The Chicago Bears kept their playoff hopes alive with Thursday night's 31-24 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but might have suffered a massive loss in the process.
Linebacker Roquan Smith exited early with a pectoral injury, and the rest of his season could be in jeopardy.
A source tells NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that Smith is feared to have suffered a torn pec. If the MRI confirms the severity of the injury, Smith will be out the remainder of the 2019 season, Rapoport added.
"We'll get more details in the next couple of days, but] it doesn't look real good for him," [Bears coach Matt Nagy said after the game, via ESPN.
Smith, coming off his best game of the season, has been a wrecking ball in the middle of a Chicago defense that is already without fellow inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, who has been absent due to a nasty elbow injury. Replacing one rangy inside linebacker is tough. Replacing two is darn near unheard of.
Smith has been a tackling machine of late, gobbling up double-digits in four of the previous five games before last night, including a 16-tackle, two-sack performance on Thanksgiving.
"It could be a big loss," Nagy said. "The way that Roquan has been playing the last couple of weeks, he's been flying around and making plays. You just love that confidence that he's bringing to the defense.
"The depth that the front office] has created on their roster allows guys like [Kevin Pierre-Louis to step up and make plays. You feel bad for Roquan, but we know we have guys that can fill in. It's a good thing to have that depth."
Trevathan has been admirably replaced by Nick Kwiatkoski, who has been a fireball when on the field this season. The Bears will need similar play from Smith's stand-in, Kevin Pierre-Louis, down the stretch if Chicago is to run the gauntlet to end the season with a playoff berth.