Matt Nagy helped make football fun again in Chicago and created a buzz in the city as the Bears rolled to the NFC North championship in his first season as their coach.
Two years later, the team is reeling. And the heat on Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace is intensifying.
The Bears added more fuel on Sunday, blowing a 10-point lead against Detroit in the closing minutes and falling 34-30 in their sixth straight loss.
Nagy didn't want to discuss his future during his postgame session with the media. And on Monday he said he hasn't talked about it with chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.
“We haven’t had any of those discussions,” Nagy said. “Again, for me and I said it to y’all last night: My job is to make sure that I’m taking care of these players and this team. And then anything else, when that time comes, we have those discussions.”
Does he think he still has management's support?
“Yeah I do,” Nagy said. “And I think, again, just knowing the type of team and players and person that I am and that we are, and the building that we have with Ryan and with our players, we totally understand where things are at and the frustration, understanding it. But I think that’s where just communicating as to where we’re at, what we have in front of us and how we need to finish. That’s the only thing that we can do. And that’s exactly what our job is to do, and that’s why we’re here right now is to do that. So we need to do it.”
Nagy was hired off Andy Reid's staff in Kansas City to help Mitchell Trubisky develop into a top quarterback and boost a stagnant offense. Despite a promising start, neither has happened.
Nagy has a 25-19 record, mainly because of a defense that has excelled in recent years. But that group hasn't been as effective lately.
The Bears (5-7) are tied with Detroit for last place in the NFC North. They're on their worst skid since the 2002 team matched a franchise record by dropping eight in a row, but they really haven't been the same since 2018, when they won the NFC North at 12-4.
They missed the playoffs at 8-8 last year. And what they hoped would be a bounce-back season has turned into a nightmare.
The loss to the Lions was the ultimate gut punch. Two late touchdowns by Detroit, with a strip-sack of Trubisky deep in Bears territory in between, sent Chicago to yet another loss.
It came on the heels of a blowout at Green Bay that prompted Nagy to call out his team, particularly the defense. Chicago's next three opponents — Houston, Minnesota and Jacksonville — currently have non-winning records. The Bears then finish against the Packers, who might rest their starters depending on playoff seeding scenarios.
The run game. The Bears ran for 140 yards after gaining 121 against Green Bay. They went seven straight games without reaching triple digits prior to that. David Montgomery followed up a season-high 103-yard performance by carrying 17 times for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The defense. A top-10 unit for most of the season, the Bears have been vulnerable the past few weeks. They got lit up for 460 yards by Detroit, with Matthew Stafford throwing for 402. A week earlier, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers threw for four TDs, the most allowed by the Bears since he passed for four scores against them at Lambeau Field in 2017.
TE Cole Kmet. The second-round draft pick from Notre Dame was targeted a career-high seven times, with a personal-best five receptions. He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to stretch Chicago's lead to 30-20.
Trubisky. The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2017, he is wasting a chance to showcase himself with Nick Foles sidelined by a hip and glute injury the past two games. He played turnover-free ball against Detroit until the end after giving it away three times the previous week. But with the game on the line against the Lions, he committed a crucial fumble when Romeo Okwara reached in to jar the ball loose on the strip-sack.
The Bears got through the game with no apparent injuries to key players, though tight end J.P. Holtz hurt his shoulder.
4 — Consecutive games without a sack for linebacker Khalil Mack, though he did have one wiped out by a penalty against Chicago DB Buster Skrine. Mack had 6 1/2 through the first eight weeks.
The Bears will try again to stop the slide when they host Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans on Sunday.
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