The quarterback plot persists.
Can Fields be so-so?
So-so would be great.
But it feels so far away.
Just like contention.
Four Things I Think Will Happen:
Minnesota Vikings 27, Chicago Bears 13
You see them sprouting up across the internet.
“Five Things the Bears Can Learn from Their Game with the Giants.”
“Which Bears Have Something to Prove Sunday?”
“Why Bears vs. Vikings Matters.”
There is nothing to learn.
Nobody is proving anything.
It doesn’t matter.
These are the sad facts of playing out the string, down the stretch of an NFL season, especially when there’s major organizational change coming in the off-season. It was nice to see the Bears put on a fun show for their fans Sunday at Soldier Field, harassing a Giants offense that would politely be described as sub-professional. Matt Nagy’s team has not quit, and the schedule has presented them with some beatable opponents, keeping the season from being an embarrassment.
But while we all want to find value in each of the 17 games we are given to watch each year, the truth is there’s little to be found in these contests. And there is a certain disingenuousness to writing about them with any level of seriousness. (Star Trib columnist Jim Souhan actually used a game quarterbacked by Sean Mannion as “final proof” that Mike Zimmer should be fired in Minnesota.) There is rarely any correlation between how a team finishes one season and how they begin the next one. There are simply too many variables, too much turnover.
And a week from today, Monday January 10th, a new era will begin for the Chicago Bears. Coach Nagy will be fired; a very good man who just never developed into a very good coach. GM Ryan Pace likely will too; a solid talent evaluator paying the price for whiffing on his two most important decisions. All focus will shift to finding their replacements. The final games of this season will be completely forgotten.
2000 was one of the more forgettable seasons in Bears history. They lost their first five games. They went into the bye 1-7. They scored more than 16 points only twice in those games.
But this game was memorable to me for a few reasons.
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and after a few weeks in the darkness of Quitsville, I’m back!
The Bears are 6-7. And this might be the most important game ever played by a 6-7 team.
If the Bears win Sunday, they’ll be 7-7, with Jacksonville on deck. (8-7) That’ll bring the Packers to town, with Tim Boyle likely starting, and a playoff spot likely on the line. If the Bears win Sunday they will be playing meaningful football for 17 weeks at a minimum. That’s how the late Giants owner Wellington Mara defined a successful season. And knew a bit about football.
But winning, especially with another superior offensive effort, would also continue to change the narrative around the head coach. Nobody is firing a head coach who is eight games over (minimum) in his first three years. And if the quarterback pitches another triple-digit quarterback rating? How could the narrative around him not alter slightly as well? Wouldn’t the Bears have to start considering a 2021 prove it deal?
Now if the Bears lose Sunday, their season ends. If they lose Sunday and deliver another lackluster offensive effort against the Vikings, Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky go back under the bright interrogative lamps of media and fans. (Hard to imagine Ted Phillips and Ryan Pace won’t be there regardless of these final games.) A loss flips the fourteen-day hourglass and the sand shuffles through on January 4th. That’s when we’ll find out who among the leadership is coming back in 2021.
It’s all at stake Sunday.
One of the strangest games of this NFL season. A myriad of thoughts.
The Vikings were allowing 412 yards per game this season.
The Bears had 149.
The Vikings were allowing 29.3 points per game.
The Bears offense scored 6.