Lions special teams thrived in 2021 season rankings

Lions special teams thrived in 2021 season rankings from Sports Illustrated’s Rick Gosselin

The Detroit Lions switched out two long-time special teams fixtures for the 2021 season. Based on the results, the team didn’t suffer much in the move to replace Matt Prater and Don Muhlbach.

The Lions remained in the top 10 of the special teams unit rankings from Sports Illustrated’s Rick Gosselin in his annual compilation of the top groups. Punter Jack Fox was joined by new long snapper Scott Daly and (eventually) rookie kicker Riley Patterson as real assets for the Lions’ special teams.

Detroit finished seventh in the rankings, well behind the top-rated Baltimore Ravens but comfortably ahead of all teams outside the top 10. Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp led a unit that finished second overall in punting and third in opposing starting field position.

Gosselin notes one tidbit that helped the Lions in the rankings,

Only four teams did not suffer any negative plays on special teams – no blocked kicks, turnovers or return touchdowns: Detroit, the New York Giants, Seattle and Tampa Bay.

As we all witnessed in Green Bay’s divisional round loss to the 49ers, negative special teams plays can be catastrophic for a team. Detroit’s return game wasn’t great, but the Lions didn’t give the ball away.

Bears’ statistical leaders following 2021 season

Here are the Bears’ statistical leaders at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

The Chicago Bears finished the 2021 season with a 6-11 record, their first losing record in the last four years. It was a disappointing season that ultimately resulted in the firing of both head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.

The offense was at its worst in Nagy’s fourth year as head coach, even with quarterback Justin Fields, whose rookie season was rough. But the defense was a pleasant surprise in the second half of the season, where guys like linebacker Roquan Smith and outside linebacker Robert Quinn had some impressive outings, which garnered them second-team All-Pro honors.

Here are the Bears’ statistical leaders at the conclusion of the 2021 season:

Listen: Detroit Lions Podcast end-of-season wrap and early look at Senior Bowl

Recapping Week 18, what’s going on with the Lions offensive coordinator position, and an overview of the Senior Bowl

The latest episode of the Detroit Lions Podcast featuring Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon is now available for download or streaming. It’s a great conversation putting a bow on the season-ending win over the Green Bay Packers.

From the Week 18 win, the discussion also turns to the offensive coordinator situation. Chris provides some great inside info and insight on the departure of Anthony Lynn and where the Lions go next. It’s a topic the Detroit Lions Podcast has been out in front of for months, you won’t want to miss it.

We also give an overview of the Senior Bowl, where Dan Campbell and the Lions will be coaching in the first week of February. It’s a packed show!

List of head coach, GM candidates Bears have requested to interview

Here’s a running list of the head coaching and GM candidates the Bears have requested to interview.

The Chicago Bears have fired both head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, leaving the organization with two gaping holes to fill in the front office.

The Bears wasted no time starting their searches for their next head coach and GM, where they’ve submitted requests to interview some top candidates this cycle.

Chairman George McCaskey, President/CEO Ted Phillips and Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian will be conducting the searches for Chicago.

Here’s a running list of the head coaching and GM candidates the Bears have requested to interview:

Bears fans blasted George McCaskey after it’s clear nothing’s changed with organization

Bears Chairman George McCaskey met with the media following Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace’s firings. It did not not go well.

The Chicago Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on Monday, which left fans riding a high of optimism following those moves, which appeared to indicate the organization was taking things seriously.

That all changed when Chairman George McCaskey took center stage during his press conference.

There’s plenty to digest from McCaskey’s embarrassing presser, but the main takeaway is that it’s clear nothing has changed with the Bears organization. President/CEO Ted Phillips is still involved with the head coach and GM search; there’s still no head of football operations to run things; and McCaskey is unqualified to operate in the manner he is.

Substitute Nagy, Pace and Bill Polian (who is going to help spearhead the head coach and GM searches), and you’ve got 2015 all over again.

As you can imagine, Bears fans had plenty of harsh words for McCaskey, starting with how it’s clear this franchise isn’t going anywhere so long as he’s running the show.

Twitter reacts to Bears firing Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace

The Bears fired both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace, which left fans a mixture of shocked, excited and a little hopeful.

The Chicago Bears have fired both head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, the team announced, which marks the beginning of a new era in Chicago.

