Last Sunday, the 2020 Chicago Bears gave up 19 points to the Colts and lost. This time Chicago gave up another nineteen, but scored 20 to win, and hand Tom Brady his first loss to the Bears franchise. The certain hall of famer had led his teams to a staggering fifty-nine fourth quarter or overtime comeback wins.
Instead it was QB Nick Foles in his second full start with the Bears who led his squad on a final game -winning drive. “They were showing a pressure look and they did bring pressure but I was trying to figure out where the safety would be. So we were able to get ourselves into a play to where we get David on linebacker or safety going up the side and we were able to get a little bit of a pick action, the defender sort of collided and dropped it in there where he could make a play and only that was a huge play in the game to get us into really good field goal range for Cairo Santos to kick it through.”
Ever since the Bears summarily parted ways with Robbie Gould, this team has been through almost as many kickers as quarterbacks. Training camp starter Eddy Piñiero is hurt, so place kicking duty fell upon Cairo Santos, playing for the fifth team of his career. This season, Santos had not booted a field goal longer that forty yards before Thursday night’s game.
They key to shoring up Santos self confidence was the forty-seven yarder he notched with 10:34 left to retake the lead. “It helped a lot, Santos noted, “because it happened in the fourth quarter, that same direction, same wind, and tonight wasn’t a night that I was kicking a lot of extra points or field goals to really get that rhythm. So I just had to rely on my pregame warm up or just kind of my routine, and I hit those kicks exactly how I wanted, and luckily we got an opportunity to win the game and it just feels really good.”
Santos was excited to exact a measure of revenge by booting the winning field goal. “Sometimes it shocks me at how kind of our careers and the stories have kind of happened, fall into place. I got released last year on the fifth game of the season on a bad game and here we are, fifth game of the year again, and I get another chance to play and against my former team and do that, just super special, and as an athlete, always wanted to have that on my bucket list. I’ve watched soccer players have good games against former teams, so it’s a super special night.”
“It reminded me of a good old fashioned fist fight.”-Nick Foles
Nick Foles gave the media his take. “Honestly, we are continuing to grow together. This is something that doesn’t happen overnight and I felt like today was a big one because it was just — I keep saying, like it’s a fistfight. It wasn’t an easy game by any means. We just kept fighting, kept fighting, and everyone just kept, you know, throwing punches.I would say the big thing from tonight was we got to learn how to go through a fistfight like this and come out on top. You don’t want them every week, but if that’s what it takes to win every week, that’s what we’ll do. But I think in the moments at the end of the game, obviously a lot to learn from from all of us, coaches, players, everything. Just continue to gain that rhythm, because this is my first time with a lot of these guys and a lot of these coaches. So this is the first time they have seen me in one of these games and first time I’ve seen them. So tonight was a big night of learning.”
Tom Brady was frustrated by his team’s penalties. Something his former coach would not have tolerated. He said, “penalties, they’re just, they stop drives. So we had so many third and longs and we just could never get into any rhythm, in the second half certainly, and just poor execution. So if you don’t execute well and first and second down, you have third and forevers, and those are tough to convert time after time after time. So we’ve got to tighten that up and just play a more consistent type of football. We obviously have a lot of work to do.”
Chicago’s defense found another gear on the last Tampa drive. Linebacker Roquan Smith commented, “we knew going into that drive, that it was going to be on us, and we love it that way, with the pressure was on us, so it was about stepping up and making plays when we really needed to. That’s what good defenses do.”
Our backs against the wall. There’s a lot of doubt out there. We believe in each other. In those moments we can count on one another. The DB’s did a hell of a job tonight.-Khalil Mack
Matt Nagy chimned in on Mack’s powerful presence. “You have a guy like Khalil that every single snap he’s bringing it, and you just have to know that he’s coming. And you know, it’s unfortunate on that last sack he had, or the one where he got the penalty because he could have had a third sack and that’s just who he is. The other guys feed off of that, along with Kyle Fuller, the biggest play of the game was that hit that Kyle had for the fumble was huge. To have a couple sacks by Khalil, for Kyle to make that play, and Buster [Skrine] and [Robert] Quinn to get on that football, I just thought that, you know, we were able to make plays at the right time today, which is great.”
Nagy was also impressed at Foles’ poise down the stretch. “That’s who he is,” noted Nagy after the game. ” I think what you saw from the offense was there was — you know, probably the biggest part that I look back at is that start of the third quarter. We had some momentum going there the end of the second quarter and we got it back and we felt a little groove. But to come out and have penalty, penalty, second and forever, third and forever, the first two drives of the third quarter, that’s deflating. That’s the part there, that’s the part that kind of sticks with me right now. You say that the throws that Nick made, the protection that the line had, the opportunistic plays that these guys made at the most perfect time, that’s is what is so key about these players, these coaches. These coaches are on the headsets trying to figure out what we like and what we don’t like.”
Allen Robinson, one of Foles’ top targets, offered this, “Once he gets going and once he gets a rhythm everybody is seeing what he’s capable of. We moved the ball pretty effortless. We know that capability we have. We had some penalties that knocked us back, but as far as offensive execution, we did a decent job. I think the biggest thing for Nick is that he takes it on himself to make sure he clarifies where he wants from everybody. He’s been in this offense for a while, so he’s pretty comfortable with it. Everybody’s kinda feeling comfortable with what’s going on, whether we’re having success or not. He’s trying to communicate what he wants and sees.”
That was a pretty good defense we played. Overall the offense made plays when they had to and I think that’s one of the special traits that Nick has.-Matt Nagy
Tampa coach Bruce Arians didn’t mice words. “Just pretty poor execution, he said. “We got down and we had a sack, three penalties. You’re not going to beat anybody with 12 penalties or however many we had, and especially when we were down there once and ended up punting because of about six or seven penalties on one drive. So I didn’t have our team ready to play, so it’s obvious.”
Nagy is not one to rest on his laurels. In fact, after reviewing the video said the following during his Friday press conference. “Offensively we got some stuff to do. Defensively, I’m proud of our guys, they got after them. That’s a good offense they have. Specials team did a good job last night. I’m proud of those guys. Until we get our details right on offense, we’re going to continue to be this way. So that’s my challenge to us as coaches and to us as players. That we get the details right and start playing better on offense. That’s my challenge to the offense right now. You get to this point right now. Nothing is effort When you play in this offense, you be better be freakin’ detailed. We’re not a detailed team on offense right now, and we need to get that back.
“We can only get better offensively. I now that they are going to work super hard to do that. I believe in our coaches. What’s nice about all this, is that when you can feel this way, and get a lot better at four and one. That’s the part that I feel like really resonates with who this team is right now. There’s a part of us right now that knows we can be so much better. That’s a good feeling.”
The Bears travel to Carolina after a short rest. Next they fly to Los Angeles to face the Rams, before returning home to a date with New Orleans.