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The Chicago Bears took a late lead — and finally kept it. Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts after Nick Foles’ rally in the 25-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16.

10 thoughts after the Chicago Bears rallied with 11 points in the fourth quarter and took the lead on a two-point conversion with 1:01 remaining to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 25-24 on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field — ending a three-game losing streak.

1. Allow your mind to wander and you’ll catch yourself thinking about leads the Bears took late in the fourth quarter in Weeks 9 and 11.

The offense was able to forge ahead with less than two minutes to play in Pittsburgh and then at home against the Baltimore Ravens, only to have the defense blow it. That’s how topsy-turvy this season has been for the Bears. When the offense, which has been anemic almost every week, has delivered in the clutch, the defense suddenly springs leaks — lots of them — to blow games.

This one looked like it might be setting up similarly after Nick Foles, pressed into action with Justin Fields (ankle) and Andy Dalton (groin) inactive, saw tight end Jimmy Graham singled up on cornerback John Reid on the outside on third-and-14 from the Seahawks 15-yard line. He knew where he was going.

Foles had taken a sack and 3-yard loss on first down and threw incomplete on second down, so he was essentially looking at third-and-goal — two shots to get in the end zone. Long odds, right? Longer for an offense that has been so unproductive in the red zone for a couple of seasons.

“Not for Jimmy Graham,” Foles said. “All I was looking for right there was who’s covering Jimmy. Are they going to double him? All right, they’re not doubling him. I’m just going to throw it to Jimmy. Like a nice little two-ball and let him close the cushion and let him do his thing. That’s Jimmy Graham, Hall of Famer.”

The 6-foot-7 Graham, with a 9-inch height advantage, pinned Reid behind him, and it was an easy catch for the touchdown. That capped a six-play, 80-yard drive that took only 1 minute, 55 seconds.

The decision had been made before the drive. If the Bears pulled within one with a touchdown, they were going for two points and the victory. Coach Matt Nagy wasn’t going to get on the plane ride home — the longest of the season — and wonder if something would have been different had he not introduced the element of luck and the overtime coin flip into the equation. He was playing for the win.

Q-8 Swivel was the call, according to Foles. The Bears would run a pick play with Darnell Mooney and Damiere Byrd. The Seahawks actually dropped Mooney, leaving him uncovered in the flat at the goal line. It would have been a simple pitch and catch. Foles either didn’t see him or wanted Byrd all along, and he made a contested throw into the back of the end zone, where Byrd somehow landed with his right knee in bounds while clutching the ball in his left hand as linebacker Jordyn Brooks and cornerback Sidney Jones wisely tried carrying him out of bounds before he landed.

“Usually, I’m never coming down like that,” Byrd said. “They actually helped me by picking me up that way. I was able to kind of scoop my foot underneath to be able to get it back down.”

The Bears led 25-24 with 61 seconds remaining, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had two timeouts and a kicker in Jason Myers with one of the strongest legs in the NFL, although he missed wide left from 39 yards earlier in the fourth quarter.

In other words, what could go wrong? Nothing, it turns out. The Seahawks were penalized for holding, and then a false start turned fourth-and-1 at their 36-yard line into fourth-and-5. Recent addition Bruce Irvin was credited with a hit on quarterback Russell Wilson, an ex-teammate, on an errant fourth-down throw.

The Bears were able to celebrate the victory, improving to 5-10 and closing out an opponent where they fell short against the Steelers and Ravens in the portion of the schedule that probably ultimately doomed Nagy. Those were the Bears’ fourth and fifth consecutive losses, lowering their record to 3-7. I think that will be one of the key things Chairman George McCaskey says in his postseason evaluation, that the Bears have not been able to pull out of long losing streaks in three consecutive seasons — and that’s why the back-to-back losses to those AFC North foes were gutting.

Here, Nagy’s edgy bunch prevented another prolonged losing streak by rallying from 10 down at halftime and 10 down entering the fourth quarter. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of character on the road and in the snow the day after Christmas, even if it was against a bad Seahawks team that now shares the same 5-10 record.

This victory doesn’t change a thing for the future of the Bears, just like another win Sunday against the New York Giants wouldn’t change anything. Nagy knows that. But a win here meant everything to those involved.

