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The 3 Best & Worst Games of John Fox’s Bears Tenure: Part I (Best)

| December 19th, 2017

The John Fox era is coming to an end in Chicago. All those “what-if” scenarios about the Bears winning out after dominating the Bengals can be put to bed after Saturday’s beatdown at the hands of the Lions. So for my first post on DBB I’m going to look back and reflect on the three best and three worst games of the John Fox era.

Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom, I’ll start with the good. As of writing this John Fox only has 13 wins as Bears coach; three of which came when Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley were under center. So really I’m looking at 10 games here. Slim pickings, but you work with what you’ve got.

Best Games

#3. November 15th, 2015

Chicago Bears @ St. Louis Rams: Chicago 37, St. Louis 13.

This win marks the second biggest margin of victory of any Bears win under Fox. It followed a thrilling comeback win in San Diego against the Chargers the previous week, making it the second time that season the Bears managed to string two wins together in a row. (They have never managed three in a row under Fox.) Jay Cutler went 19/24 with 3 TDs, no turnovers, and a career high passer rating of 151.0. It was decisive, dominant, and damn fun to watch. It put the Bears at 4-5, which after a 0-3 start was a happy surprise. You could see the improvement in the team, and more importantly, you could see that they were buying into John Fox’s message and methodology. It felt like it could be the beginning of more good things to come.


#2. October 31st, 2016

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears: Chicago 20, Minnesota 10.

Coming into this game things weren’t great for the Bears or John Fox. Rumors that week circulated that Ryan Pace had hired outside consultants to evaluate day-to-day operations and that Fox was potentially one bad game away from being fired. Jay Cutler was returning from a thumb injury with many under the opinion he had fallen out of favor with Fox, and had Brian Hoyer not gotten hurt the previous week against the Packers, might not have returned as a starter at all.

Not to mention the Bears came into the game 1-6, the Vikings 5-1. Most people expected another primetime slaughter. Instead Cutler came out sharp and poised, Jordan Howard smashed through the Vikings imposing defense, Alshon Jeffery got his first touchdown of the season, and the Bears defense lit up Sam Bradford the whole night. The game was never out of the Bears hands, and even though their hopes for a playoff berth were all but dashed at 2-6, they were heading into a bye-week with a friendlier looking schedule ahead. Fans were hopeful the Bears could finish strong and build more momentum and excitement leading into the 2017 season.


#1. November 26th, 2015

Chicago @ Green Bay: Bears 17, Packers 13

You might disagree with me on the first two games, but without a doubt beating the Packers on Thanksgiving night in Lambeau Field, on the night they retired Brett Favre’s jersey, is the undisputed high point of John Fox’s tenure with the Chicago Bears. The game itself wasn’t very pretty, as evidenced by the score. It was cold, wet, and gritty, and the Bears were able to survive a last minute fourth quarter drive that saw Aaron Rodgers have 4 attempts inside the red zone to win the game. The Bears patchwork defense gutted it out, and thwarted one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

  • This was Jay Cutler’s first (and only) win in Lambeau Field.
  • It put the Chicago Bears at 5-6 for the season keeping them somewhat relevant in the playoff hunt.
  • It set them up with 10 days to prepare for a home game against the woeful San Francisco 49ers, led by Blaine Gabbert, giving the Bears the very real possibility of getting to .500 on the season.

It was awesome, and it never got better for Fox than that night.


Honorable Mention

December 10th, 2017: Chicago @ Cincinnati: Bears 33, Bengals 7

Some of you might argue this game belongs in the top three. After all it was the widest margin of victory for the Bears of any game John Fox has coached. A pure beatdown. On top of that, rookies Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen, and Eddie Jackson all had great games. It gave fans an optimistic glimpse at what we hope to be a very promising future. Plus it was just good fun to watch this team win again. That said, this win happened in what I’d call the lame duck stage of Fox’s coaching career. The Bears are 4-10. They went right back to looking terrible (and terribly coached) the next week. This game was too little, too late from John Fox and his coaching staff, which is why I couldn’t justify a top three spot.

 

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  • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

    Welcome aboard Emily. Decent 1st post

    • SC Dave

      Definitely okay, although I would not characterize last week as a “beat down”.

      That would be more like what the Rams did to Seattle.

      • Emily

        Thanks!

        The QB comment was mainly a joking commentary on the quality of the QBs. If I honestly thought any of those three wins was something special, they absolutely would’ve been included on the list.

    • Huh. Didn’t even notice. Thought it was Andy .

