The Chicago Bears were playing in a winter wonderland for most of the afternoon against the Seattle Seahawks. Snow was coming down at Lumen Field, making for what would have been the perfect backdrop for two NFC teams competing for a playoff spot.
Instead, these teams were hoping to salvage something from a season that unraveled weeks ago.
Seattle controlled the game from nearly start to finish before the Bears miraculously found life. They scored a touchdown in the final minute and gambled with a two-point conversion to take the lead and the win away from the Seahawks.
Led by Nick Foles, starting due to injuries to Justin Fields and Andy Dalton, the Bears came away with their first victory since Thanksgiving and improved to 5-10 on the season.
There were quite a few players who contributed to this victory while some others almost prevented it. Here are this week’s studs and duds.
STUD: QB Nick Foles
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Who would have thought at the start of the season that the Bears would be turning to Nick Foles and that he would lead a comeback victory on the road? Foles wasn’t spectacular, but he was efficient in the team’s victory. He went 24-of-35 for 250 yards and a touchdown in his first start since November of 2020.
Foles didn’t get much help from the Bears offensive line, but he was able to buy enough time to make throws to his receivers. His game-winning drive featured two of his best throws on the day. He found Jimmy Graham for the score, despite being double covered, and fired a laser to Damiere Byrd for the two-point conversion who miraculously came down with the catch.
This could be Foles’ last opportunity with the Bears and, if it is, he made sure it was a memorable one.
DUD: RT Germain Ifedi
AP Photo/Gary McCullough
It wasn’t the homecoming Germain Ifedi wanted, but it was probably the one that was expected. Ifedi returned to Seattle for the first time since he left the Seahawks and based on his performance, he felt right at home. The veteran curiously got the start for the Bears at right tackle over rookie Larry Borom and consistently allowed pressure all game long. He was also tagged for a penalty.
Ifedi also showed he still isn’t a fan of any extracurricular activities after the play either. After last week’s incident with rookie tackle Teven Jenkins where he got in his face, Ifedi picked David Montgomery off the ground and cut his snow angel celebration short following a touchdown.
STUD: TE Cole Kmet
AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson
Cole Kmet continues to take strides in his development as the team’s starting tight end. Kmet caught four passes on five targets for 49 yards, but showed plenty of promise running after the catch. He was able to break tackles and keep his feet moving to move the chains, something he’s struggled with at times this season.
This was Kmet’s eighth game of the year with over 40 yards receiving. He had just three of those games during his rookie year. He has solidified himself as a top-three option in the passing game, no matter who his quarterback is for the day. He’ll try and cap off a solid sophomore season over the final two games.
DUD: CB Kindle Vildor
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The offseason can’t come soon enough for Kindle Vildor. The second-year cornerback continued to struggle in coverage, particularly on a Seahawks touchdown in the second half.
During the third quarter, Russell Wilson connected with tight end Gerald Everett for a score after he got free. Vildor sat on a short route and lost Everett behind him, leading to an easy score. Vildor had three tackles on the day, but his issues in pass coverage are still very apparent.
STUD: EDGE Robert Quinn
AP Photo/Duane Burleson
A month ago, it seemed highly unlikely that Robert Quinn would tough Richard Dent’s single-season sack record of 17.5. Now, the question is whether he’ll break it next week or in the season finale. Quinn had one sack to go along with two total tackles, including one for a loss. He also had two QB hits on the day.
Quinn just keeps finding ways to either get to the quarterback, or push him towards one of the other Bears defensive linemen. His motor never tires and he now has a sack in seven straight games. Hopefully he can break Dent’s record at home and receive a standing ovation for his performance this year. He’s earned all of the accolades and praise.
DUD: NT Eddie Goldman
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The Seahawks were able to run all over the Bears defense with Rashaad Penny on Sunday and Eddie Goldman was nowhere to be seen. Goldman didn’t show up on the statsheet but was seen getting bullied by the Seattle offensive line too many times, opening up gaping holes for Penny.
When Goldman was on the field, he didn’t make much of an impact. The entire run defense deserves to be put in this spot, but Goldman’s job is to help that area specifically. He’s struggled in many games this year and you have to wonder if his time as a Bear is coming to an end.
STUD: WR Dazz Newsome
AP Photo/Wade Payne
Many of the other Bears rookies have had their chance to shine. Now it’s Dazz Newsome’s time. Newsome, playing in his second game of his career, made a quick impact in the punt return game. Newsome took the Seahawks second punt of the game and returned it 28 yards, setting up the Bears in prime scoring position inside the Seattle redzone. They capitalized with a touchdown run from David Montgomery, making sure his effort wasn’t wasted.
Newsome also saw some time at receiver and made his targets count. He caught one pass for 10 yards on a long third down, fighting his way for a first to keep the chains moving. It was a welcome sight after last week’s disappointment in his debut. Newsome showed the flashes that had fans excited when he was picked in the 2021 NFL draft. Perhaps he’ll keep getting opportunities over the next couple of weeks to show what else he can do.