Bears coach Matt Nagy reacts after the Ravens scored a touchdown in the final minute Sunday at Soldier Field. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
They haven’t done much right for a long time, so beginning from scratch makes some sense.
If the Bears don’t beat the pitiful Lions on Thursday, you wonder whether Mama Bear, Virginia McCaskey, will rise from her Thanksgiving dinner and say to son George, the Bears’ chairman, and other assembled offspring: ”I’m pissed off! Ain’t taking it no more!”
In this vision, she decrees the Bears will be blown up and begin anew.
Because what has gone right for the Bears this last quarter-century?
Yes, there was the Super Bowl appearance — and loss — 15 years ago.
And there was the 2010 season, when they went 11-5 before losing in the NFC Championship Game to — who else? — Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. (Perhaps you remember injured quarterback Jay Cutler standing on the sideline in the second half, as mute and expressionless as an Easter Island monolith.)
Then there was the 12-4 season in 2018, when the Bears and new quarterback hope Mitch Trubisky lost a wild-card playoff game to the Eagles. (Remember a kicker named Cody ”Double-Doink” Parkey?)
And there was the 8-8 season last year, when the Bears became only the third team in modern NFL history to make the playoffs with a .500 record. Of course, they lost immediately.
So here we are now.
What we saw in their 16-13 loss Sunday to the Ravens on a beautiful football afternoon at Soldier Field was pathetic. Coach Matt Nagy made mistakes left and right. He even had a technological breakdown, with his headset going out at a key moment.
Jeez, Bears people, you’ve never had your laptop freeze? Your server crash? Your light bulb die? Seems to me a prearranged backup plan for techno failure might be included in your endless game-week preparation, guys.
The Bears are 3-7 for so many reasons. The most glaring, beyond an oddly troubling defense, is the quarterback play.
Rookie starter Justin Fields left the game against the Ravens with battered ribs, and the question shouldn’t be whether he’ll be ready to play against the Lions but whether he should play again this season — in any condition.
There are various historic scenarios for rookie quarterbacks who become starters, and getting beaten to a pulp because you’re not ready or good enough is a prime one.
Fields has fumbled nine times already and has been crushed and bent more than anyone should be. He hasn’t done anything spectacular, other than unleash a couple of speedy runs other NFL quarterbacks can’t.
He has thrown four touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He has completed only 58.1% of his passes and has a sad passer rating of 69.0.
By contrast, Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who was taken after Fields in the draft, has thrived as a starter. He has completed 70.2% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions and has a 94.7 rating. He has led the Patriots to five consecutive victories.
His coach? Evil genius Bill Belichick. You may despise the man — I can’t stand him — but it’s guaranteed Jones loves him. (Belichick once helped a fellow named Tom Brady, too.)
There is a very real possibility Fields never is going to be the answer to the Bears’ eternal quarterback search. If he gets beaten up much more, he might not be the answer to walking upright.
I asked veteran replacement Andy Dalton whether he thought Fields chilling on the bench and observing for the rest of the season might not be a good solution.
”That’s not my call,” Dalton said.
I asked Nagy the same thing.
”Again, I’m not getting into any of that,” he said.
Understandable. If Fields is a dud, which right now looks possible, if not likely, everything is out the window. Who in the Bears’ organization wants to comment on that?
It seems general manager Ryan Pace has put together nothing but a flailing team without a future. As a coach, Nagy has run into some kind of wall that might not even be of his making.
It was always a dilemma, anointing a rookie quarterback as a savior. Sports media and the pubic demanded Fields play. If he hadn’t, Nagy would have been roasted. So Fields played and maybe now is damaged.
Bears management has to own this. Nagy has to accept he hasn’t helped Fields’ progress. Pace has to accept that maybe he picks quarterback duds.
Something has to give with these Bears.
It should start with dynamite.