Bears’ Nagy focused on ending the year with a win, not his future
CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Bears seem to expect big changes once the season is over, and no one has needed to remind coach Matt Nagy what that means to him.
A 29-3 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday could have been his last home game at Soldier Field. And the season finale in Minnesota could mark the end of his four-year tenure.
â€œI take it day by day,â€ Nagy said after Sunday’s game. “If it goes like this, it is meant to be.”
For now, he’s focused on the last game and trying to end a dismal season on a more positive note. The Bears (6-10) have won back-to-back wins after losing eight of nine. And they’re hoping quarterback Justin Fields returns to the roster when they visit the Vikings.
The rookie has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. The Bears will have more control over his availability when they return to practice on Wednesday.
â€œIt will always depend on his health,â€ Nagy said on Monday. â€œIt will always depend on the medical situation he is at and where we think he is. “
In Fields’ absence, veteran Nick Foles led Chicago to a comeback victory in Seattle and Andy Dalton started against New York after being sidelined with a groin problem.
Fields, the No. 11 overall pick, has had a rough season. The former Ohio State star has shown some promising flashes. But it remains to be seen if he will become a franchise quarterback.
The Bears have lost eight of the 10 games he started, including the last seven with him in the roster. The only wins were against ailing Detroit and Las Vegas in Weeks 4 and 5.
â€œHe’s put in a lot of time and effort this year to develop and get better as a quarterback,â€ Nagy said. “What this will allow him to do is end on a high note.”
Defense. The Bears intercepted Mike Glennon twice, recovered two fumbles and forced a safety. They also had four sacks – including Robert Quinn’s single-season franchise record, 18th, and a career-high two by Trevis Gipson – for 34 yards.
The defense essentially helped Chicago seal the win in the opening minutes, with take-out on the Giants’ first two possessions.
Gipson had a strip-sack in the first play of the scrum match and Tashaun Gipson Sr. knocked out Glennon on the next possession. The two takeaways led to a David Montgomery score and a Darnell Mooney touchdown, bringing the score to 14-0.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offense. With 249 yards, the Bears haven’t really enlightened the Giants.
Andy Dalton’s 63.2 passer rating could have looked like Brady’s compared to Glennon’s 5.3. But even so, the triple Pro Bowler was just 18 of 35 with 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his fifth start this season.
In the comeback victory in Seattle last week, with Fields and Dalton sidelined, Nick Foles threw for 250 yards and posted a 98.5 rating in one of the best performances by a quarterback. Chicago back this season.
Quinn. The veteran linebacker broke Dent’s record of 17 1/2 sacks in 1984 when he arrived at Glennon in the fourth quarter. It continued a remarkable comeback. Quinn, 31, had just two sacks last season, his first in Chicago. Now he only needs one to tie his career-high 19 with St. Louis in 2013.
WR Allen Robinson. In the final chapter of a tough season, Robinson caught just four passes for 35 yards. To be fair, he missed the previous two games due to COVID-19 issues. And Nagy indicated after the game that maybe he was a bit limited.
â€œHe looked good,â€ Nagy said. “I was trying to keep an eye on him going in and out. There were times he probably would have been in some plays here or there earlier as we cross his wind and where he is, but I think he did well.
The Bears removed TE Jesper Horsted and LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe from the reserve / COVID-19 list on Monday.
800 – The win was the 800th count for the playoffs for Chicago. The Monsters of the Midway joined Green Bay as the only franchise to achieve this mark.
The Bears end the season in Minnesota on Sunday.