“You know when you get into any sport, any profession, you look at it and you say, ‘You know, we all have to have a little dignity and pride in what we do,’” Nagy said. “It’s not easy when you lose. Trust me, I have been on a lot of football teams in my life, and there’s not many that I have been on where you have a losing record. So, you know, even for me learning how to be on a team that has a losing record isn’t easy, but you’ve got to be able to persevere, you’ve got to fight and you have to be able to give it everything you have and have no regrets. And so I can only do so much as a coach. We can only do so much as coaches.

“When the players go out and do what they do and show to us as coaches that they’re going to play hard — the last couple weeks, they’ve done that — it means a lot to me. Sometimes when you go through these coaching experiences, when you win it’s kind of easy and things get deodorized. When you lose, it’s really freaking hard. How do you learn from those moments? I’m taking a lot from these moments that we have. Right now, today, the only thing I’m proud and happy about is for those players in that locker room to be able to enjoy that win from tonight. They deserve it. For the coaches too.”

Like I said, go back to those games against the Steelers and Ravens and envision a different outcome and, well, the picture still isn’t pretty. The Bears would be 7-8 with victories in both of those games, a long shot to reach the postseason, and they still would have a mostly broken offense.

That doesn’t mean this locker room should have been any less exuberant on a chilly evening at the end of a long season that has two games remaining.

“Man, when you go through so much for so long and you get a lot of naysayers and a lot of people going at you,” said running back David Montgomery, who rushed for 45 yards on 21 carries and caught seven passes for 61 yards. “I don’t really care what the record looks like. It is what it is. But to get a win with the guys in there and knowing the kind of character they’ve got feels amazing. So I’m just happy. I’m going to enjoy this win for the day, go get back to work and get ready for next week.”

2. The win would feel differently if the players in the game’s defining moments were the ones who would play key roles for the Bears in 2022 — and maybe even 2023.

Nick Foles, Jimmy Graham and Damiere Byrd produced those plays on offense. Bruce Irvin had a hit on Russell Wilson on the game’s final fourth down. Of that group, only Foles is under contract for next season, when the Bears have guaranteed him $5 million. It’s nice to see Graham get involved a little bit. He caught two passes for 30 yards. Byrd has 20 catches on the season for 259 yards with one touchdown. They’re both cogs in a passing offense that has done so little.

When you’re in the process of turning the page from 2021 to the offseason ahead, it’s difficult to put a lot of stock in that. It’s not like first-round draft pick Justin Fields rallied the Bears from 10 down in the fourth quarter. He wasn’t in uniform. Second-round draft pick Teven Jenkins, making his second start, was knocked out in the first quarter with a left shoulder injury. He was replaced by fifth-round pick Larry Borom, who struggled a little — although it should be noted he has spent nearly every week he has been healthy at right tackle.

Rookie cornerback Thomas Graham Jr., everyone’s favorite discovery a week ago when the Bears leaned heavily on Cover-2 shells in the secondary, got a welcome-to-the-league moment when DK Metcalf beat him off the line of scrimmage for an easy 41-yard touchdown pass. Some complained the Bears were in a bad call and shouldn’t have left Graham solo on Metcalf, but you can’t help a young cornerback on every snap. Graham also missed Rashaad Penny in the open field on a 32-yard run, but he mixed in a nice open-field tackle, a pass breakup and added a tackle on special teams. Graham is just getting on the field now and deserves more opportunities, but it’s premature to say whether he can help this team moving forward.

One plus is the younger players you’re hoping to see production from when games are on the line are mixed in with veterans in late December games that don’t affect postseason play. The Bears are playing out the string and are competing while doing so — and you can’t say that about every team. So for young players to pick up that lesson and hopefully learn from it, there’s value in that.

“If you do what I do, these two (final) games aren’t meaningless,” said outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who had one sack to give him 17 on the season. “If you don’t show up and play well, you might not be on the team next year. So regardless of records and games, it’s the players because we’ve got to prove to everyone else why we should be here. We’ve still got to prove to ourselves and to everyone else we are supposed to be in this league. That’s pretty much it.”

