Hub Arkush: Nick Foles makes a difference for Bears in win over Seahawks

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles gives a thumbs-up as he heads off the field after the team beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Seattle.

Under most circumstances, the Bears’ 25-24 come-from-behind win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday would be exciting, joyful and celebrated.

The Bears drove 80 yards on six plays in just 1:55. Nick Foles found Jimmy Graham for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:01 left, and Damiere Byrd’s miraculous two-point grab gave his team the lead.

Then, unlike in soul-crushing losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the defense hung on to stop Russell Wilson and company from coming back to steal the game.

Unfortunately, it happened in only the second of the 64 games the team has played under Matt Nagy that were meaningless, and all it soothes for players and coaches is their pride.

The season remains a disaster, and in spite of the fact the win raised Nagy’s record to 33-31, assuring he will finish his fourth season no worse than .500 as a Bear, with only one losing season and only two of four not ending in the playoffs, Sunday’s win is highly unlikely to save his job.

But still they played, they fought and they bled. So what are we to make of it?

One after the other – David Montgomery, Nagy, Foles, Byrd, Robert Quinn, who added his 17th sack of the season, leaving him a half-sack short of Richard Dent’s Bears single-season record – stepped to the microphone to talk about playing for each other, never quitting and focusing on the team.

Should this season be the end for Nagy, his players still believe and are fighting to the very end.

Beyond that, there was really little remarkable about the game until the exciting finish.

The offensive line had one of its shakier days, struggling to block the run against the Seahawks’ 21st-ranked run defense. The Bears managed only 88 yards on 30 carries and watched Foles get sacked four times and pressured nine more.

Germain Ifedi was a captain for the day and started ahead of Larry Borom at right tackle in his return to Seattle, but Teven Jenkins went out early with a bruised shoulder, so Borom spent most of the afternoon at left tackle.

Most of the other youngsters played, too, and acquitted themselves reasonably well.

Thomas Graham was roasted by D.K. Metcalf for Seattle’s first touchdown but bounced back after and was sturdy.

Dazz Newsome had his first NFL catch and an impressive 28-yard punt return, Khalil Herbert added a nice 20-yard touchdown run on an RPO that Nagy singled out as the perfect read from Foles, and Trevis Gipson and Bilal Nichols shared a Wilson sack.

But at the end of the day, the biggest story really has to be Foles.

He wasn’t special or flashy, but he did provide arguably the Bears’ steadiest 60-minute QB performance of the season.

He was efficient even if at times the rust was obvious, but to a man his teammates talked about his calm and leadership, and most importantly the Bears were 7 of 14 on third down as he made sure they were in third-and-manageable most of the day, leading to a 17-minute time of possession advantage that Nagy has dreamt about all season.

It was enough to unearth a question that has lingered in the background for some time.

When the Bears decided the plan was to have a veteran bridge to their rookie quarterback, why was Foles exiled to Siberia, never given a chance to compete with Andy Dalton?

And when Dalton went down after only five quarters, why was “the plan” canned instead of considering starting Foles in Cleveland and continuing to bring Justin Fields along in smaller doses?

No one’s going to argue things would be totally different today had Foles gotten his shot, but it would be nice to know what went on behind closed doors, wouldn’t it?

It could explain an awful lot about how dysfunctional the whole mess has turned out.

Asked how he felt about it, Foles wasn’t biting, saying all he cares about is how happy he’s been to be a Bear these past two seasons, and how happy he was to be there for his teammates Sunday.

Let’s all just be happy for them, I guess, because they earned a break from all the ugliness Sunday, and there still appears to be a nasty storm brewing on the horizon.

Hub Arkush is a Shaw Media correspondent.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush is a Bears/NFL Insider for Shaw Media