And now Chicago must wait.
Not for long, hopefully. But there remains this inevitable period of awkwardness, of anxiety, of lingering uncertainty that figures to push through Sunday evening and into Monday. Tension and anticipation will hover until the leaders at the top of the Chicago Bears organization announce their plans, communicate a vision and assign accountability for the latest disappointing season.
The on-field show for the 2021 season ended at 2:51 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, with Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins putting a “victory formation” kneel-down on a 31-17 win. For the Bears, that was loss No. 11 in another dispiriting season. And it came like an avalanche, with a 14-point first-half lead turning into the team’s eighth double-digit loss this season.
It was so Bears in so many ways. Busted coverages. Questionable play calls. An inability to consistently meet the biggest moments.
The unraveling came in what in all likelihood was Matt Nagy’s swan song as Bears coach. His firing has seemed imminent for more than a month, and that time likely has arrived. But Chicago also must wait to learn what general manager Ryan Pace’s fate is. And there are questions as to whether team President and CEO Ted Phillips will face at least moderate responsibility revisions.
At some point Monday, the onus will fall on Bears Chairman George McCaskey to clear up everything. That hasn’t always been a strength of McCaskey’s, particularly during a somewhat odd 51½-week stretch during which he hasn’t taken questions from reporters, declining all interview requests.
That’s why this latest Halas Hall waiting game might carry a little more mystery than usual. Because there have been very few, if any, indications as to how McCaskey has processed everything that happened over the past 12 months — a stretch that began Jan. 13, 2021, with his full-throated vote of confidence in Pace and Nagy to get the Bears back on a championship course and that ended Sunday with the team on the wrong end of a 28-3 second-half steamrolling.
“It sucks,” linebacker Roquan Smith said.
Most Bears fans hope McCaskey has seen what they’ve seen, which is an inept football team that too often is overmatched by quality opponents. Within this season’s 6-11 record and third-place finish in the NFC North, the Bears went 2-4 in the division and 0-6 against NFC playoff teams with an average loss in those games of 35-18.
Dating back to Week 7 of 2020, the Bears have lost 19 of their last 28 games. And to find, within that trash heap, the sufficient progress and improvement McCaskey and Phillips requested for the 2021 season would require an extraordinary amount of optimism and/or denial.
Still, Nagy went back to a familiar well Sunday, again expressing his gratitude to a group of players that works hard and rarely comes apart, even in the most distressing times.
“I know how much they care,” Nagy said. “And I know how much they want to be better. To me, that matters.”
Sure. But how much?
“Again,” Nagy said, “we understand …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports
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