There are three possible outcomes for the Chicago Bears over the next six days. (I’m ruling out ties, which I may come to regret by the end of next week.) Each outcome brings with it a very specific emotional trajectory for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Outcome #1 – The Sweep
Emotional Outcome: JUICE!
If the Bears win their next two games, they move to 5-6 and put a significant amount of juice into the remainder of the regular season. The six seed in the NFC is a 5-4, quarterback-less Saints team. The seven seed just made Cam Newton their starter.
The juice would start at Soldier Field, on December 5th, against the Arizona Cardinals. Justin vs. Kyler. A fired up building on the lakefront. Christmas only 20 days away!
It is highly unlikely Matt Nagy can still earn his way back onto the sideline for 2022, but the only way that conversation can start is by winning these next two, while Justin Fields progresses.
Outcome #2 – The Shutout
Emotional Outcome: MAKE IT STOP.
The McCaskey family is opposed to firing coaches in-season, with Marc Trestman pushing them as close to the line as they’d ever come. That year, what prevented them from making the move was their desire to clean house – removing Trestman and GM Phil Emery – and they thought it best to make both moves once the season ended.
But if the Bears fall to 3-8, including a loss on Thanksgiving to an awful and untalented Lions team, the outcry may be too great to ignore. Nagy will have lost the fans, and the locker room. With a new, two-week, regular season interview period open for head coaches, ownership may see no reason to leave Nagy in the job for a meaningless month.
And that’s all the remainder of the schedule would be: meaningless. The results would not matter, not even artificially. All that would matter is a few highlights from Fields and the development of young talent like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Larry Borom and – hopefully – Teven Jenkins. December and early January become de facto preseason games.
Outcome #3 – The Split
Emotional Outcome: EH.
Isn’t this what every fan expects? Be relevant, or be terrible. The problem with the Bears under Nagy – since the end of the 2018 season – is they’ve been neither.
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And it will be intriguing/exciting to see Justin Fields use the extra practice time to develop chemistry with his offensive playmakers. Will Come Kmet continue to ascend? Will Allen Robinson finally deliver? Will the Bears get anything from the bottom of their wide receiver depth chart?
The Ravens have designs on winning the Super Bowl. That’s what teams strive for when they have MVP candidates at quarterback. They currently sit at 6-3, third in the conference, with a fascinating schedule to come: home Browns, at at Steelers, at Browns, home Packers, at Bengals, home Rams, home Steelers. That is five division rivalry games and two games against the best of the NFC. John Harbaugh will know the team can’t afford to lose Sunday at Soldier Field if they want to avoid needing three road wins to get to a Los Angeles in February.
The Bears have lost four straight, and they have two games in five days. Matt Nagy has heard the discussion. He knows his time with the Bears is coming to an end and he also knows there is only one way to stave off his termination: win big down the stretch of this season. That has to start Sunday. A Bears loss will give them seven on the season, and five straight (after losing six straight a season ago). That would be definitively “it” for Nagy. A win, followed by a win in Detroit on Thanksgiving, would move them to 5-6, and at least give their home tilt with Arizona on December 5th, Justin versus Kyler, some juice.
The Wire has, like it or not, becoming Baltimore’s iconic piece of art. But the comic moments are not usually the ones that receive the most attention. Here are two phone calls I still reference all the time.
The Josie Woods era is effectively over. But the beginning was glorious. Here’s the story.
What follows will be a stream of consciousness blog, written in real time as I watch the Hall of Fame Game. There will be no editing after the fact and, honestly, very little done while I’m writing. This is not an interesting sporting event. This is not a remotely interesting sporting event. So I’m trying to make it more fun.
I’m going over to the game after watching ten minutes of Chris Matthews on MSNBC. I always wondered who Matthews reminded me of and it just fucking hit me. He’s Paul Sorvino’s Lips Manlis from the Dick Tracy movie. They even drool the same way.
How did this become my life? There are people in bars, having fun, laughing together, fucking in bathroom stalls. I’m sitting on a couch with two cats. My girlfriend is getting on a plane for Israel. And I’m thinking, “Be fun to get a look at Kylie Fitts in pads.”
Just turned on Yankees v. Red Sox and Boston has a guy named Jackie Bradley Junior. Which sounds exactly like the name I’d give a character in my fake novel, Murder at Stax Records.
“Are you ready for some footballllllllllllllll?”
No. Kickoff is apparently not for another ten minutes.
Ray Lewis just did his obnoxious dance and started revving up absolutely no one. If only he were this enthusiastic when police asked him what he knew about a homicide.
First drive over. At no point during that drive did I even consider writing something. Chase Daniel threw a pick at the end of the drive. Even he didn’t seem to mind.
Al Michaels quotes John Madden saying the busts in the Hall of Fame talk to each other at night.
Cris Collinsworth says, “Maybe the greatest line ever”. Really? That’s the greatest line ever? Ever??
Instant replay should be outlawed in the preseason.
It wasn’t a pretty game to watch, but the Bears got their first road win since 2015 behind an impressive effort by the defense. Baltimore had no business being in the game, but managed to push it to overtime after an impressive series of self-inflicted mistakes by the Bears in the fourth quarter.
Still, the Bears found a way to get Mitchell Trubisky his first career win and improve to 2-4 on the season. Let’s look at some key takeaways from the game.
The Bears entrusted their franchise to this man.
I always like the Chicago Bears. And Monday night reinvigorated me.
What impressed me about Trubisky in his Monday night debut was the moment never got too big for him. He was poised. He was under control. Did he make a few mistakes? Of course. The kid was making his first professional start! But he recognized the errors and owned up to them post-game.
The talent premiered. Now it’s about improvement. What should we be watching?
Biscuit is gonna be very good for a long time.
— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) October 10, 2017
Yes, Shea McClellin is still learning a new position in the middle of a complicated defense. And yes, Antrel Rolle is on the flipside of his football playing coin. But both are pivotal when it comes to essential elements of playing defense in the NFL. Per Friend of the Blog Adam Jahns:
“Shea McClellin, obviously, getting him back in there at some point, as well as Antrel, from a leadership standpoint, getting guys lined up and understanding how to execute our defense is key,” Fox said. “We’ve got some guys that we’re leaning on right now that will just get better with time until those guys can get back in the lineup.”
If McClellin returns and the defense improves, expect him in the lineup beyond January 3, 2015.
Made some overreacting mistakes to the first week of the season, especially in the Rams/Redskins game. Still can’t believe the Rams team that played the Redskins Sunday was the same that beat Seattle to open the year. Lines can be found here.
Here’s the logic: I don’t believe the Ravens are an 0-3 team. And I think they (much like the Seahawks) will be refreshed by playing their first home game and deliver a big effort. Ravens 30, Bengals 24.
The Bears are going to have trouble scoring points with Jimmy Clausen starting at quarterback but I don’t think that means they’ll be shutout by a defense that has struggled mightily coming out of the 2015 gates. And the Seahawks would be disappointed finishing this game with less than 28 points. I say the game goes over. Seahawks 31, Bears 20
I have been unabashed in my hatred of the way Colts GM Ryan Grigson has built this roster around Andrew Luck. In lieu of offensive linemen or defenders, Grigson has stockpiled aged skill players the team doesn’t need. Luck will probably throw another pick or two and Marcus Mariota should be able to gauge the Colts for large chunks of yardage on the ground. Colts 34, Titans 30.
Season Record: 2-3-1 (-$140)