3. If you didn’t see it during the Week 3 broadcast in Cleveland, you probably saw it on social media afterward.

Fox Sports cameras showed Nick Foles standing next to Andy Dalton on the sideline, and even amateur lip readers could see Foles said, “The offense just isn’t working.”

It really wasn’t working that day, when the Bears had 47 net yards on 42 plays in a loss to the Browns. As the schedule has worked out, Sunday night was the first time Foles has been available to media. The team did not make him available Friday after Matt Nagy named him the Week 16 starter.

“Yeah, the offense was not working that day,” Foles said. “I love this question because everyone was thinking it at the time.”

My intent wasn’t to rehash a loss to the Browns but to ask him why — from his vantage point — the offense hasn’t worked for the better part of the season. I’m relatively confident everyone has been thinking that as well.

“It’s not my place to say,” he said. “I just know that I have great teammates that are going to continue to work and we’re going to continue to build. And tonight we were able to get things going offensively just good enough to get a win by one point. And I know guys are going to keep working.”

Foles looked better than he did during most of his outings a year ago, when he really wilted under pressure. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 250 yards, not including another 41 yards the Bears got in pass interference calls on plays where he pushed the ball downfield. He distributed the ball to nine targets, something the Bears have done only one other time this season, and after a three-and-punt to open the game, the offense had eight possessions of five-plus plays without a turnover.

Both tight ends finally got going a little bit. Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham combined for five receptions of 14 or more yards. We’re not talking about Travis Kelce-type production here, but when is the last time the Bears did this? Foles knew where the ball needed to go, generally had an idea where pressure was coming from and when the ball comes out on time, positive plays can happen.

What should not be overlooked is the reality that the Bears, in preparing for the 2020 season, pinned hope on Foles being the guy who could help them compete. The Jacksonville Jaguars were dumping him and the Bears were eager to trade a fourth-round draft pick for Foles, modest compensation, provided he gave them permission to move some of the numbers around in what remained in his contract, essentially turning it into a three-year, $24 million deal.

Matt Nagy wasted no time turning to Foles either, benching Mitch Trubisky halfway through a Week 3 game in Atlanta. He rallied the offense against the Falcons, and the Bears managed to win two of the next three. But then it was all downhill for Foles, and the last time we saw him on the field, he was carted off with a hip injury against the Minnesota Vikings 13 months ago.

The Bears drafted Justin Fields and signed Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract, making Foles the No. 3 quarterback without any chance of competing his way up the ladder. The idea Foles would be tradable wasn’t well thought out, considering the money he was owed in 2021 and the $5 million he has on the books for next season. So where did it go so badly wrong for Foles?

“There’s a lot of reasons, without getting back into last year, why we struggled and not Foles,” Nagy said. “I’m happy for Nick that he got an opportunity today. Not happy for how it happened with Justin and Andy (being injured). But Nick’s always going to be prepared. For him to be able to come into this moment — he’s been there, done that a lot of different ways.

“Last year was last year. These guys have persevered this year and fought through a lot in the quarterback room. They’ve been great with each other. They support each other. I just think that when you go into a game like this, it just speaks to who he is, how he does things. He helped our team tremendously today to get the win. For that, I’m very appreciative.”

To recap, Foles says it’s not his place to offer an opinion on why the Bears have been so ineffective offensively, and Nagy doesn’t want to detail how Foles went from being the guy to save the Bears from Trubisky to the guy who is on the roster because he was owed too much money to trade.

The Bears have poured a lot of money into veteran quarterbacks. Forget, for the moment anyway, the two quarterbacks general manager Ryan Pace traded up to draft and the cost involved there. The Bears have paid big money to veteran quarterbacks after the departure of Jay Cutler, who was the starter during Pace’s first two seasons. Mike Glennon was paid $16 million in 2017. Chase Daniel spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons as the backup at a cost of $10 million total. Foles will have received $16 million from the Bears after this season, and Dalton is earning $10 million this season. That adds up to $52 million for six seasons of work and a total of 19 starts (eight by Foles, four each by Dalton and Glennon and three by Daniel).

