Coming into last Monday night’s matchup, the Bears were a miserable 0-9 in their last 9 primetime games. In fact, you have to go back all the way to the 2020 Covid season when Nick Foles and the Bears stunned Tom Brady and the Buccaneers 20-19 in an empty Soldier Field. Cairo Santos kicked a game-winner with 1:08 left and the Bears defense was able to stop Tom Brady on fourth down in what he infamously thought was third down. Since that victory, the Bears have dropped 9 straight in primetime.
As a Bear’s fan, it has been embarrassing watching this team play on national television and subsequently getting roasted on social media. And deservedly so, as most of them were blowouts with only a handful being competitive. However, last Monday was different as the Bears were able to put together one of the more complete games in recent memory and defeated the New England Patriots 33-14. This article will not focus on the triumphs of Monday, instead we will take a sad trip down memory lane and look at the past 9 primetime matchups in which the Bears lost.
Following the Buccaneers victory in 2020, the Bears traveled to Charlotte and were able to pick up a road victory over the Panthers and improve to 5-2. The week after would be a big test, as the Bears would make their first trip to SoFi and take on the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. The Bears offense played terribly this game, turning the ball over on two drives, turning it over on downs on 3 drives, and punting on 5 of our first 6 drives. The only highlight from that game was a sweet fumble return touchdown by safety Eddie Jackson in the third quarter.
After the Rams game, the Bears dropped another 2 games against the Saints and Titans. The week after the Titans, the Bears hosted the Vikings on Monday Night Football and were tailspinning at 5-5 after starting 5-2. This game was huge, being a divisional game and at home (Nagy always stressed the importance of home divisional games). Fast-forwarding to the 4th quarter, the game was tied at 13’s. The Bears punted to the Vikings to start the quarter and they were able to march down the field and take a 19-13 lead on an Adam Thielen touchdown. On the Bear’s ensuing three drives to attempt to take the lead, they punted once and turned the ball over on downs twice. Sad showing from the offense once again.
What’s a good way to follow up that MNF loss? How about losing to the Packers in Lambeau the following week on SNF. The big note from this game was the return of Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky had previously been benched in a Week 3 win over the Falcons in favor of journeyman Nick Foles. In an attempt to spark the offense, Nagy decided to plug back in Trubisky in an effort to jump start the offense. As was expected though, the offense did not change as Trubisky turned the ball over 3 times and made the score look better with garbage time touchdowns. Thankfully, the Bears would not have to rear their ugly heads on national television again until the 2021 season, as they finished the 2020 season at 8-8 with a wild card loss to the New Orleans Saints.
To kick-off the 2021 NFL season, the league decided to have the Rams host the Bears on SNF in what was the quote on quote “proper debut” of SoFi stadium. The Rams thrashed the Bears 34-14 in what was the beginning of the short lived Andy Dalton era. The game was actually somewhat surprising on the first drive, as David Montgomery ripped off a big run and rookie Justin Fields recorded his first NFL touchdown on a QB keeper scramble. After that though, the Rams were able to put the game away with a great passing attack from new QB Matt Stafford.
The next opportunity to lose on national television came during Week 9 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. At this point in the season, Justin Fields had been tabbed the starter and the Bears entered the game 3-5. This game was very exciting, as Justin Fields made some wow throws to spirit a comeback. The Bears were able to take a 27-26 lead late in the 4th quarter as Fields made a nice throw on the run to Darnell Mooney for a touchdown. The biggest moment of the game however came during the fourth quarter when Cassius Marsh was penalized for taunting and “bumping” into an official. This was able to get Pittsburgh into field goal range and take a 26-20 lead.
The next primetime action for the Bears that season came against the Packers on SNF during Week 14 (and as always in Lambeau). This was another exciting game as Jakeem Grant was able to house a punt for a touchdown and Damiere Byrd took a gadget play to the house. Ultimately, the game ended in true Bears-Packers fashion as the Packers came out victorious 45-30.
The last primetime action the Bears saw during the 2021 season was a home MNF matchup against the Vikings. This was a frustrating game, as the Bears offense gave up a lot of sacks on Justin Fields and couldn’t get the run game going. What was most upsetting was how well the defense played. But eventually the constant being on the field caught up to them as the Vikings were able to score enough points to put the ball game away late in the fourth quarter. The Bears ended up finishing the 2021 season 6-11 and ended up ending the Nagy and Pace era at the conclusion of the season.
To round out the last two primetime games, one has to look at the current season. Week 2 on SNF we played the Packers at Lambeau, go figure. This game was marred by an inept offense as Justin Fields finished the game with 70 yards passing. The defense also let AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones run rough shed over them as they combined for 193 yards. Fast forward to Week 6 to a Thursday night matchup against the Commanders, which is still fresh in our heads. As we all remember, Fields was constantly pressured in this game and took a lot of unnecessary sacks and hits. He did make a nice touchdown play to Pettis on an off side, but it got mostly overshadowed by an incompletion to Ryan Griffin in the endzone on a previous drive.
Thankfully, the Bears were able to avoid going 0-10 against the Patriots. Sadly, the Bears do not have any more primetime games slated for the rest of the 2022 season. This may be a good thing, as history suggests the Bears do not show up on national television. We’ll have to wait till 2023 to see our Bears in primetime next.