A bad night and bad season for the Bears got worse Monday night in the final minute of their 19-13 loss to the Vikings.
In their last, desperate push to win the game, they lost starting quarterback Nick Foles to an injury so serious he had to be carted off the field to the locker room. Foles landed hard on his throwing shoulder, and trainers checked his right leg as well.
Coach Matt Nagy was still waiting on word from doctors shortly after the game but believed it was a leg or hip injury.
Foles threw from a quickly collapsing pocket as Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo got to him and threw him to the ground. The ball fluttered out for an incomplete pass, and Foles stayed down for several minutes before being helped to the cart.
“When I saw the amount of pain he was in on the ground . . . I hope he’s OK, but he was in a lot of pain,” Nagy said. “He’s a tough dude, but he was in a lot of pain.”
The Bears sent in third-stringer Tyler Bray, who was promoted from their practice squad, for the final five snaps.
Foles’ injury was the latest blow to the Bears in a season that has fallen apart.
This defeat was their fourth in a row, and Foles spent the night frantically trying to avoid hits like the one that knocked him out of the game. The Vikings registered 11 quarterback hits and two sacks as Foles completed 15 of 26 passes for 106 yards and an interception for a 51.1 passer rating.
“The protection and where we’re at with getting the ball out . . . that’s something that we’ve once again got to look at,” Nagy said. “Where are we at right now and how are we doing this?”
Where are they? In a very dangerous place. Playing quarterback for the Bears is extremely hazardous, as Foles has seen the last two months.
His injury could prompt Nagy to go back to Mitch Trubisky, who opened the season as the starter and was benched for Foles in Week 3. The Bears are off this week before visiting the Packers on Nov. 29.
It’s not that simple, though. Trubisky has been out since hurting his throwing shoulder on his first play as a wildcat quarterback two weeks ago. Nagy was optimistic he’d be back relatively quickly, but the injury was severe enough that Trubisky initially thought he might need surgery.
“I don’t know yet about Mitch,” Nagy said. “I think there’s a possibility, but I don’t know that for sure. It’s going to be day-by-day.”
The Bears’ only other quarterback is recent practice squad addition Kyle Sloter, who has never played in an NFL game.
Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in 2017, completed 59.3% of his passes, averaged 140 yards passing and had six touchdowns against three interceptions before Nagy yanked him in the third quarter while trailing the Falcons 26-10.
Foles was incredible in that game, leading the Bears to a comeback with three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, but he fell flat after that. In his first six starts, he completed 66.8% of his passes, averaged 260 yards and had seven touchdowns against six interceptions. His 83.8 passer rating going into Monday was below the 87.4 Trubisky had at the time of his benching.
The Bears traded a fourth-round pick to get Foles, 31, from the Jaguars in the recent offseason and committed to what is essentially a three-year, $24 million fully guaranteed contract. Unless he opts out, he will be on their roster through 2022.
Foles has suffered major injuries multiple times in his nine-year career and missed most of last season with a broken collarbone. He has never started all 16 games.
While Nagy was uncertain of the specifics or the severity of Foles’ injury, it was clear by the way he and Foles’ teammates talked about it that there is tremendous concern.
“It’s bad, man,” running back Cordarrelle Patterson said. “You never want to see anybody go down like that. It hurts. It’s heart-breaking. I just wish the best for him and his family.”