      • willbest

        Is it Wednesday?

  • BearDown100393

    Because doing a top 10 win list really isn’t possible.

    Just fire him already.

  • Scharfinator

    Hahaha I appreciate the focus on the good first. Then an article on his worst three, THEN Jeff can launch into potential hire articles.

  • That Guy

    It’s really saying something that the “Top 3” greatest wins of Fox’s career in Chicago represent a quarter of all his wins here.

    Could you name a fifth-greatest win? No, because once you get out of the top 3 (or 4), you’re starting to talk about games won despite bad coaching, bad QB play, defensive collapses, kickers missing multiple FGs.

    In the mean time, good franchises can point to a list like this composed on a yearly basis.

    Nice first post, Emily.

    • willbest

      The San Fran game in the snow.

  • SC Dave

    #1 worst will also be Green Bay, the Hundley game.

    • Bear Instincts

      Agree

    • BearDown100393

      Most disappointing.

    • willbest

      I don’t really think that is the worst game the Bears have played in the last 3 years. Its more of summation of the Fox tenure than anything else.

  • SC Dave

    Random comparison of the day, brought about by that little note about Cutler and Lambeau. Career numbers:

    Cutler – fumbles: .637; int: 1.07; turnovers: 1.70
    Grossman – fumbles: .028; int 0.97; turnovers: 1.5

    Grossman was 3-2 vs. Green Bay, winning the first 3 before the infamous “not prepared” final game of 2006 with the 0.0 rating. Of course, Cutler had more yards and TDs, but a worse record.

    But I was really just looking at ball security.

    By comparison:

    Trubisky – fumbles: .9; int: .7; turnovers 1.6

    I was surprised that Trubisky has that many fumbles. It does not feel that way.

    Ha ha, when I was looking this up, I noticed that Cutler seems to have gotten a lot better with his fumbling. He has 5 fumbles, and 5 recoveries.

  • evantonio

    Welcome aboard! Looking forward to reading more in the future.

    That said: “Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom”

    You don’t really read the comments, huh?

    • Emily

      Well as a writer I should probably never read the comments for my own sanity! Breaking that rule today because I’m excited about my first posts. But yeah, *some” are trying to stay positive would probably be more accurate 😉

  • And here’s the problem with the Fox tenure. Let’s look at what happened in the games after these games:

    3) 17-15 loss at home to the Broncos (this one wasn’t that bad, respectable game against the eventual Super Bowl champs, but they got lit up by Brock freaking Osweiler)
    2) 36-10 pasting by Tampa Bay
    3) 26-20 home loss to a shitty SF team

    Honorable mention: 20-10 loss to Detroit

    Literally every time the Bears built up any sort of positive momentum under Fox, they went out flat in their next game and blew it.

    • Bear Instincts

      you are a hell of a prosecutor JWood. Firefox is getting solitary with the way you are framing the case against him.

      • BearDown100393

        Hobo framed his own failure.

        • Yeah it’s not exactly a difficult case to make. Literally millions of eyewitnesses, with all of the evidence laid out in public.

          Finding an impartial jury that could at least claim they haven’t already made up their minds would be the hardest part of this case.

          • BearDown100393

            Time will tell

    • The Fox zombies.

      This is why I was astounded that some fans were arguing to keep Fox last season using INJs as an excuse.

      Coming out like zombies has little to do with INJs, and it was a common occurrence esp after big “momentum” wins under Fox.

      • Debra

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  • Also, welcome aboard, Emily!

    • Emily

      Thanks! Excited to be a part of the team!

  • BearDown100393

    Vader to Ozzel: You have failed me for the last time.
    {Chokes Ozzel to death}
    You are now in control Admiral Piett.

    That is what Pace should have done with Hobo.

    ACCOUNTABILITY

    • evantonio

      You are in command now, Admiral Piett

      • BearDown100393

        lol that solved everything….

  • BerwynBomber

    Part 1 of this series — pickings are slim
    Part 2 of this series — an embarrassment of riches

    • willbest

      The problem with part 2 is they all sort of blend together.

      • SC Dave

        Why work on remembering that stuff anyway?

        • BearDown100393

          Some get tired of a losing history repeating itself.

          • willbest

            Those that don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Those that study history are doomed to sit idly by while others repeat it for them.

          • BearDown100393

            Speak for yourself.

          • willbest

            I am so glad you were able to take what you learned from all the previous HC fiascos and prevent the current one from going off the rails.

          • BearDown100393

            A terrible hire.