Foles earned his pay in Week 16 with a credible effort from a backup that made the offense efficient enough to score 25 points, convert 7 of 14 third downs and hold the ball for 38 minutes, 25 seconds, despite struggling to run the ball (88 yards on 30 attempts).

4. Will Nick Foles start Sunday against the New York Giants at Soldier Field?

I was told Justin Fields, who has an ankle injury, was in a walking boot all last week and didn’t get a single rep in practice. On an estimated practice report Wednesday, when the Bears held a walk-through, they designated Fields as limited. He showed up on the injury report as “did not participate” Thursday and Friday. It could be the Bears were hopeful Fields would be able to do a little in practice Wednesday if the team had gotten on the field and then that shifted the next day.

Looking ahead, it really doesn’t matter, and a walking boot last week does not preclude him from making his way onto the practice field this week and being ready to play against the Giants. We also don’t know where Andy Dalton is in recovering from a groin injury.

“I don’t know that because we’re day to day right now with Justin,” Matt Nagy said when I asked him if Fields could play against the Giants. “We’re just going to see where he’s at and go off of how he feels and then putting the player first — how do you feel? I think Monday and Tuesday will tell us a lot as to being able to go into it, and then if not, if he’s still not feeling good, we’ll see how it is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and go from there. But we’re going to rely on where he’s at, what our trainers say, and then obviously Nick is going to be prepared as well for that.”

Fields has missed 3½ games this season because of injuries — cracked ribs and now an ankle injury that didn’t prevent him from finishing the loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 20 at Soldier Field. Hopefully he reaches a point where the ankle is good enough for him to be a dual threat at the position.

Fields was injured in the second quarter against the Vikings, and the ankle got worse after the game. He let the team know about it the next day and was hopeful before the Wednesday walk-through that he could play.

Mike Glennon might start for the Giants. Daniel Jones is out for the season with a neck injury, and they turned to Jake Fromm as the starter against the Philadelphia Eagles before coach Joe Judge benched Fromm and went back to Glennon, who had started the previous three games.

The Bears hope Fields will be back in action. But a Glennon-Foles showdown would really bridge the last five years of quarterback play for the Bears.

5. Speculation has existed early in the season that the Bears could potentially use an early window to begin interviewing head-coaching candidates.

The NFL introduced the idea of allowing clubs that have fired their coach or informed him he is not returning in 2022 to start interviewing candidates in Week 17, a period that opens Tuesday morning. The league officially adopted the change earlier this month — and it will be interesting to see how many clubs jump at it.

When the topic first came up, probably after the Week 3 disaster in Cleveland, my first reaction was I didn’t know that a new league rule would lead the franchise to do something it’s never done previously — fire a head coach in season.

The rule change, which is on a one-year trial, was made with the idea of aiding the NFL in its goal to expand the hiring pool and increase diversity. The interviews must be conducted virtually and are limited to two hours, which sounds like more of a get-to-know-you meeting than anything else. But it’s also the kind of first date that could lead teams to circle back with candidates for more in-depth interviews at the conclusion of the regular season. It’s a start, right?

The league actually did something similar last year in Week 16, but the policy was announced one day before it was put in place on Dec. 23, 2020. Now, clubs that have made moves or have been considering them have been able to plan.

Makes sense for the Bears, right?

Up until the point you ask yourself who is running the coaching search. Who will be the Bears general manager in 2022? If it’s Ryan Pace — and there are some in league circles who believe he will survive to hire a third head coach — then the Bears could be submitting requests to interview potential candidates at 8 a.m. Tuesday. If the Bears are going to do this, George McCaskey needs to make himself available for the first time in nearly 12 months and explain in precise detail why he believes that is the best direction.

If the Bears are going to make more sweeping changes at Halas Hall, a head start interviewing head-coaching candidates doesn’t do them a bit of good. There is not a similar policy in place for early interviews for GM candidates, so if McCaskey is going to fire Pace and Nagy, the coaching search probably doesn’t make sense until the GM search has been completed.

Maybe we see some teams take advantage of this expanded window. Until we have some clarity when it comes to Pace’s future and the power structure at Halas Hall, I have a hard time seeing the Bears jumping in the mix. It wouldn’t make sense to start interviewing coaches if they’re then going to launch a GM search.

