A Year in Review: A Look Back on the Ups and Downs of the 2022 Chicago Bears

The Bears rang in the New Year with an abysmal loss to the Detroit Lions. They were completely outmatched and outplayed in every aspect of the game. After out-scoring the Lions 10-7 in the first quarter, the Bears let up 34 points while scoring none the rest of the game. While it wasn’t a great start to 2023 for the Bears, it can only go up from here. Before we look past this season towards the next, let’s take a look back at the ups and downs of the Bear’s 2022 season.

January 9th, 2022: The Bears lose their week 18 matchup
The Bears end their season with their eleventh loss of the season. An important loss, as it led to the next big event of the year.

January 10th, 2022: Bears fire head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace
The biggest and most important move of the year 2022, the Bears fired Nagy and Pace. Seven years after the start of Pace’s tenure, he was fired after repeatedly missing from the quarterback position. Nagy, the head coach for four seasons, was fired after starting his career with a promising 12-4 season and then failing to get above 0.500 (winning percentage) in a season after that. An integral move for the Bears as they look toward the future.

January 25, 2022: Bears hire Chiefs executive Ryan Poles as new GM
A young, rising executive from Kansas City is hired as the Bear’s newest GM. He had been in Kansas City since 2009, starting as a scouting assistant and working his way up to executive director of player personnel. He helped bring a super bowl to the Chiefs in 2020, as well as many division titles. His most impressive accolade, however, is staying in the Chiefs organization through three different GMs. He is greeted very warmly by the Bears media and fans as he takes the GM mantle.

January 27, 2022: Bears hire new head coach, Matt Eberflus
The Bears hired Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their 17th head coach in franchise history. Eberflus’s coaching career spans 20 years, starting as an assistant coach at Toledo. He made his way into the NFL in 2009 as a linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns. He worked his way through the league and made it as Colt’s defensive coordinator in 2018. This hire was not as thoroughly loved as much as the Poles hired, but Eberflus has a good track record and works his players hard.

January 29, 2022: Bears Hire Ian Cunningham as Assistant GM
Ryan Poles makes his first big hiring as GM, stealing Cunningham from the Eagles, where he was the director of player personnel. He is another rising star in the world of NFL executives and a wonderful person to have in the Bear’s front office. Cunningham is on his way to a GM job of his own, sooner rather than later.

January 30, 2022: Bears hire new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy
Luke Getsy was a good get by Matt Eberflus for his staff. He worked with the Packers as the quarterback’s coach from 2019-2022. Getting Getsy meant the Bears could run a similar style offense as the Packers, which could be the best for Justin Fields.

March 14, 2022: Bears set to sign DT Larry Ogunjobi
In the first move of Ryan Poles’ career as Bears GM, he signed Larry Ogunjobi, a defensive tackle from the Cincinnati Bengals. He had an impressive 2021 season and would be a great fit Eberflus’s scheme. However, on March 18, 2022, the team released a statement saying they had not signed him based on a failed physical. Ogunjobi had foot surgery earlier in the year. This was seen as both the first big move of Pole’s career and his biggest blunder.

March 16, 2022: Bears trade away superstar LB Khalil Mack
Ryan Poles’ biggest and most astounding move came as a surprise to all. The Bears traded Mack to the Chargers in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick, which poles later turned into more 2022 late-round picks. Not only was this a monumental trade, but it also completely tore down the previous regime. Ryan Pace’s crowning achievement was trading for Mack, and by trading him away, Poles showed he meant business.

March-August, 2022: Bears continue to sign depth pieces
The Bears never stopped adding bodies to the roster throughout the off-season. Some of the more notable signings were DT Justin Jones, WR Byron Pringle, OG Lucas Patrick, LB Nicholas Morrow, and DE Al-Quadin Muhammad.

April 28-30, 2022: The NFL Draft
Ryan Poles’ first draft as a GM and Matt Eberflus’s first draft as a head coach. Without a first-round pick, Poles had to wait until day two to pick anyone. Once Day Two comes around, the Bears select Kyler Gordon with pick 39 and Jaquan Brisker with pick 48. The Bears selected WR Velus Jones Jr. with pick 71. Then Poles showed why he was trusted with the GM job, as he turned six draft picks into 11 by the end of the draft. Time will tell, but it seems to be a solid draft, as there are four starters to come from it.