Nagy finished his Bears career with a 34-33 record, including both of Chicago’s playoff losses. During Pace’s seven-year tenure, the Bears went 48-67 and failed to win a playoff game in two appearances.

While Nagy’s firing was expected, Pace’s future was more up-in-the-air over the last couple of weeks. Ultimately, Nagy and Pace were each responsible for the downfall of this team. Same with Chairman George McCaskey and President/CEO Ted Phillips.

As you can imagine, Bears fans are celebrating what feels like Christmas in January as both Nagy and Pace have been let go, which could be an indication that McCaskey is taking things seriously.

Studs and duds from Bears’ collapse vs. Vikings in season finale

The Bears blew a halftime lead against the Vikings in their finale. In the midst of the disaster, there were some standout performances.

The Chicago Bears’ 2021 season finally came to an end on Sunday, and given the craziness that has taken place over the last month and a half at Halas Hall, it could not have come any sooner.

The Bears took on the Minnesota Vikings in a game that meant nothing other than the fact that it’s likely the final game for both head coaches.

It was Nagy, however, who had the upper hand early as the Bears took a 14-3 lead into halftime. But things deteriorated quickly in the second half as Mike Zimmer’s Vikings scored 28 points to win 31-17.

It was a sloppy game filled with awful decision making, protection issues, and a second half collapse that would put to rest any lingering doubt of the changes that must be made this week.

But in the midst of this disaster, some players have actually stood out for having very solid performances. Here are the studs and duds for the final time this season.

Bears’ Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace left Minnesota together, perhaps for the final time

Watch Bears HC Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace collaborate for maybe the last time.

The Chicago Bears’ 2021 season has come to a merciful end, but the drama is only just beginning.

The team is expected to make some big potential changes within the front office, most noticeably with Matt Nagy’s impending firing. But general manager Ryan Pace’s future is more uncertain, as some believe he’ll remain with the organization and others think he’s gone with Nagy.

If this is indeed the last we’ve seen of Nagy and possibly Pace, they certainly went out with a whimper as the Bears collapsed in the second half in a 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune shared a video of Nagy and Pace walking out of U.S. Bank Stadium together, perhaps for the final time. They were two of the final Bears staff members to exit the stadium.

Nagy is expected to be fired as soon as Monday morning, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bears dragged things out until holding a press conference on Tuesday.

Pace’s fate is the more intriguing question at the moment, as there’s an argument to be made for both firing and keeping him. There’s been speculation that Pace could even be promoted to head of football operations while bringing in a new GM.

But considering how Chairman George McCaskey and President/CEO Ted Phillips preached the importance of collaboration, especially with Pace and Nagy, they’d have a hard time justifying firing Nagy and then keeping Pace, who’s only had one winning season in seven years.

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Bears fans showed Matt Nagy the door following second-half collapse vs. Vikings

Bears fans are officially done with the Matt Nagy era.

Matt Nagy’s final game as head coach of the Chicago Bears — a 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings — was a fitting tribute to everything that’s gone right and wrong during his four-year tenure.

The Bears benefited from strong defense and failed to take advantage on offense in the first half, carrying a 14-3 lead heading into the third quarter. But it was a completely different game in the second half as Chicago collapsed and was outscored 28-3.

Nagy made some questionable and infuriating decisions, including failing to hand the ball to running back David Montgomery on fourth-and-1 on three separate occasions. It was a trademark of the things Bears fans have come to know well about Nagy: the offense struggled, the quarterback especially, and he ignored the run game when it mattered.

As everything collapsed around the end of Chicago’s finale against Minnesota, Bears fans were more than ready to show Nagy the door and move forward with a new head coach, yet to be determined.

Vikings 31, Bears 17: Everything we know about Matt Nagy’s final game

In the final game of the 2021 season, the Chicago Bears lost 31-17 to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Chicago Bears suffered a brutal 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in their season finale, where they officially finish the season 6-11. After taking a 14-3 lead into halftime, things fell apart in the second half, which was a fitting way to end the Matt Nagy era.

With this most likely being Nagy’s final game as Chicago’s head coach, fans were impressed with how the first half went. But the second-half collapse, giving up 28 unanswered points, was surprising and it also wasn’t.

Let’s take a look at everything we know about Chicago’s Week 18 loss.