Bears

Bears observations: Nagy's gambles pay off in win

Bears

The Bears gave themselves a late Christmas gift with a thrilling late-game win in a Seattle winter wonderland on Sunday, largely due to some gutsy calls and clutch moments by Matt Nagy and Nick Foles. Although the Bears came away with their fifth win of the year, it was far from a perfect performance. Struggles on defense continued, as did the lack of explosion on offense. But in the waning minutes of the game, Nagy and Foles shoved their chips into the middle and won.

MATT NAGY’S GAMBLES PAY OFF

After rolling the dice many times against the Vikings with not much to show for it, Nagy kept his foot on the gas pedal in Seattle. This time, it paid off. Initially, it looked like Nagy’s decision to keep the offense on the field at the Seahawks’ four-yard line, down 7-0 was the wrong move since the Bears came up empty. But the defense managed to hold Russell Wilson on the following drive, got their punt return back to the Seahawks’ 15-yard line, and scored a touchdown on the very next possession. Of course the biggest gamble was the decision to go for a two-point conversion一 and the win一 following the team’s touchdown drive near the end of the game. With nothing to lose except for some pride, the gamble paid off again, paving the way for their fifth win of the season.

NICK FOLES NOT GREAT, BUT COMES THROUGH

With both Justin Fields and Andy Dalton hurt, Foles drew his first start of the season, and played ok. His limited mobility certainly took away a dimension for the offense, but overall he made good decisions and didn’t commit a turnover. Foles spread the ball around, hitting nine different receivers, but didn’t hit on a pass play for 20+ yards until the team’s final drive of the game. That inability to hit on explosive plays was sorely missed for most of the game, especially given the defense’s struggles to stop Seahawks explosive plays. But, Foles helped the Bears win the possession battle 38:25-21:35.  And when the Bears needed him to put the team on his back he came through with a quick scoring drive, and a great throw on the following two-point conversion for the win. Foles finished 24-35 for 250 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Uninspiring, reliable and just enough to win.

 

DEFENSIVE SHAKE UPS DON’T WORK

The Bears tried several options across their defense throughout the game, but none of it worked particularly well for extended periods of time. The team shuffled Artie Burns and Thomas Graham in and out of the lineup at cornerback. There were times when Eddie Jackson slid down to play the slot (for the second week in a row), forcing Teez Tabor to come in to replace him at safety. The changes didn’t prevent guys from getting burned, or defensive miscues. There’s an argument to be made that it prevented the secondary from finding any rhythm, too. In the end, the Bears surrendered six plays of 20+ yards. That allowed the Seahawks to put points up quickly, with two sub-two minute scoring drives and another that only took 3:04. They should’ve had another quick scoring drive, but Jason Myers missed a 39-yard field goal, which ultimately cost the Seahawks the game.

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