What’s ahead for Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears after earning final NFC wild-card spots – NFL.com

Chicago Bears

After as streaky a season as you’ll ever see — the Bears went 5-1 to start the season, then lost six straight, then won three in a row — a wild-card spot means that the franchise blowup that felt inevitable when the Bears were completing the six-game meltdown a month ago is off the table. Pulling out of that tailspin and putting the Bears back into the playoff picture almost certainly saved Matt Nagy’s job, as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Nagy is expected to return next season.

The Bears, the NFC’s seventh seed, play the Saints on Super Wild Card Weekend (4:40 p.m. ET on Sunday) and they’ll need much more than 16 points to be competitive in that game. Whether the offense can be explosive against good defenses — the Saints had the third overall defense entering week 17 — is why the Bears have a huge decision to make about Trubisky for next year. The Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option, so he will be a free agent in March. Only a few weeks ago, it was a foregone conclusion that he was gone. But the last few weeks have to cause the Bears to at least rethink the idea, particularly if a market does not develop for Trubisky and he could return on a reasonable, short-term contract.

When Nagy discussed in early December the decision to bench Trubisky in favor of Nick Foles in the first month of the season, he made it clear it was not just because of one bad game early this season; it was the body of work over the years that got him benched.

Trubisky and the offense were definitely improved since he retook the starting job in week 12, and that is a big part of the reason why Chicago will play next weekend. The Bears, with Nagy reportedly more involved again in play-calling, scored at least 30 points in each of the four games leading up to the season finale, although those games were against the bottom feeders of NFL defenses. Still, Trubisky was 6-3 as a starter this season. And he was mostly exactly what the Bears wanted him to be Sunday: He got the ball out quickly, threw short, safe passes, got first downs on sneaks, and uncorked one big pass that stressed the Packers’ defense – a 53-yarder to Darnell Mooney. For most of the game, he kept the Bears hanging around against Rodgers, the likely MVP. But he also had the one brutal interception late in the fourth quarter that all but ended any comeback hopes, and the Bears went 1-of-5 in the red zone. Remove that 53-yard completion and Trubisky completed 32 passes for 199 yards, an average of 6 yards per completion.

It will be a fascinating offseason for the Bears. But this wild-card appearance was so wholly unexpected just a month ago that it deserves to be celebrated first.

“Sorry I’m not all balloons right now,” Nagy said about backing in to the postseason after Sunday’s loss. That just about summed up the season.


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