      • BerwynBomber

        I think the Brett Hundley game is a slam dunk #1.

        But yes, after that could be an interesting debate.

    • #2 will have to be what will always be known as “The Hundley Game” or “The Challenge”

      • BerwynBomber

        Yeah, I think it is definitely #1 of the worst. But damn there is a lot to choose from for the silver and bronze spots. Does the Condor game get a mention?

        • That’s “up” there too. I imagine it would be especially traumatic for Cutler fans – seeing Condor return it for a pick 6, then literally saying fuck you chicago afterwards.

          • BerwynBomber

            The Blaine Gabbert game could also make an appearance. That was Fox not Tresteman, correct?

          • Yeah, I think the SF loss in 2015 has to be on there, the TB loss last year, and the GB loss this year. Those would be my top 3, in some order.

          • willbest

            Nonsense. Either the TB or first GB game this year needs to be on as representative of the Glennon era.

          • I dunno, I think all the games I listed were worse because they actually crushed hope. I can’t speak for others, but I fully expected the Bears to lose every game Mike Glennon started.

            All of the crushing losses were coming off of big games/stretches where things seemed to be looking up, only for it all to come crashing down.

            GB this year: off the bye, looked good as a team in Mitch’s first 4 games (2 wins over playoff teams and 2 close losses vs. really good playoff teams), at home against your biggest rival when they’re crippled and you can put them out of your misery. Instead they somehow beat you.

            TB last year: coming off of the MNF beatdown of Minnesota, chance to turn the season around, get absolutely demolished instead

            SF in 2015: Just had a huge win on national TV against your biggest rival to spoil a huge event for them, on the fringes of playoff contention at 5-6, lose at home to a shitty team playing their even shittier backup QB.

            All of those are WAY worse, IMO, than getting blown out because your shitty QB-who you already knew was shitty-had a shitty game.

          • SC Dave

            Disagree. Only 1/12 of the games; could easily be left off.

          • BerwynBomber

            Concur.

            I thought the WAS game near the end of last year was quite possibly the poorest effort — and I mean pure effort — from a Fox team but it was not as damning because it was so late in the season and Barkley was turning back into a pumpkin.

          • Emily

            The SF loss in 2015 was definitely under consideration. I felt the Glennon game needed to be on here though because starting him at all, let alone after his first three performances, was such an indictment on Fox’s coaching.

  • I agree with Emily’s top #2.

    Everyone assumed the Vikes were going to slaughter the Bears . instead, the oline bullied them (with Kush and Larsen no less). This gave Howard and Cutler room and time to do their thang. It was Cutler’s best game as a Bear imo, and lit up the ever faint Cutler fan embers “Maybe he FINALLY turned the corner” . but alas we all know what happened next game.

    Typical Fox let down.

    Puke def has to be #1. I remember i was staying at Long Beach peer at a hotel over looking the sea. Was walking around the promenade and i saw a bunch of cheeseheads enter the local watering hole.

    I was like, “well, i can’t go in there to watch the game. I prefer my humiliation in private”. So i watched it in the room,, and we won!

    Took the very patient girl to nice restaurant w some good merlot. Made sweet love on the balcony overlooking the Pacific.

    Knocked out w a smile…(rosebud…)

    • CanadaBear

      Beating the Fudgies on Brett Favre night was priceless. I loved the fact the team felt like the Cream Puffs scheduled for HC against a major U. Once in a while a diss really can inspire a team.

    • BerwynBomber

      I might pick another of Cutty’s good games as his best. No doubt he played well that night against MIN, but JH also rushed for over 150. So arguably Cutty wasn’t even the #1 star of the O.

      Of recent years I might choose Cutty’s comeback game against KC (Fox’s first year) or the Fuller game at SF in which Cutty stats weren’t all that but he played very smart, efficient football and also took a huge shot in the sternum.

      Oddly enough, his best game against the Cheese (not that he had many) might have been the ’13 finale in which Rodgers fucked us in the waning seconds for the division title.

      Statistically, Cutty’s best game ever as a Bear was the Rams game Emily mention. But let’s be honest, he was helped immensely by Miller and Langford turning short passes into 80 yard TDs.

      • The Fuller game in SF was 2014, Trestman’s last year.

      • willbest

        Rodgers didn’t fuck us. Our Defense fucked us a good 5-6 times in that game.

        • TomC

          Every time I see Julius Peppers make a great play for GB or now CAR, I want to throw up. All he had to do was keep his edge…

          • willbest

            All Biggs (and 3 other guys) had to do was pick up the fucking football that was just lying on the ground.

