Lincicome: In a weird game, Nick Foles did what Nick Foles has done before
For reasons not entirely clear, the Bears played another football game Sunday. In Bear weather, too, in, of all places, Seattle, a city where the elements are often soggy, but seldom flaky.
For reasons even less clear, The Bears won a football game, confusing things more than furthering things.
The whole game was weird, from the Etch-a-Sketch field where the players seemed to be running in waders to the eerie feel of bygone football, played in inconvenient elements, where the going is tough and the tough get going. And none of it mattered.
Why, why, why?
Let's start with the quarterback, which is where most Bears things begin. What was Nick Foles, the highest paid afterthought quarterback, showing his coach, his teammates and Bears fans how it should be done, how it should have been done all season, how it probably will be done again by Foles, although likely for someone else.
According to medical analysis from those who medically analyze things, the other two quarterbacks were too infirm to be considered as sacrifices against a woebegone team that, like the Bears, is out of the playoffs.
Had Foles been injured the Bears would have gone to the anonymous Ryan Willis, up from the practice squad where he had languished for more than a week.
This was a game of no significance to anyone, as will the next two games be, save players looking to leave or to hang on for whomever their next judges will be. Neither team really cared about the game, reassurances to the contrary.
"You've got to empty your cup," Matt Nagy said with his best metaphorical gibberish.
Nagy insisted that he plays for Sunday, when the whole season has been about playing for next year. He will be fired because he did not play to win each week. He played to make Justin Fields someone else's quarterback.
Whether or not Fields could have played, or Andy Dalton, the result was that Foles showed that he is the best of the three of them, always in control, calm in crisis and with purpose.
"He's a Super Bowl MVP," said running back David Montgomery, reminding all who need reminding.
Nice audition for Foles' next job, surely not with the Bears, but maybe he could be worth a bump up in the skinny draft awaiting the Bears.
"I never thought I'd be a third-string quarterback," said Foles, not with annoyance it seemed, though he is certainly entitled to it. "I did my job. I wasn't looking for validation."
Foles did not play like a third-string quarterback, saving his best for last, a touchdown pass and two-point conversion when, as lackadaisical as Seattle played all day, it seemed they would win shrugging.
"I don't know what the future holds," said Foles, but who does? If the Bears had any certainty, they would not have the history of quarterback missteps they have taken and Jay Cutler would not now be looked back on fondly.
Why, continuing with the questions, was not this game treated like an early exhibition, as the next two should be? Winning does not matter. What kind of team can be made from this debris and whatever renovations can be found, traded for, bought or drafted is what matters.
The answer to this one, of course, is easy. Those doing the renovating will not be around to do it.
And the last "why" that needs considering is Nagy, of course. Why does he continue to be so confoundedly decent about his situation? He seems just as dedicated and serious on the way out as he was on the way in.
"In any sport," said Nagy, "we all have to have a little dignity and pride in what you do. You've got to be able to persevere."
With two weeks remaining Nagy barely lapses into regret, though there was a bit of cup emptying after a kind prompt from the press.
"Looking back at '18 we didn't know what we didn't know," Nagy said. "We had to learn to win and we did that. And then you become the hunted. And last year was COVID. We were in the playoffs two of three years. This year is not the record we wanted. You fight through those moments, make sure your guys fight and they're doing that now."
After a win, it's OK to take his word for it.