The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings were already eliminated from the playoffs as they entered Sunday’s season finale at US Bank Stadium.
But in what could potentially be his last game as Bears coach, Matt Nagy still expects his team to do its best to end the season with a winning streak of three games.
The Bears beat the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants after their loss to the Vikings officially knocked them out of the playoffs.
“We all play to win the Super Bowl. That’s why we train, that’s why we play,” said Nagy. what we’re done … and keep fighting like you would if you had a chance, and I’m proud of these guys.
“When there is adversity that strikes, and when things do not go as well as you want, how do you react then? Are you changing? Do you treat people differently? Are you a different head coach? Are you a different type of player? For as they all say, it reveals your true character. Eventually we all look back and say, ‘How did we react in a hard time?’ I think everyone in this building can tell you, ‘We responded pretty well.’
Veteran Andy Dalton starts as a quarterback after rookie Justin Fields tested positive for COVID-19 during the week. Nagy said Nick Foles would be the backup. Although Fields could technically have tried back in the game, Nagy indicated that the lack of training time on Thursday and Friday would be too much to come back from.
Dalton will try to end a challenging season on a high note.
He was the starter to open the season before suffering a knee injury in Week 2. As he was recovering from the injury, the Bears turned to Fields as the permanent starter. Dalton returned to fill the then-injured Fields in a Thanksgiving Day victory over the Detroit Lions, but suffered hand and groin injuries and tested positive for COVID-19 in December.
He returned to beat the Giants last week with Fields out with an ankle injury.
“It’s been up and down,” Dalton said. “There’s a lot that’s been going on, and a lot of things that were not expected at times, but it’s one of the things you have to learn and grow from every experience you have, and it’s just like that, I am on.”
Latest Bears buzz
The Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported on Friday that although Nagy is expected to be fired on Sunday or Monday after the season finale, the buzz around the league is that the Bears could keep general manager Ryan Pace in some role.
Aside from the fact that Fields is on the reserve / COVID-19 list, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is the only Bears player to be declared out on Friday. Hicks has struggled with an ankle injury and will miss his eighth game this season.
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn (shoulder), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (finger) and cornerback Duke Shelley (heel) were listed as questionable.
The Bears on Saturday raised wide receiver Dazz Newsome from the training team. The election in the sixth round in 2021 has played in two matches.
For the Vikings, defensive tackle Michael Pierce (illness) is questionable, while Mackensie Alexander (ankle), Kris Boyd (rib) and Wyatt Davis (illness) are questionable.