Oct 25, 2021

Bears walk the plank in Tampa

Justin Fields Chicago Bears Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(USA Today Sports)

Midway Minute is a Chicago sports newsletter that comes out every weekday morning. To get this in your inbox for free, click here.

Good morning, frents!

I hope your sump pumps performed more like the Bulls last night and less like the Bears and Blackhawks.


Sunday's results
Buccaneers 38, Bears 3
Wings 6, Hawks 3

Today's schedule
Bulls at Raptors (6:30, NBCSCH)


Buccaneers 38, Bears 3

(USA Today Sports)

How do you reconcile a beating we knew was coming?

Sunday's 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the Super Bowl champs wasn't an unexpected result for the Bears. We knew the result was always going to hurt, even if we had all afternoon to try and convince ourselves otherwise.

But three hours of sitting through another embarrassment on national television is still torture, no matter how much we prepared for it.

And it still made us say and feel things.

Things we won't regret.

So let's roll through the impulses that raged into our brains during the worst loss since ... checks notes ... week 3 in Cleveland.

Fire Matt Nagy!

This was Sunday's most common reaction and yet it likely remains wishful thinking. I thought about making this a "Fire Nagy!" column, but what's the point if we know there's little to no chance of it happening? The McCaskeys don't do midseason firings. They don't do mercy kills, either.

But make no mistake: Nagy deserves to have a job change attached to his name as it trends on Twitter today, just as it does every Monday. Despite facing a banged-up Tampa Bay defense and getting a 100-yard game from Khalil Herbert, the Bears offense didn't score a touchdown for the second time in seven games this season. They've only thrown three passing touchdowns this season (one fewer than Tom Brady threw in the first half). What's the point of having him around the final 10 games? The offensive genius is never arriving and everyone outside of Bears leadership is willing to admit it.

Fire Ryan Pace!

See Nagy, Matt. Plus the emergence of Herbert as another late-round steal will probably keep the Bears GM supported by that devoted group who continually overlook his misses (the biggest of which is Nagy) for a handful of good-ish players selected in rounds 4-6.

I'm worried about Justin Fields!

There's no way to dress up QB1's performance: 22-of-32 for 184 yards and three interceptions. Fields was also sacked four times and fumbled twice. You probably can't even call this a growing pains game either, because it's not as if Fields was operating within a functional offense and testing boundaries or taking chances in a close contest. He instead was in the line of fire from his first snap, facing more traffic than the Dan Ryan and dealing with a leaky offensive line that had a third-stringer starting at right tackle because of COVID protocols.

But remain calm! I don't know if Fields will turn out to be the savior we desperately want him to be. I do know that it is wholly unfair to declare him a bust after five starts in a Nagy-led offense. This is going to be a bumpy ride and it might even get worse before it gets better, particularly if Nagy coaches out the string. This isn't a situation where any quarterback would succeed.

Hey, Herbert makes David Montgomery expendable!

The one bright side of Sunday's game and I have to say I didn't see a sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech turning Monty into Wally Pipp. It's just been three games, of course, but Bears fans should welcome that possibility, even if Montgomery has been a fan favorite. A big running back payday after 2022 shouldn't be in the cards for the Bears' long-term plans and the team could use the draft capital that Montgomery could bring back in a trade this offseason.

OK, glad that's over

Look, if the Bears are going to lose, it might as well be in these huge blowouts that might (eventually) force change. Yes, they suck to sit through and I'll never be a person that wants the Bears to fall. But the worst thing that could happen this season is the Bears sneak into the playoffs as a seventh seed with an 8-9 record and convince Halas Hall everything is fine. Anything that moves the Bears closer to a regime change this winter is ultimately a win.

That said, watch them get back to .500 with a win over the 49ers at home next Sunday.

"I will say the last couple days with our team, we’ve become really close. For us to become as close as we have the last 24-48 hours, I just trust and believe in them."  — Matt Nagy

News and results


Hawks: Booed out of the United Center (again)

Remember when the Hawks' Sunday night games were a nice palate cleanser after a bad afternoon with the Bears? Yeah, those days are long gone. Sunday's 6-3 loss to Detroit dropped the Hawks to 0-5-1 on the season. They've now gone 360:57 without holding a lead, the longest streak to start a season since at least 1979-80 season.

  • Said Jonathan Toews: "Specifics of what's said in the locker room stays in the locker room, but you can imagine we're just trying to dig ourselves out of the hole we've gotten ourselves in for six games. It's not a good feeling."
  • One streak did come to an end on Sunday: The Blackhawks' run of 535 consecutive sellouts. Between that and the "Fire Colliton" chants, it'll be interesting to see what Danny Wirtz does this week.

Bulls: Strong weekend moves team to 3-0

At least it was a fun weekend for Bulls fans at the UC. They handled both the Pelicans and Pistons on back-to-back nights, opening 30-point leads on both Friday and Saturday.

The tests will get a little bit tougher this week and it'll be fun to watch the team measure itself. The Bulls will be in Toronto tonight before returning to Chicago to face the Knicks on Thursday and the Jazz on Saturday.

College football results

  • Illinois 20, #7 Penn State 18 (9 OT): Never count the Fighting Bielemas out! I'm still not sure what we're supposed to take from that never-ending tickle fight in extra time, but credit to the Illini for sticking together during a controversial week. Bielema has a trophy to take on the recruiting trail.
  • Northern Illinois 39, Central Michigan 38: Huge comeback in the final minute for the Huskies, who remain undefeated in the MAC. Rocky Lombardi threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns for a team that had been last in the conference for passing.
  • #6 Michigan 33, Northwestern 7: The Wildcats surrendered almost 300 yards on the ground.
  • #13 Notre Dame 31, USC 16: One thing Brian Kelly has nailed in South Bend is setting this rivalry back in Notre Dame's favor. He's 8-3 against the Trojans, who had been riding an eight-game winning streak before his arrival.

1. The fan who gave Tom Brady's 600th touchdown ball back may have lost out on a $500K payday. Yahoo Sports

2. Ken Rosenthal on Dusty Baker as the Astros manager sits four wins away from finally winning a World Series title. (I haven't yet decided if I'm rooting for Dusty or Freddie Freeman yet.) The Athletic

3. DeMar DeRozan bought Juanita Jordan's old townhome for $4.5 million. The Real Deal

4. The Illinois football team got a hero's welcome back in Champaign during the basketball game. Saturday Tradition

5. You might have seen Anthony Alfano during past Halloweens. His Ferris Bueller's Day Off costume honestly made my Sunday. ABC7Chicago

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

Join the conversation

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to Midway Minute.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.