Who knows what Thanksgiving traditions are in Matt Nagy’s house? But it’s a good bet that once the Chicago Bears coach returned home from Detroit on Thursday evening, he found his way to a supply of liquor and poured himself a drink. extra tight.
What’s the week, isn’t it? And the commotion may just begin.
After suffering a brutal home loss to the Bears to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and then following three days of uproar centered around the security of the coach’s job and the locker room hold, Bears players held the grieving Lions 16-14 behind. Enough to leave gathered again on Thursday. at Ford Field.
The victory in itself was not impressive. This earns Miles, in fact, only the bear “at least you’re not a lion” medal.
But at the very least, it ended the team’s 45-day stretch without a win, breaking a five-game losing streak and giving Negi some much-needed respite as he went into a long weekend.
“It’s about the team,” Nagy said during the 10-minute postgame news conference. “Those are the people who are trying to fight like hell every day to get a win.”
For those looking for significance in Thursday’s late run, perhaps it lies in the stamina and mental fortitude of the 44 Bears players that contributed. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw 317 yards, 123 of them to debutant receiver Darnell Mooney. Robert Quinn provided a sack and provided a well-timed punchout to Travis Gipson for the defense’s only takeaway in the first half.
Kicker Cairo Santos finished the afternoon with a 28-yard field goal as time ran out, capping an 18-play, game-winning drive that took the final 8 minutes, 30 seconds off the clock.
“There’s definitely some relief,” Dalton said.
With a deep appreciation for one another, Bears players vowed to stick together and lock in as much as they could.
“We love each other,” Santos said. “We root for each other. We don’t want anyone to fail.”
Added Negi: “That locker room is a joy, and they’re allowed to. They’re going to give a great thank you because they earned it. And they fought like hell.”
As for his current understanding of his job situation?
“My understanding is what it is from the time I signed to coach this (team),” Negi said. “It’s to win as many games as I possibly can and do it the right way.”
Still, with his team at 4-7 with nowhere else to go, Negi wasn’t going to run away from the chaos of his busy week.
During what a league source described as a tense Tuesday afternoon meeting between Nagy, general manager Ryan Pace, chairman George McCaskey and team president and CEO Ted Phillips, Nagy said his superiors assured him of a Patch.com report. which indicated that his firing was certain was incorrect this week.
“(He told me) that this was not a true report,” Negi said. “It was false.”
Pace said in his customary pregame interview on the WBBM-AM780 that when he first read it he misread the report.
“Honestly,” said Paes, “my first thought was, ‘Hey, that’s a false report.’ But I think we’ve done a good job of focusing on what’s happening inside our building and stopping that outside movement.
However, commotion outside had already infiltrated the building on Tuesday as Negi, three coordinators and three players were left asking questions about the viral report, where everything stood.
Later, after Negi canceled the Tuesday afternoon meetings, the players found themselves confused in their attempts to reconcile reality from rumor.
“I’m not going to lie,” said tight end Cole Kemet, “it’s tough. You don’t know what’s true, what’s not.”
It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon that McCaskey addressed the team in an effort to provide some clarity and peace of mind.
Asked directly if he wanted his bosses to put out Tuesday’s fire much sooner and in a more direct way to limit the confusion within the building and slow the external embarrassment, Nagy shook his head. .
“I don’t want anything,” he said. “All I know is that I went there that day trying to focus on leading those guys in practice and doing whatever we could to win this game (Thursday). ”
However, that claim did not account for why Negi canceled the team meetings on Tuesday after the second walkthrough. Several players left the facility that evening with more questions than answers. Even Negi accepted this whole saga for a more challenging week.
“Again, it’s a distraction you have to deal with,” he said, “but if you make it too much of a distraction, it can affect you. And it didn’t. , If I couldn’t handle it, I would never have signed up to take this job.”
Still, it would be a huge stretch to characterize Thursday’s win as invigorating or encouraging. It is quite possible that the Bears could not beat any of the other 30 NFL teams with their performance.
The running game was never actually running. Dalton threw a costly interception in the end zone in the first half. And Santos badly smashed a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the Bears a two-score lead.
Seven minutes later they were trailing 14-13.
But lions are still lions. He made 14 penalties with the Bears conceding 10 of them for 67 yards. Included in that log of disqualification were six holding fouls, two false starts by center Evan Brown, a 12-man-on-the-field violation during an extra-point effort and, yes, a defensive delay-within-one. Game Violation :54 Remaining When Coach Dan Campbell attempted to call a timeout consecutively without playing a play.
Campbell explained that the Lions were in a coverage confusion and would have been beaten for a touchdown if he had not called a second timeout. It turned third and -9 for the Bears in third and -4 that he converted to Damier Bird with a 7-yard Dalton pass. And with the Lions running out of timeout, the Bears were able to run the clock for 1 second before letting Santos loose.
After providing an early 7-0 lead after a 39-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Josh Reynolds, the Lions covered only 5.4 yards per attempt on their last 20 passes. On two occasions – one in each half – the Lions scored three consecutive penalties and found themselves facing third and 32.
Inside a home stadium with many empty seats, Campbell’s team was kicked off the field on almost every right.
Amazingly, the Bear still needed a last-second field target from stealth. And with their next two games coming up against the top two teams in NFC—the Arizona Cardinals (9-2) and the Green Bay Packers (8-3)—there’s little evidence that Nagy’s team is on the verge of a meaningful resurgence. Is.
Instead, all signs point to major changes needed at the end of the season, if not sooner. Negi’s seat remains extremely hot. The future of Paes should be directly linked. Who knows what McCaskey and Phillips will decide at the end of the season?
There are six games left and the Bears will have to find a deep store of concentration and give a damn to stop another long spiral and more hulabaloo. His encounter with the chaos probably hasn’t ended for the year.
Thursday’s win may have offered a brief and welcome mental break. But Negi knows why the ruckus started.
“When you lose five games in a row and when you’re 3-7, you know what zone you can get into,” he said. “And that comes with work. I knew that four years ago when I took this (position), and so here we are.
“Every week is a little different. And it was definitely different.”
Negi was entitled to drink on Thursday night. What happens from here is anyone’s guess.