Not even a game-ending touchdown pass from Justin Fields to Jesper Horsted could save the Bears from the inevitable, as their 17-9 loss to the Vikings on Monday Night Football put and end to any mathematical odds of making the postseason that might’ve still been on the table.
Chicago’s football team is missing the postseason tournament for the second time in three seasons. And that feels significant for a team that talked itself up as a contender coming into the year.
Let’s unpack some things from tonight…
• Justin Fields in a word was — OK. The stat line looks respectable: 26/39 (66.7% completions), 285 yards, 7.3 Y/A, 1 TD, 0 INT, and a 96.6 passer rating ain’t too shabby. Tacking on 7 rushes and 35 yards looks nice, too. But Fields also fumbled twice, losing one in a crucial moment while the offense was marching. Even still … seeing that 0 in the interception column should bring a smile to every Bears fan’s face. The decision-making and ball security needs work, but a small step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction.
It didn’t count, but this was nice:
— Epic Highlights (@EpicHighlights_) December 21, 2021
• On the other side of the field, Kirk Cousins was doing Kirk Cousins things. The Bears might’ve lost the battle of tonight, and the war of the season, but they didn’t get dunked on this hard by folks online:
Cousins averages 3.6 YPA vs. Bears' practice squad https://t.co/GkJSoN6qe1
— NBC Sports EDGE Football (@NBCSEdgeFB) December 21, 2021
Kirk Cousins … INT pic.twitter.com/QP7r8RkHsQ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 21, 2021
• Let me get this straight when it comes to Chicago’s DBs. The Bears’ secondary on Monday Night Football was consisting of a rookie undrafted free agent (Thomas Graham Jr.), a second-year player who was benched twice over (Kindle Vildor), a failed Lions second-round pick (Teez Tabor), and a core special teams contributor (Deon Bush). And Kirk Cousins couldn’t hit triple digits in passing yards? I’m not sure I want to call this out for fraudulent behavior or sing his praises in hopes it inspires someone in Minnesota to give him an extension.
• Also … I’m willing to overlook the blown call on missing the defensive holding on the Bush interception if you are willing to do the same. And if you’re an NFL official reading this, odds are you are overlooking it, too. Or just missing it altogether.
• One call they didn’t miss is one that offended every sensible football-watcher who was tuning into that game:
— PFF (@PFF) December 21, 2021
• I’m getting tired of poor officiating ruining my football viewing. At this point, I’d rather let players call their own game. One pathetic call after another. And the league has the audacity to push this into the world:
Unnecessary roughness was correctly called on CHI 26 for making forcible contact to the head of a defenseless receiver with his helmet. The foul was properly called by the Back Judge. #MINvsCHI pic.twitter.com/DSMWn96dEx
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) December 21, 2021
• Many football fans watching this game were born on a Sunday. But not this past Sunday. It is insulting to think someone edited this video, crafted this tweet, and expected rational human beings to be OK with it. What a world.
• If that was Matt Nagy’s swan song, at least he’ll go out as a meme:
Matt Nagy is going full Lou Piniella tonight pic.twitter.com/mDyKLLFUPq
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 21, 2021
• It isn’t much of a consolation prize, but know this: Everything that enraged you tonight (which has likely been driving you nuts for the better part of three seasons) will likely be out the door when the calendar turns to 2022. Let’s keep that perspective as we wind down this season.
• Maybe it is the general manager responsible for piecing this team together who is on your last nerve. Perhaps it is the head coach/play-caller putting these pieces on the field. And there was no shortage of maddening moments in the 130+ plays that were ran on MNF. Last night was a snapshot of everything going wrong for the Bears. Between the players, coaches, and front office members, there figures to be a ton of change this offseason. Roster turnover is inevitable in the NFL. Few key pieces will stay. The rest will move around. But moving forward, it seems as if it is obvious that the folks responsible for presenting this product should be the first shown the exit. Whatever happens after that happens. Que sera, sera … and all that jazz.
Three games left.