will be followed by a press conference that figures to include Phillips and team chairman George McCaskey at the very least, and Pace by most accounts.

McCaskey isn’t going anywhere. But Phillips and Pace’s presence will surely be detriments, if not outright roadblocks, to changing the culture up at Halas Hall and Soldier Field.

A game that saw the Bears dominate the first half saw them allow 31 straight to the Vikings. 

Akiem Hicks, a fan-favorite in his time with the Bears, has had an unceremonious exit that reportedly included an argument (subscription required) with his position coach.

We can point the finger at Nagy but the people who put him in place are equally at fault. As are those above them. When the results of this regime so closely mirror what we’ve seen from this organization for the majority of the last 30-plus years, it isn’t just a coach or general manager.

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