Matt Nagy gets it. He and the Bears have been preaching an explosive, dynamic, exciting offense in Chicago for nearly four years now, and there’s nothing to show for it. Instead of deep bombs and big plays, it’s been bad sacks and three-and-outs. Instead of high-scoring games, it’s been a lot of historically bad performances. So if you’re tired of hearing Nagy talk about the “whys” and talk about progress and talk, talk, talk, he understands your frustration.
“It comes down to us doing it,” Nagy said. “We have to do it and we have to perform and put the points on the board so we can win games. That's our number one focus right now is being able to understand, ok, yeah we talk about an identity and trying to do certain things and run certain plays… We need to score a lot more points and however we do that, whatever it is we have to score more points so we can win.
“We understand that for us right now, we gotta win. When you win it builds that confidence. Then really, too, it allows these guys to get back to what we had during those two games that we won against Vegas and Detroit, of really feeling good, no matter who you’re playing. You feel great going into it, and you come out with the win. So we’ve got to build to that, I guess is my answer. We’ve gotta build to it. It’s not going to happen by saying, yeah we can kinda get to it and hope it happens. No.”
Nagy sounded more urgent on Monday than he has in the past when discussing the need to start winning. That’s probably because he admitted he can sense similar feelings now, to when the Bears lost four games in a row in 2019, and six in a row in 2020.
“I think that’s what we’re all feeling right now,” Nagy said. “We feel that. And then you feel the lack of scoring. We feel that. So let’s get back to scoring. Let’s get back to playing as a team. Let’s get back to winning. And let’s do that consistently. Against any team that we play. ‘Cause they’re all good in the NFL, it doesn’t matter. They’re all good.”
After Sunday’s loss to the Bucs, Nagy emphasized that the team couldn’t let this one loss snowball, affecting them for weeks to come. Instead he reiterated the importance of getting back on track and back in the win column as soon as possible.
“If we do that, if we fight through this adversity, we fight through this tough stuff, we fight through it, then, then, then, then we can give ourselves a reason to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get better, and we’re going to do all this together.’ And then everybody’s happy. But we’ve got to get to that.”
The implication there is that Nagy recognizes they haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt. He recognizes that it’s put up or shut up time. Then, and only then can the Bears talk about seriously contending in the NFC.
The Bears have already shown they can bounce back from an embarrassing loss this season. After their game against the Browns, where the offense was only able to manage 47 net yards, they recovered with a win at home. True, that victory came against the winless Lions, but it was a victory all the same. And as Nagy mentioned, that one victory helped give them enough momentum to win on the road against the Raiders, who are in the thick of the AFC playoff conversation.
Now, the Bears will take on the 49ers, who are in the midst of a four-game losing streak of their own. It will likely be a tougher challenge than Detroit, but it’s still a very winnable game, and another opportunity for Justin Fields to display his ability to rebound from bad games.
“What Justin has proven to us over the past several weeks is that, when he has something that he can learn from, he does it,” Nagy said after the game. “And that's what's exciting for us, is knowing that. Every rep he gets and every defensive play he sees on the other side of the ball, he's gonna use that to make him better. When you go through times like this that are difficult, as a rookie, this kid here can handle it.”