The league wants a bigger pool of candidates for these jobs. More names. More discussion. More consideration. The league has encouraged teams to offer feedback to candidates following interviews with the idea being that will help strengthen the process as a whole. We’ll see what direction this heads in and if the league wants to implement something similar on a permanent basis. Maybe the league will consider allowing teams to have early interviews for GM candidates in the future as well.

6. It’s impossible to say what shape the organization is going to take until we hear from chairman George McCaskey.

Some have suggested the Bears hire a president of football operations, a position that in theory would be over the general manager and head coach. The idea floated is the team could put someone with a football background in the role of president to help guide football decisions, a change that would ostensibly remove current president/CEO Ted Phillips from decisions made on the football side, which are far less seldom than most probably imagine.

It’s certainly not the model every team uses — the majority of clubs that don’t have a head coach as the top personnel person in the organization have a flowchart for football decision that begins with the GM. Not everyone thinks a football czar position at Halas Hall is the best route for the team. One source familiar with how the teams operates explained his thinking.

“Ted is part of the process for hiring and firing of the GM and he’s part of the process of providing the budget available to the GM for how much he can spend on players,” the source said. “That budget comes from finance and George really more so than only Ted, I would suspect.

“In reality, Ted has very, very little to do with football. He doesn’t tell them what they should do in the draft. He doesn’t ask them about specific players. He’s not telling them what to do in free agency either. That’s where I don’t understand the concept of hiring a president over football operations because Ted has no direct influence over anything that’s going on with the football team. I’m sure Ryan (Pace), when he wants to trade for Khalil Mack, he calls Ted and says, ‘Can I do this?’ Ted says yes. ‘Can I sign Mike Glennon? Can I sign Andy Dalton?’ All of those things. It’s not like Ted has been a roadblock to the many moves they’ve made. They’ve gotten approval on a lot of dumb stuff. It’s not like Ted is telling them no. So if you bring in some president of football operations, Ted is still doing the same thing he is already doing. He’s overseeing finance, marketing, the business crew, the stadium, all of that stuff. All of the stuff that he’s gonna do anyway, he’s still doing.

“So this idea of hiring a president of football operations, you’re just bringing in a new person with a new fancy title that’s really ultimately the GM. That’s all it is. You’re bringing in another person that is in charge of football, so whether you name them president of football operations or general manager, it’s the same thing. That person is either overseeing the football team, and making the football decisions, and if they are not, they are just getting in the way.

“If they hire a president of football operations and then a GM, all you are doing is messing with titles here, you’re not really redesigning the structure of the operation. It’s just a manipulation of titles. I don’t even know you who put in that team president role. Who do you hire as president of football operations instead of GM? Who needs that title? And then who is coming in underneath that guy as the ‘GM,’ who is really the No. 2? Nobody with real GM options.

“It’s Chris Spielman? What is he doing in Detroit? He doesn’t have the title of president. He’s a special assistant to the owner and CEO. Seriously, what does he do every day? What are the other instances of this? John Elway right now. He’s got that title. He’s golfing. He’s on the golf course and George Paton is the GM there. Tom Coughlin had it in Jacksonville. He was just messing things up. He was the GM and the head coach. All he did was run off great players. He was trying to be everything. And he had no business doing that because he was a coach. Now, you’re asking a former coach to oversee the draft process, the free agency process, the psychological process, the player development, the equipment room, all of these things they don’t have the background to do. They’re a coach because they know scheme and technique and how to communicate to players. The one exception is maybe Tony Dungy. He’s a great human being. He’s a mentor. If you want to hire a mentor, fine. It better be Tony Dungy or I don’t know who else. I don’t know why he would want to do it.

“Who is the phantom president of football operations that knows everything about everything? I don’t know who that is. What people are trying to say is get Ted out of football, but Ted has still got to help hire this football president, who has to hire the GM and then hire a coach. It just doesn’t make sense. Ultimately, it’s George’s call when they’ve hired a GM, when they’ve made these other moves. It’s not Ted’s call. So, does removing Ted fix this process?

