For the game versus the Seattle Seahawks, the Chicago Bears had to flex five from their practice squad. How dire is the replacement situation for Chicago? So dire that I’m filling in for Patti, essentially playing the role of Nick Foles (or maybe Ryan Willis) to her Justin Fields. Heading into this game, I wanted the new players to shine and the old players to hold their own. The teams squaring off began the day with a combined 31% win record, so I was not expecting good football. It still ended up being a nail-biter.
Three and (Time)Out?
Somehow, Chicago’s culture of collaboration led to a stop immediately followed by a Nagy Special, a defensive timeout on 4th and 14. It’s a good thing those aren’t valuable, otherwise a coach might want to save them for basically any other point in the game. That was almost immediately followed by a 3-and-out and featured a pass play in snow on 3rd-and-2. I wish I were making that up. In any event, the seventh play of a game with two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks was the start of the third possession.
Graham Cracks When Targeted
Thomas Graham, jr. had a good initial showing last week. That said, he’s not ready to go up against the DK Metcalfs of the NFL on a regular basis. He proved this by allowing Metcalf to pick up a 41-yard touchdown reception the first time he was challenged.
Dazz Dazzles, Foles Falters, and Montgomery is a Monster
Newsome does something! On a terrible throw by Foles, Newsome dug the ball out of the snow and avoided contact to pick up a first down. However, the story of the drive was a number of long third downs that were converted by decent play all around. The typical Nagy-esque decisions like asking Mooney instead of Montgomery to rush early on, or running plays with post-snap motion where brand new receivers bump into each, were on display. However, when it mattered, Foles couldn’t make any magic happen. The drive stalled out at the goal line. Of course. Still, the answering defensive action was solid, and Chicago kept Seattle pinned.
Who came up with a nearly 30-yard return? Dazz Newsome, of course! He took the Bears into the red zone before Foles even took the field. This time, the Bears kept moving the ball in and Montgomery was able to punch the ball in. For Chicago, leaning on special teams and the run game are traditions, so it makes sense that it took both working together to get the Bears on the board.
The Bears turned into the Grinch on the next drive, and that’s after his heart grew three sizes. At first I thought they were confused thinking it was Christmas, but then I remembered it was Boxing Day. They gave away yards to Seattle (which was only 30th in the NFL in that category, certainly qualifying as “yard poor”) in an act of generosity that befits one of the founding franchises of the NFL. Passing yards and rushing yards were not enough for season, though, so Teez Tabor added some penalty yardage too–he’s a giver. That set up a touchdown by Penny. So nice of them!
There was a ridiculous moment where the refs thought Foles was getting in on the action with a fumble on the next drive, but replay sorted that out and the Bears started making progress. Until, of course, the offensive line did its thing, and the refs threw yellow-colored wrapping paper all over the field. No, wait, those were penalties that killed another drive.
The defense? Kept on giving, allowing Seattle to drive for another score. While I respect that the Bears were trying to spread cheer, they perhaps went overboard.
Since the Bears went into the locker room at halftime with two timeouts left, I guess the one Nagy burned on the very first drive didn’t matter. Another thing that barely mattered was Nagy’s offense itself. Going into the half, Chicago failed to have a drive of over 45 yards, and they only scored when they started with the ball inside the 20. On a related note, halftime was the part of the day when the Four Roses came out. No, that’s not an endorsement of any one brand or of any behavior on the part of Windy City Gridiron. It’s just a personal note and not a recommendation of any kind.
Chicago’s offense was much more efficient after the half, giving up yards on sacks, taking some of the burden off the defense to do all the work of giving Seattle good field position. More seriously, regardless of what Nagy called and the lack of rhythm he was able to achieve, Montgomery kept fighting for yards every time he was given the chance. The problem is that the offensive line and the playcalling combined to cheat him out of real chances one way or another. Still, he continued to show the kind of grit that has endeared him to fans game after game–therefore, it’s not surprising that Khalil Herbert is the one who got called up to get the touchdown to put the Bears back in the fight.
Great. The Bears can’t have nice things.
Eddie “Tackle” Jackson
The good news is Eddie Jackson stopped Rashaad Penny from getting a touchdown by coming over and doing the one things fans have asked him to do all season long–he just committed to a tackle. Too bad he did nothing to stop Gerald Everett from getting a touchdown on the very next play.
The full range of the Bears was on display, at one point having 1st and Goal from inside the five, but they ended up settling for a field goal. Still, Chicago managed to stay in the game and Santos showed that even if he was shaken up on the kickoff return, he’s still one of the most reliable Bears.
More importantly, the defense held firm and a sack by Pro Bowler Robert Quinn was enough to push the Seahawks back, and those yards made the difference Jason Myers missed what was honestly a makeable field goal.
Consistently Bad Nagy, Inconsistent Refs, and Reliable Bears!
Nagy went for it on a 4th-and-4 when the Bears were on their own side of the field. He of course dialed up a long play. Remarkably, it should have worked. However, refs who showered Chicago with flags earlier were more than happy to ‘let them play’ and interfere with a catch break up a pass. Only a really strong showing by the defense kept it a one-score game at that point. The refs gave back on the next drive, though, rewarding Chicago with a Roughing the Foles call to extend a great catch-and-run by Money Mooney.
Jimmy Graham Can Still Catch Touchdowns
Maybe they should go to him more often?
Wow. That is all. The Bears might win this? Yes, the Bears win this. After all the ups and downs, a risky call by Nagy and the defense did just enough to give the Bears the W!