In a matter of seconds, the Bears went from a team hellbent on avoiding another crushing loss to one hoping it didn’t lose its starting quarterback.
Chicago (5-5) dropped its fourth straight game on Monday night, falling to the division rival Vikings (4-5), 19-13. A potentially serious injury to Nick Foles, who was carted off in the game’s closing moments, made this latest defeat an even tougher pill to swallow as the club heads into its much-needed bye week.
“When I got out there right away, I wasn’t sure what it was,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said after the game. “I didn’t know if it was like his ribs or shoulder or what. And then, when I saw, the amount of pain that he was in on the ground. You know, I hope he’s OK, but he was in a lot of pain and he’s a tough dude. When you see that, you’re down there with him, you feel for him just because you don’t know how good or bad it is. So, that part’s hard.”
Nagy informed the media that Foles’ leg and hip were being evaluated.
On a night when the offense struggled once again, Chicago still faced the possibility of eking out a victory with less than a minute remaining, thanks to another formidable showing by its stellar defense.
As Foles dropped back and surveyed the field on the first play of the potentially game-winning drive, he was taken down by Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo and appeared to land hard on his right hip. The veteran QB laid on the ground for a few moments as the medical staff tended to him before eventually being carted off.
Backup Tyler Bray came on in Foles’ relief with a chance to pull off some heroics. His first pass found its way to running back Ryan Nall for a gain of 18, but Bray’s next four snaps featured a spike and three incompletions, leading to a game-ending turnover on downs.
“I know he’s upset,” Nagy said of Foles. “It’s been frustrating, it’s been hard and that’s the part that’s difficult through all of this because no one wants it more than him to be out there to fight with his teammates. So, we’ll keep an eye on that. This bye is coming at a good time for us. We’re a little bit beat up right now, so we need to be able to get some guys back and get healthy.”
Relying on an inexperienced QB who played four snaps in his eight-year career prior to Week 10 would obviously be far from ideal. It’s important to note that Bray’s sudden time in the spotlight manifested only because Mitch Trubisky remains sidelined by the shoulder injury he sustained in Week 8.
When asked about the likelihood of the former first-rounder returning in Week 12, Nagy was hesitant to reveal his hand.
“I don’t know yet about Mitch. I think there’s a possibility, but I don’t know that for sure,” he said. “I think it’s going to be day-by-day. I don’t know if he knows that. So, we’ll just keep an eye on that. Obviously with Nick’s status, we’ll have to see where that’s at as we go.”
A season-low 106 yards summed up Foles’ rough night statistically, but a quick glance at the two sacks and 11 QB hits he took also highlighted another poor effort by the offensive line. Chicago may need longer than its bye to figure out its glaring offensive problems, especially if yet another QB change ensues.