“You could hire another team president, but ultimately they still don’t know the complexities of the role and who fits it best. You are trying to hire someone into a role that you don’t know everything about. They did the best thing they could by bringing in Ernie Accorsi (in 2015 as a consultant in the process that hired Pace). That wasn’t the wrong decision to ask Ernie to help. The reason that often doesn’t work is because it ends up being somewhat incestuous because it’s going to be one of Ernie’s connections that is going to get the job.

“What I would do, if I am Ted or George and if I am willing to admit I don’t know what I need to know to make the right hire to give myself the best opportunity to get the right person, I would bring in three good Bears alumni and maybe someone like a Dungy. You figure out what you’re looking for. You figure out who the candidates are and you figure out who matches that profile. Whatever that looks like, collectively you make the best choice.

“It’s easy to get the right list of candidates. There are plenty of lists out there to find the right candidates. Then you just have to figure out what you’re looking for and who can help you ask the right questions to figure out what you need to know about the candidates and then make the best decision you can. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Ted needs to be replaced because who are you going to replace him with?”

7. DK Metcalf grew up wearing Bears gear and rooting for the team.

DK was 4 and attending elementary school in the north suburbs when Terrence Metcalf, a guard, was drafted in the third round in 2002 out of Ole Miss.

“I got him started early,” Terrence said Thursday from Seattle, where he was with family visiting his son for the holidays. “You remember Russ (Riederer), who was our strength and conditioning coach? He told me to pull him off weights when he was a younger kid, but we continued with other stuff with bands and box jumps, different equipment I had at the house.

“By the time DeKaylin hit sixth grade, seventh grade, he was working in the weight room. At 14, he competed in cross-fit tournaments against grown men. He didn’t win the things, but he came in third place against a bunch of grown-ups. It was impressive to see how he took to it and just loved the work.”

DK is one of the most physical and biggest wide receivers in the league, listed by the Seahawks at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds. Terrence was 6-4, 310 pounds in his playing days when he appeared in 84 games for the Bears with 25 starts. I asked him if his son would follow his path as a lineman when he was younger.

“He never had that type of physique,” Terrence said. “That’s not how God made him. It was more just the training (that developed him). He started out playing running back. Could have been a quarterback. But over time, once he hit middle school, he shifted to wide receiver and never looked back. You never know what position a kid will play.

“He’s just got good work ethic, man. One of the main things about DeKaylin is he just took to the training. It’s been a blessing just seeing how he has accepted football in his life and just never let up. Never had any issue with him training or trying to get out of things. He understood what it meant to be a professional at an early age. It just made it easy for me asking him to do something he was willing to do regardless of the time or difficult it was. Even when he was younger. I never started with football training until he hit 12 years old. Once we got started, he just took to it.”

Terrence got into coaching at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss., when DK was playing at Ole Miss. Once his son was drafted in the second round by Seattle in 2019, Terrence made the decision to move to the West Coast, settling in Las Vegas where he trains high school- and college-aged linemen.

“There’s been a number of guys that have kids that have played in the league, but one of the things I was grateful that I was able to do, I was in an organization with some hardworking guys that understood took what it took to be a pro,” Terrence said. “Training was one of the things I loved and seeing what DeKaylin does on the field, I am not surprised because I know when you get in the league it’s not about getting there, it’s about how hard you work when you’re there. He continues to do that. On his off days, he’s in the weight room. I’m thankful that he took to that and understands this game can be totally different and the game can be taken away.”

DK scored the 41-yard touchdown on Thomas Graham Jr. and had one other catch for no gain. In other words, the Bears did a pretty nice job against him.

8. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the Bears coaching staff.

I’m curious to gather a variety of opinions about Sean Desai, who is in his first season as defensive coordinator. The Bears had a tough time slowing the run Sunday. The Seahawks went for 170 yards on 24 carries with Rashaad Penny having 135 on 17 rushes. It looked like Seattle had a lot of success getting the Bears in their nickel package and then running into a light front. At one point, Desai moved free safety Eddie Jackson to nickel cornerback, removing Duke Shelley and putting Teez Tabor in at safety. That was short-lived as Tabor suffered an ankle injury on special teams and was carted to the locker room. But the Bears did a nice job on DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (3 catches, 30 yards), and Russell Wilson was only 16 of 27 for 181 yards with two touchdowns.

