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No matter how you're feeling on the first Monday of the new year, remember that the worst free-agent signing of the offseason is currently the toast of not only Chicago, but the entire NBA.
Hard to believe Midway Minute is already in its third calendar year. I'm looking forward to 2022 and hoping it's the year our community really gets some major liftoff. 🚀 I'm planning a bigger post on some thoughts on how we'll get there either this week or next, so stay tuned.
Bears 29, Giants 3
Flames 5, Hawks 1
Michigan State 73, Northwestern 67
Magic at Bulls (7, NBCSCH)
How the other half lives
One more game to go.
Sunday's 29-3 throttling of the Giants wasn't a shocker. The Bears are a bad team, but the Giants are even worse and they've been waving the white flag for weeks now. Matt Nagy's teams have always enjoyed beating up lesser opponents and so the bullied were able to do some bullying themselves.
Against the Bears, Mike Glennon posted the lowest QB rating (5.3) in the NFL this season with four turnovers. Glennon and the Giants also managed -10 passing yards, the lowest total in NFL history. I'm not even sure I knew that number was possible ... and I've been a Bears fan my entire life.
Anyway, the win moved the Bears to 6-10 and a finale against the Vikings that will be meaningless for both sides. After that will come a housecleaning at Halas Hall, the depth and aims of which remain a mystery.
Until then, a few more thoughts and notes on Sunday's win:
• For awhile it seemed like Robert Quinn might have to backdoor his way past Richard Dent with a sack in Minnesota next week. Despite trailing the entire game, Joe Judge only had Glennon drop back 15 times all day. (Can you blame him?)
But Quinn finally got sack No. 18 in the fourth quarter. As Bleacher Nation Bears noted, watch Eddie Jackson keep Glennon contained on the play while also passing up an opportunity to halve the sack.
It's nice that Quinn achieved the record without needing the asterisk of the new 17th game. He noted after the game that he'd already talked with Dent, who informed Quinn that he'd only started 10 games in 1984 while reaching 17.5 sacks.
"If it took 17 I’m sure he would’ve called me and made sure I knew what the heck was going on," Quinn told reporters.
• Anyone else getting the feeling that David Montgomery is getting the full Matt Forte experience during his career in Chicago? Monty scored twice on Sunday and has been one of the brighest spots on the Bears' offense (shut up) for three straight seasons. Yet unless the team's fortunes change in the next couple of seasons, they're looking at wasting his talents like they did Forte's.
• We were upset at the time, but imagine if the Bears had actually pulled out those games against the Steelers, Ravens and Vikings? Anyone hoping for big changes at Halas Hall would probably be S.O.L. as the Bears would be heading to Week 18 with another chance to sneak into the playoffs.
• That was definitely Allen Robinson's final game at Soldier Field.
Source: The Instagram account of A-Rob's GF.
• Get ready for a week of debating whether Justin Fields should play in Minnesota if his ankle is healthy. After he's missed the last two weeks, put me firmly in the "wrap Fields in bubble wrap and tell him we'll see him at OTAs" camp. Nothing he could do against Minnesota with a lame duck coaching staff — good or bad — will change the fact that he's QB1 for a new coach next fall. A torn ACL, however, sure would mess with things. Have Dalton and Nick Foles thumb wrestle for the start.
• If this is it for Nagy, his final offensive playcall at home was putting Montgomery in the wildcat formation on fourth down and calling a pass to Cole Kmet that resulted in an interception. No harm, no foul to anybody who didn't bet the over on 36.5 points, but what a perfect way to end things. Montgomery, by the way, became the first Bears running back to throw an interception since Brad Muster did it against the Giants on Monday Night Football in 1992.
• Nagy contributed $7,600 to Parker Dickerson's GoFundMe, which crossed the million-dollar mark over New Year's weekend. Nagy's gift came with a personal connotation: Jeff Dickerson had told Nagy pre-draft that he thought the team would end up selecting Teven Jenkins, who wears No. 76.
While it was amazing to see the big names and teams who made four and five-figure donations in honor of the late ESPN 1000 reporter, I loved seeing the large number of regular fans donating any amount they could. Even if it was just $10 or $20, the thousands of gifts spoke to the bond that Jeff built with Bears fans in his 20 years of reporting from Halas Hall.
Also, while 10 minutes on Bears Twitter would make you think Bears fans are always at each other's throats (not untrue), the truth is that the group will always come together to protect one of our own. Well done, everyone.
News and results
Hawks: Drop first two games back
Not that the Hawks had a lot of momentum going into a recent 13-day break for COVID, but what a bad start to the new year. Sunday's 5-1 loss to Calgary at the UC was the team's second in as many days. Combine it with Saturday's blowout loss in Nashville and the Hawks were outscored 11-2 in their first two games back. Marc Andre-Fleury is back from COVID protocols, but it's not going to matter if the Hawks are back to posting a goal a game.
- Next: The Hawks host Colorado on Tuesday.
Bulls: Lonzo Ball expected to return tonight
Good news for the Bulls, who hopeully won't have to rely on any last-second DeMar DeRozan heroics to top the Magic tonight. Ball was in COVID protocols with coach Billy Donovan, though there has been no announcement on the coach's status. The Bulls have won seven straight games.
Northwestern: Spartans surge in second half
The Wildcats held a 13-point first-half lead over No. 10 Michigan State and it looked like they might be able to beat the Spartans in Evanston for the second straight season. But Michigan State regained its footing for a 73-67 win that dropped Northwestern to 8-3 and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
1. Rick Morrissey applauds the thousands of Bears fans who decided to stay home on Sunday. Sun-Times
2. Losing to the Bears sparked a weird 10-minute rant from Joe Judge after the game. Yahoo Sports
3. RIP to former Cubs OF Larry Biittner, who played on the North Side for five seasons and hit a walkoff homer in the Cubs home opener in 1978. Bleed Cubbie Blue
4. A Notre Dame blogger picks up the pieces from the Irish completely combusting against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. UHND.com
5. Not a Chicago story, but Ryan Hockensmith's story on John Madden's final hours was a great read. ESPN
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