(670 The Score) Bears coach Matt Nagy was so close.
He was, for a good bit of time there, tactfully working his way through an explanation for why his football team lost by 35 points to the Buccaneers on Sunday. There was a rookie quarterback, constant pressure – Tampa Bay blitzes as much as any team in football – and a makeshift offensive line, etc. The answers were logical and generally matched up with what everyone spent three hours watching, which isn't always the given people think it would be. And then, literally on the last question of Nagy's press conference, he was asked about the team’s mentality in the aftermath of a 38-3 loss.
“I will say the last couple days with our team, we’ve become really close,” Nagy said. “For us to become as close as we have the last 24-48 hours, I just trust and believe in them. And they’ve done it before. We’re 3-4 right now. Again, we can’t have this affect us and make it be a two or three or four, feel like that much of a loss.”
“We lost, and we’ve got to learn from it. Our guys have rebounded before in the past, and I just know from our discussion in there after the game and where we’re at right now as fighters and people and teammates, it’s not fun. This is not fun. But at the same point in time, we all go through some adversity to get us where we want to go in the end. That’s why I feel that way.”
That may not end up in the pantheon of all-time Nagyisms, but proudly suggesting that the team formed an especially tight bond in the leadup to a 35-point loss that featured as many Buccaneers strip-sacks as it did Bears total points isn't the soundbite Nagy thinks it is. The line has always been that while he may not be the offensive guru Chicago was promised, Nagy is a Leader of Men and now, without the heavy burden of play-calling, free to better utilize his other strengths as a football coach. On Sunday, Chicago was penalized four times, and as you’ve surely heard by now, Tampa Bay was only called for one. Having one of your players get ejected for punching an opponent is never a great look, and it feels like that probably shouldn’t be something that’s happening three times in the span of a year?
“Those guys know that we can't do that,” Nagy said of Bears defensive lineman Bilal Nichols getting ejected for throwing a punch into the facemask of Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen. “We've discussed a similar situation like last year with a player that they had with a player who was out there today. You know, it was loud and clear. But our guys understand, they know that every action has a reaction. What we need to do is continue to keep emphasizing it like we are, and guys gotta follow up by not falling into that trap.”
The Bears also kicked a field goal while down three scores in the second quarter and punted on the Buccaneers' side of the field down five scores in the fourth quarter – which wasn't as much surprising as it was disappointing. Cairo Santos’ streak is great, but, you know. Nagy was honest when admitting that this was arguably the worst loss of his career, but even that ended with something about how it’s important to “make this count as one loss and not four losses.”
And lastly, there was the second miscommunication on free plays in as many weeks for the Bears, which once again ended with Fields throwing an unsightly interception. After the game, Fields explained that he called for a quick snap because someone in his headset told him the Buccaneers had 12 players on the field. The receivers were caught off guard, and as Fields said after the game, “It just went bad from there.” It summed up the Bears' day pretty nicely.
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.