Desai has been dealing with a lot of missing parts for much of the season, beyond the recent rash of COVID moves. It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Bears have been pretty gritty throughout.

“If you play them you’d notice they are sound and physical and smart with (Vic) Fangio and (Brandon) Staley elements to what they’re doing and you’d take note,” one coach texted. “At least I did.”

Desai is creating his own path, his own brand and doing so using some of the principles that he’s been taught — principles that are successful in the modern game. It hasn’t been perfect but he’s in his first season, the Bears have some personnel issues (and truthfully had some entering the season) and no one was expecting perfection. He’s impressed more than just a couple folks I’ve spoken to with other teams throughout the season.

9. When it’s the fourth quarter and the Bears are kicking off and you see Thomas Graham Jr., Nsimba Webster, Ledarius Mack, Dee Virgin and Sam Kamara on the field, it’s a reminder the team has been through a lot of players this season.

According to the league, entering play Sunday morning, the Bears had used 75 different players in a game this season, tied for the seventh-most. Nick Foles made his 2021 debut so they’re now at 76.

The Tennessee Titans are somehow leading the league with 88 players while holding a 10-5 record atop the AFC South. The Detroit Lions are next with 83 followed by the New York Jets (80) and Washington Football Team (79). The Bears used 64 players in 2020, the fourth-lowest number in the league.

10. With two games remaining, the 2022 schedule for the Bears is coming into focus.

At 5-10, the Bears are third in the NFC North with at least a chance to pass the Minnesota Vikings (7-8) for second place. Minnesota plays at Green Bay this week before hosting the Bears in the finale.

What’s really at stake here? Let’s look at the games determined by finish. The Bears will host the corresponding finisher in the AFC South and NFC West next season. In the AFC South, that means hosting either the Tennessee Titans (10-5) or Indianapolis Colts (9-6), as one of those teams will finish in second or hosting the Houston Texans (4-11). The NFC West standings right now have the Rams on top at 11-4 followed by the 10-5 Cardinals and 8-7 49ers The Bears could draw any one of those three.

The Bears will also play a road game next season at the corresponding finisher in the NFC South. That likely means a trip to New Orleans (7-7) or Atlanta (7-8).

10a. I get occasional emails for the mailbag wondering why the Bears do not have established, full-season captains. Matt Nagy has preferred to select guys for individual games and he likes to share the responsibility and highlight guys going to their hometown or maybe playing against a former team. I don’t think this has any impact on the on-field product, but it was kind of interesting this week when Nagy selected outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, right tackle Germain Ifedi and punter Pat O’Donnell as captains. Irvin and Ifedi were drafted by the Seahawks, so you can understand that. O’Donnell has had a good season and is respected for his work on special teams. My reaction when I saw this was does Irvin even know the names of all his teammates? He was signed Nov. 18. There are COVID-19 protocols in place. Just seems like this is when Nagy’s captain policy doesn’t look the greatest, but we’re talking about guys designated for the coin flip — and leaders don’t have to have a C patch on their uniform to be leaders.

10b. Good job by the Bears of getting David Montgomery 28 touches but also getting Damien Williams nine snaps and Khalil Herbert eight plays. They balanced out the workload and even got a 20-yard touchdown from Herbert on a well-blocked play to the left side.

10c. In college circles, there is a little chatter former Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand could be hired in that role at Notre Dame, where he worked on Brian Kelly’s staff from 2012-2017. Hiestand, 63, has been out for two seasons since Matt Nagy surprisingly fired him following the 2019 season. Hiestand is credited with developing high-level linemen for the Irish and during previous college stops at Tennessee and Illinois. Former Bears linebacker Marcus Freeman was hired as the Irish head coach earlier this month after Kelly’s departure for LSU. Not sure if it will end up happening, but sounds like there is a chance Hiestand could reunite with Freeman. Hiestand was the Bears offensive line coach during his first stint with the franchise when Freeman was drafted by the organization in 2009.

10d. The Bears opened as a 6-point favorite over the New York Giants at Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.

10e. Happy Holidays and best of luck staying safe headed into the New Year. Thanks for reading.

Source: Berkshire mont

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