May-June, 2022: Practice and OTA’s begin
The Bear’s new coaching staff, as well as the fans, get to see their roster in action.
July 12, 2022: Bears trade for former New England Patriot WR N’Keal Harry
Harry had been asking for a trade out of New England for almost a year. He finally got his wish when the Bears traded a 2024 seventh-round pick for the former first-round receiver. He has a physical upside and could find a spot in the offense.

August 13, 2022: Bear’s first preseason game of 2022
The first game of the new regime. Ryan Poles watched his roster in action, and Matt Eberflus got to put his new team to the test. The Bears would end up beating the Chiefs by a score of 19-14.

August 27, 2022: Fields shines in Bears preseason win
Fields looked like a true franchise quarterback as the Bears won 21-20 against the Browns. He had 156 yards and three touchdowns in a stellar performance to end the preseason.

September 11, 2022: Bears get an upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers
In week one, the Bears weren’t even given a thought. However, in monsoon-like conditions, they pulled off an incredible come-from-behind win over a great team. It would end up being one of the very few bright spots during the season.

October 9, 2022: Bears almost complete comeback against Vikings
The Bears were down 21-10 going into halftime, with not much going for them on offense. However, in the third quarter, they made it a 21-19 game and made the Vikings uncomfortable for the first time all day. The Bear’s comeback was eventually stopped as they lost a fumble on the final drive. However, the biggest story was how good Fields looked in the second half. It seemed to start a streak of great games by Fields.

October 24, 2022: Bears pummel Patriots on Monday Night
After an extended break between games, the Bears show up to New England ready to play. They got a quick lead, and both the offense and defense played well. Both rookie DBs got interceptions, and the offense put up a season-high 33 points. It was an all-around great game and a very exciting one to watch.

October 26, 2022: Bears trade veteran DE Robert Quinn
Ryan Poles decided in the offseason that this was a rebuilding team, and this move solidifies that. Quinn was coming off an incredible season where he broke the Bear’s single-season sack record. He was much quieter this year which, along with his age, led the Bears to trade him to the Philidelphia Eagles for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

October 31, 2022: Bears trade superstar LB Roquan Smith
Another big trade from Poles; however, this one was much less surprising. Smith and the Bears met in the offseason to try and work on a contract extension. Poles reportedly offered a very generous contract that would have made Smith one of the highest-paid off-ball linebackers. Smith declined the contract, and Poles decided to get what he could before the linebacker’s contract ran out. Smith was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick.

November 1, 2022: Bears trade for WR Chase Claypool
Poles made his second big move of the trade deadline, getting Steelers WR Chase Claypool for a 2023 second-round pick(the Bear’s own pick). It’s a pretty high price, but it was later reported that the Packers were also in the race to get Claypool. Poles seemed to want to add a receiver before the 2023 free agency, seeing as though the crop of FA receivers is quite thin. This was a move made more for 2023 and beyond.

November 6, 2022: Fields breaks records against the Miami Dolphins
While the Bears lost this game 35-32, it was Justin Fields’ best game as a pro. He finished the game with 123 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, as well as 178 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. The 178 yards broke the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. He also broke the record for longest rushing touchdown by a QB with a 61-yard touchdown. He later broke his own record against the Lions with a 67-yard rushing touchdown.

December 24, 2022: Bears last game of 2022
The Bears played the Buffalo Bills on Christmas Eve, losing 35-13 in a freezing matchup. The Bears were fully outplayed and never had a chance. It was a performance better left in 2022. However, it helps the Bears reach the ultimate goal of a top-two draft pick come April.

It’s been a crazy year for the Bears, full of change and uncertainty. However, even though their roster and record might not reflect it, it seems the Bears are on the right track. They are projected to land a top-two pick in the draft and are also slated to have almost 130 million dollars in cap space to sign free agents. It should be a much more exciting 2023 for the Chicago Bears. There really isn’t any way to go but up from here. Happy New Year!
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