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NFL Draft

Why 3-0 Bears Must Stick With Nick Foles

  • The Draft Network
  • September 27, 2020
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I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of annoyed right now. I had about 300 words already written for a topic about the Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons game. I started writing it a few minutes into the fourth quarter when the Falcons were up 26-10.

And then the Falcons went full Falcons, and the game—as well as the entire narrative of this game—completely turned on its head, as Chicago came back in dramatic fashion to end 30-26 in favor of the visiting Bears.

The biggest takeaway from this game is that the Falcons have to fire Dan Quinn. But I already wrote that last week after their first monumental collapse of the season, so there’s really no point in me repeating myself—even if it’s the first time in 20 years a team has blown two fourth-quarter leads in a single season (let alone in back-to-back weeks).

Instead, I’ll shift my attention to a team that I was not big on coming into the season that stands here today undefeated: the Chicago Bears.

We can sit here and talk about the fact that the Bears shouldn’t have beaten the Detroit Lions in Week 1, and that the Lions really blew that game twice down the stretch in order for Chicago to be victorious. We can sit here and talk about how the following week the Bears hardly beat a terrible New York Giants team that is proving they’re one of the worst in the league. We can sit here and talk about how the Falcons truly collapsed like no other franchise seems to be able to do consistently and the Bears were simply a benefactor of this week’s historic moment.

But we won’t. We won’t talk about those things.

Let’s talk about the big takeaway from this game, and that would be that it appears the Mitch Trubisky Era might be over in Chicago.

Trubisky was 2-0 as a starter going into today’s contest. In the game versus the Falcons, his stat line was marginal before being replaced. He was 13-for-22 passing with 128 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a huge 45-yard scramble on a broken coverage play. Trubisky was fine, but for too long “fine” has been his ceiling. After playing a few drives while down by double digits, Bears head coach Matt Nagy realized if they wanted a chance to win this game, they needed a quarterback who could push the ball down the field with more success. Where Trubisky was decent hitting passing in the short and intermediate portions of the field, he was struggling to hit any pass deep, going 0-for-4 on passes of 20 yards or deeper before the fourth quarter.

That’s when the Bears made the switch to Nick Foles.

In Foles’ first drive, he threw an interception in the end zone. However, it was a nice throw that was in the arms of his receiver Allen Robinson; the ball just got ripped out of Robinson’s hands.

Foles went on to complete 16-of-29 passes for 188 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Of course, the touchdowns stand out, but Foles’ completion percentage was less than Trubisky. The big difference in their play, and why I believe that it will be Foles’ show moving forward, is because Foles gave them a chance with his back against the wall.

Trubisky can be a serviceable quarterback when there really isn't a big need to push the ball. But if you ask me, the Bears are lucky to have the record they do after three Trubisky starts, because the context of how he has performed in areas where you would really need him to deliver in crunch time against good teams has not been there.

It might be for Foles, and that’s why you have to go with him.

The Bears know what they have in Trubisky. They know the ceiling and it’s not high enough for them to accomplish their team goals. Foles could get them closer to it, or even up to it. Who knows? The important part is the chance is there with one guy where it really seems solidified that it isn’t with the other. 

The Bears drafted Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. This summer they declined Trubiusky’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract, so he will be a free agent after this season is over. After going 0-4 in his first season in Jacksonville, the Bears traded a fourth-round pick for Foles to bring him in as competition with Trubisky. When they did that, they restructured Foles’ deal so they would not owe Foles the remaining $56.9 million from the deal the Jaguars gave him. Chicago restructured the contract to three years and $24 million, making $8 million per season under his new deal. 

So, in theory, Foles could be the Bears’ guy the rest of this year and next season, too. As they are 3-0, history and stats say they now have a 76% chance to get to the postseason. It would be hard to totally move on from Foles if he gets them to the playoffs, but with Foles now 31 years old and 32 in 2021, with Trubisky likely out as the franchise quarterback, perhaps the Bears take a peek at this quarterback class for a draft-and-stash situation where Foles can groom him in and a smooth transition can ensue.

But that’s all in the deep future. Right now, Chicago is 3-0, Foles has to be their guy, and the Bears are on their way to proving a lot of people wrong, including me.

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