Sunday's Super Wild Card game in New Orleans will be a rematch of the Bears' 26-23 overtime loss to the Saints Nov. 1 at Soldier Field.
Here are five things that stood out about that game:
(1) It was a seesaw contest that was tied 3-3, 13-13 and 23-23.
After the Bears took a 13-3 lead late in the first half, the Saints scored 20 unanswered points to go ahead 23-13. But the Bears rallied to force overtime with 10 points in the final 3:32 of the fourth quarter on Nick Foles' 3-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney and Cairo Santos' 51-yard field goal into the wind with just :13 left in regulation. But the Saints won the game 26-23 on Wil Lutz's 35-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining in overtime. It was the Bears' second of six consecutive losses.
(2) Saints running back Alvin Kamara set up the winning field goal.
After first the Saints and then the Bears punted on their first possessions in overtime, Kamara's 20-yard run to the Chicago 11 set up Lutz's winning field goal. Kamara produced 163 yards from scrimmage in the game, rushing for 67 yards on 12 carries and catching nine passes for 96 yards. His availability for Sunday's wild card contest is in question, however, after he tested positive for COVID-19. Kamara sat out the Saints' regular-season finale last Sunday and won't be permitted to practice this week. But he will be eligible to play against the Bears as long as he's asymptomatic, tests negative for the virus and is cleared medically.
(3) The Bears defense excelled on third down and in the red zone.
The Saints amassed 394 total yards, but the Bears allowed New Orleans to convert just 2-of-13 third-down plays (15 percent) and score only one touchdown on four trips inside-the-20 (25 percent). After the Saints game, the Bears defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL in both third-down efficiency and red-zone touchdown percentage. But the unit struggled in both areas over the second half of the year, finishing the season ranked eighth and fifth in those respective categories.
(4) Foles played well in a losing effort.
The veteran quarterback completed 28 of 41 passes for 272 yards—his second highest yardage total of the season—with two touchdowns, one interception and a 92.7 passer rating. In the second quarter, Foles rainbowed a 50-yard completion to rookie Darnell Mooney and then threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to a diving Allen Robinson II two plays later. Foles later drew the Bears to within 23-20 on a 3-yard TD strike to Mooney with 3:32 left in regulation. Foles' biggest mistake of the game came in the third quarter when he threw a pass off his back foot that was intercepted by cornerback Marshon Lattimore at the Bears' 39. The Saints converted the turnover into Lutz's 39-yard field goal, taking a 16-13 lead.
Foles was backed up by Mitchell Trubisky, who suffered a left-shoulder injury on his only snap of the game, a 3-yard run. He sat out the next two games before being reinstalled as the starting quarterback during the bye week.
(5) Bears receiver Javon Wims was ejected for throwing two punches.
Wims was booted out of the contest and suspended without pay for two games by the NFL for punching Saints cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson twice after a third-quarter play. Wims was also assessed a 15-yard penalty, turning a second-and-5 situation into second-and-20, and Foles was intercepted on the next play. Nagy was angered by Wims' actions, describing them immediately after the game as "completely unacceptable" and saying "that's not how we roll here."
After the Saints game, Nagy accepted blame for the Bears leading the NFL with 58 penalties. "Until it gets changed," he said, "I have to be able to accept responsibility for it and I have to be able to focus on the 'why' part, and I have to hold myself and the coaching staff accountable because we're the ones that basically are the conduits to the players and how they're acting on gameday. Until it stops, I've got to take full responsibility for it."
It did stop. And Nagy deserves a lot of credit for rectifying the problem. After leading the NFL with 58 penalties while drawing at least 46 penalty yards in each of their first eight games, the Bears were assessed the fewest penalties (30) over their final eight contests while drawing fewer than 46 penalty yards in each game.
See the game unfold through the lenses of our sideline photographers as the Bears face off against the Saints at home on a Sunday afternoon in Chicago.