After watching tape of Sunday's 25-24 comeback win over the Seahawks, Bears coach Matt Nagy discussed three things that stood out to him in the victory:
(1) Nagy was impressed with the high level of execution the offense displayed on its game-winning 6-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.
Trailing 24-17, the Bears took over at their own 20 following a touchback on a punt with 2:56 to play and two timeouts remaining. On the first play, Nick Foles threw over the middle to Darnell Mooney, who caught the ball at his own 32 and battled through five tacklers to pick up an additional 18 yards to the 50. A roughing-the-passer penalty on the play moved the ball to the Seahawks' 35.
Foles followed with back-to-back checkdown throws to David Montgomery, who gained 10 and 14 yards to the Seattle 11 as the clock ticked down to the two-minute warning. The Bears then averted disaster when Germain Ifedi recovered a Foles fumble that resulted from a strip/sack. After a short incompletion, Foles threw to Jimmy Graham in the end zone on third-and-14 from the 15. The 6-7, 259-pound tight end took advantage of a size mismatch against 5-10, 187-pound cornerback John Reid and made the game-winning TD catch with 1:01 to play.
"We had a really good start to it," Nagy said. "Nick did a good job of getting the football out. You saw high effort. And then what happens is then you get down there where you get to a third-and-14 and you know that they're going to be in some type of shell defense, so that's not an easy play call or play design or play for the players to make.
"Fortunately, as we got down to that moment, you have the clock working for you and against you at the same time because you know once you get down there you're in four-down territory. You also know you have some timeouts left. You also have to be careful of scoring too quick because now you're going to give Russell [Wilson] and that offense time to kick a field goal and win. So there was a balance of all that. I thought that in the end for Jimmy to make that play was pretty ironic playing against his former team. I was happy for him that he did that, and that Nick gave him a chance and that the O-line blocked."
(2) Nagy praised the defense for preserving the win with a late stop.
Sunday marked the third time this season that the Bears rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead on a touchdown pass with less than 2:00 to play. But it was the first time that the defense preserved the lead.
On Nov. 8 in Pittsburgh, Justin Fields' 16-yard TD pass to Mooney gave the Bears a 27-26 lead with 1:46 to play. But the Steelers marched to the Bears' 23 and won the game 29-27 on a 40-yard field goal with :22 left. In their next game, the Bears took a 13-9 lead over the Ravens on Andy Dalton's 49-yard TD pass to Marquise Goodwin on fourth-and-11 with 1:41 remaining. But Baltimore won 16-13 as Devonta Freeman's 3-yard TD run capped a 5-play, 72-yard drive with :22 to play.
After Graham's touchdown Sunday, the Seahawks took over at their own 27 with :53 on the clock and two timeouts remaining. A holding penalty pushed Seattle back to its own 21. But on third-and-16, Wilson completed a 15-yard pass to Tyler Lockett to the 36. A false start penalty on tight end Gerald Everett turned fourth-and-1 into fourth-and-5. Eddie Jackson then seemingly clinched the win by stopping Wilson a yard short of the first down on a fourth-down scramble. But offsetting penalties gave Seattle another chance. This time, Bruce Irvin pressured Wilson—his former Seahawks teammate—into an incompletion, sealing the win with :17 left.
"For the guys to be able to fight to the end to get that win," Nagy said, "how it happened and even once we got the two-point conversation, to still have to stop Russell Wilson and that offense from kicking a field goal to win the game I thought was impressive by our guys as well."
After allowing four scores—three TDs and one field goal—on six possessions, the Bears defense held the Seahawks scoreless on their final three drives of the game.
(3) Nagy lauded the effort his players gave, especially pass-catchers who picked up yards after the catch.
Mooney's 30-yard catch-and-run was a signature play, but it wasn't the only one that involved a Bears receiver gaining yards after the catch.
Rookie receiver Dazz Newsome made his first NFL reception a memorable one, breaking a tackle attempt by eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner to pick up a first down with a 10-yard reception on third-and-9 in the first quarter. Late in the third period, Cole Kmet broke a tackle after catching a short pass in the right flat, turning it into a 16-yard gain and a first down.
"I think if you go back and watch all of our games during the season, [Sunday] in my opinion and our coaching staff's opinion was the best day that we had as run after the catch, whether it was tight end with Kmet and Jimmy, whether it was the running backs with 'DMo' (Montgomery), whether it was the wide receivers with a bunch of guys that were catching and getting north and south. That part again, that's effort. You're not getting tackled for a 1-yard gain; you're getting extra yards.
"There were a lot of those plays. I mean just think about the last two plays on offense with the touchdown catch by Jimmy contested and the triple-contested two-point play. There was a play before we got into the end zone where you see our offensive linemen just hauling ass to run down there and try to push the ballcarrier into the end zone. Those are effort moments that we as coaches really appreciate, and they stood out."
Check out the best images—taken by Bears photographers—from Sunday's thrilling comeback victory over the Seahawks in snowy Seattle.