          • SC Dave

            THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.

            The worst single play in Bears history.

  • CanadaBear

    One nice thing about getting old is it’s much easier to forget stuff you really don’t want to remember. I can hardly remember the Nessman era and I’m pretty sure the Foxy era will be the same in a year or two. Let’s hope they hire a HC worth remembering.

    • BearDown100393

      The same was said about Trestman.
      The same was said about Fox.

    • BerwynBomber

      Most important decision, IMO, of Pace’s tenure. Even more than drafting Bisky.

      • BearDown100393

        Agreed

      • CanadaBear

        If he gets it wrong, C-Ya. I’m guessing he will hire a QB whisperer for HC. If Pace gets this wrong I’m not sure I’ll have the patience to keep rooting for the Beloved. I won’t back another team, I might just throw in the towel on the NFL. Each year I have less passion for the Beloved and more importantly less passion for the NFL. If they don’t solve these flag fests and unending replays that go on for eons, the game just might be in my rear view mirror in a couple of years. Of course, if Pace hires the right guy and The Beloved take off, I’m watching!

      • My $ is still on Dennis Allen/Flip.

        • BerwynBomber

          I’m betting it is Nagy OC from KC. (And yes, I know your WCO concerns.) But Nagy just seems like a Pace-type move.

          • BearDown100393

            How would anyone know what a “Pace-type move” is when he has never hired a head coach before?

          • BerwynBomber

            From his drafts. He goes for surprise but high upside guys — Floyd, Bisky, Sheehan, Cohen, etc. So I’m just applying that template when looking at the candidates.

            Plus, I think he’ll want an O guy. Nagy, to me, seems Pace-like.

        • DaBearsBlog

          I don’t can see any way Philly lets him leave for OC gig.

          • It’s my understanding that a team can only block a lateral move.

            So if the Bears want to make him OC, that would be a promotion from QB coach (and a step up for Flip to try to become HC).

            We can always throw in some B.S. title like “assistant HC” to seal the deal.

            I also don’t discount the possibility of Pace hiring Flip out right as HC.

            It would be ballsy, but so was moving up for Trubisky.

          • DaBearsBlog

            It’s not. There are only two levels of coaches now: assistants and head coaches. Philly blocked Flip last year from becoming an OC.

  • Speaking of ex-Bears, anyone notice that both Alshon and Conte, perennial hamstring/shoulder INJs waiting to happen, are now iron-men?

    hmmmm

    • Scharfinator

      Only one year for Alshon, but Conte is an interesting point.

    • willbest

      It speaks volumes about how crucial Alshon was to Chicago that you think his hamstring was perennial problem. He played in every game he was allowed to in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

      • willbest

        Really if you tack on this year you now have him healthy in 4 of 6 years. And while you can’t excuse his rookie season, you can at least discount it somewhat as him having to acclimate himself to NFL football.

    • SC Dave

      I’ve been posting for three years that I suspect the Bears S&C and medical staffs are incompetent.

  • Jokey

    Nice post, Emily, thanks for taking the time! And the picture is classic, can’t wait to see what the next column’s will be.

  • willbest

    I pulled the trigger and will attend the Browns game. Getting the tickets at 70% off face value was too enticing to pass up, and one of my kids have been bugging me to go to a Bears game. I suspect we are going to file this under “be careful what you ask for” in the life lessons drawer.

    • evantonio

      i’ve got two nosebleed tickets going unused if you want to torture treat a couple of others. free of charge!

      • If I wasn’t flying to California on Saturday to be with family for Christmas I would 100% take you up on that.

        • evantonio

          With the game on Sunday, you can totally go Cali > Chi > Cali in time for christmas. Perfect!

    • CanadaBear

      Good on ya! Have a great time and bring home a winner!

  • willbest

    Pro-bowl player winners are announced tonight. I figure Howard and Fuller’s chances are somewhere around 20% with Hicks being closer to 67%.

  • ButtonShoes

    “Since we’re trying to stay positive in Bears fandom”

    You can stay positive all you want. Stick your head in the sand and make up reasons to feel good about this tire fire of a team. I’ll stick to reality, thank you very much.

    Oh, and not a single Pro Bowl selection for the Bears. I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

    Well not that shocked. /futurama

  • Big Mike

    pitiful. Not over 500 once.

  • Debra

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  • I would love to see the bears return back to the old nasty hard hitting teams of the mid 80’s.

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