If you would’ve told me the Chicago Bears would be 5-1 after week six WITH a quarterback change, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. Let’s be honest here, the Bears defense was 5-1. Now granted, they really haven’t beaten anyone worth writing home about except Tampa Bay, the only team with a winning record they’ve won against this year. Combined wins of the other four teams they’ve defeated? Nine, with the Falcons (2-6), Giants (1-7), Lions (3-4), and Panthers (3-5).
That’s right, the Chicago Bears during week three’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, benched Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter after he threw an interception. He was 13-22 for 128 yds with a TD and an INT and the Bears were down 26-10 when he exited the contest. Those aren’t horrible numbers for an NFL QB into the third quarter, Patrick Mahomes went 16-25 with 145 yds and an INT through three completed quarters in Super Bowl LIV and we all saw how that ended up. How’d that group photo work out for you 49ers defense? My apologies, moving on.
Enter Nick Foles, traded to the Bears from the Jaguars in the offseason with some crazy contract restructuring. Here’s a stat, Foles signed the largest free-agent contract in 2019 worth $88 million over 4 years pocketing $31 million of it. He started week one against the Kansas City Chiefs only to exit late in the first quarter with a broken clavicle.
Fast forward to week 11, Foles returns against the Indianapolis Colts and got handed a 33-13 loss. Then finally in week 13, Foles goes 7 of 14 for 93 yds, loses 2 fumbles, and throws a pick all before halftime and the $88 million dollar man gets sent to the pine.
Overall in 2019, Foles went 0-4 and was ultimately replaced by Gardner Minshew, who took the snaps while Foles recovered from his injury. Money well spent Jacksonville. The Bears picked up $24 million of the rest of that disaster contract paid over three years with $21 million guaranteed.
Now, back to his Bears debut, with over nine minutes left in the third quarter, Foles takes his first snaps with the Bears and in his first drive marches down the field, including completing passes of 11 and 20 yards, finishing the drive with a contested TD pass to Allen Robinson, or so they thought.
After several minutes looking at the replay, Falcons corner Darqueze Dennard was granted an INT when it appeared he had control of the ball at the end of the play. Promising start for sure, but a heartbreaking ending to a great first drive for the former Super Bowl MVP. In the fourth quarter, Foles managed to throw for three TD’s in a matter of minutes to lead the Bears to a 30-26 victory. A solid first outing, flashing signs of what the veteran did taking the Eagles to the promised land a few years ago.
Thru week six, Foles had gone 2-1 as a starter and had completed 95 of 152 passes for 878 yds, 6 TDs with 4 INTs. He had thrown the same number of TD’s over weeks four, five, and six as he did in the fourth quarter against the Falcons coming off the bench.
At this point, the Bears might as well just flip a coin each week. Heads is Foles and Tails is Trubisky. The next two weeks tell the tale of how good this team really is. They traveled to LA to meet the Rams in their new stadium on a nationally televised week seven Monday night game.
Once again inconsistent QB play was a factor against the number one defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald. Foles went 28/40 for 261 yards with no touchdowns, two picks and was sacked four times in a 24-10 loss.
Week eight saw a late afternoon battle with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field. Foles had a slight improvement going an eerily similar 28/41 for 272 yards this time with two TDs, one pick, and only sacked once but a FG in OT handed Foles and the Bears their second loss in a row. This week they travel to Nashville in a matchup with the Tennessee Titans who are also coming off back to back losses.
It has been pretty clear that Foles’ peak seasons so far were 2017 and 2018, coming in late 2017 for the injured Carson Wentz to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady’s Patriots. He went 28 for 43 with 373 yds, 3 TD’s/1 INT and a QBR of 84.9 in Super Bowl LII.
The following year Wentz was cleared by week three and Foles was sent back to the bench only to be recalled in week 15 due to a back injury this time for Wentz. Foles beat the eventual NFC champion LA Rams that week, throws for 471 yds and four TD’s in week 16 (winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors), then finishing week 17 with an NFL record-tying 25 consecutive completed passes in a game.
Foles went on to beat the Bears in the infamous “double-doink” game in which then K Cody Parkey of the Bears proceeds to hit an upright AND the crossbar with a potential game-winning FG as time expired. This would be the only time Foles and Trubisky faced each other as starters. Actually, Trubisky had the upper hand in the numbers column but ultimately it’s that W column that matters most in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Eagles got beat in the divisional round to the Saints in the following week. I guess when you end a regular season like that, $88 million doesn’t seem entirely out of the question.
Here’s what it comes down to, Trubisky was supposed to be “the guy” the Bears traded up for him to run the offense. In 2017, the Bears traded FOUR picks to the 49ers to move up ONE spot to the number two overall pick to snag Trubisky. How well did that pan out?
Well, Mahomes and Deshaun Watson were picked after him, and the Bears have declined his last year option on his rookie contract. Did I mention Christian McCaffrey was in that draft also? Don’t get Bears fans started on this topic, you’ll end up like Chris Farley in an SNL skit banging your chest and keeling over because of a heart attack.
But I will say that in 2018, he did show signs of having that potential going 11-3 in his starts that year. In week four he even threw for 354 yds on 19 completed passes and six TD’s, I think any team would get behind a performance like that. But I’m going to throw out one word that both Foles and Trubisky have struggled with their entire career, consistency.
I know there’s a lot of QB’s out there that struggle with this problem but the great ones don’t. Sure everyone has an off week every now and again, but not every other week, or every third week. The Bears offense is in the bottom 10 of most major statistical categories while their defense is on the other end of the spectrum being in the top 10.
But the defense can only carry you so far, you gonna have to score TD’s if you want to have a deep run into January and February. Someone is gonna have to step it up because I don’t see either one taking the reigns and leading them on that run. I will say, if the Bears finish ahead of the Packers at the end of the season, let’s make it interesting next year, drop Trubisky, bench Foles and give the ball to Aaron Rodgers. I could only imagine the burning of jerseys in Green Bay if that ever happened. Stranger things have happened though, right Favre?