LAKE FOREST – Minutes after making the decision, Matt Nagy was all good with it despite the disappointing end result.
The Bears’ head coach wasn’t going to back down on his choice to kneel the ball and wind down the clock to set up a game-winning 41-yard field goal attempt for Eddy Pineiro. The risk of a turnover for the reward of a few more yards wasn’t enough for Nagy, even if the kicker missed the field goal that sent the Bears to a 17-16 defeat to the Chargers.
“There was zero thought of that. I’ll just be brutally clear: Zero thought of throwing the football, zero thought of running the football. You understand me?,” said Nagy. “That’s exactly what it was. It’s as simple as that.”
After a day to think about it, the coach didn’t back down.
“Zero reflection on saying I wish I would have done something there. I would do it again a thousand times,” said Nagy during his news conference Monday about the final sequence and the decision to take a knee.
It’s been one of the most debated topics from the Week 8 NFL action this week as the Bears lost their third-consecutive game. There was actually a similar scenario in the league in Indianapolis, which Nagy pointed out in his news conference on Monday.
The Colts trailed the Broncos by one with just over a minute-and-a-half left at the Denver 34-yard line. Instead of a throw, the Colts called a roll out along with a pair of runs to set up a 51-yard field goal try for Adam Vinatieri. Despite missing a field goal earlier in the game, the kicker hit, and the Colts won it by two. The Bears weren’t so lucky, yet Nagy knows how close his decision came to being a non-factor in what would have been a victory.
“We were so close to getting that win regardless of what goes on, regardless of how you win or how you lose. You win yesterday, you get that win, and the stuff we’re talking about is a lot easier to talk about,” said Nagy. “I think we’re talking a lot more about the growth of the offense and less about what to do on that other play at the end of the game.
“That became a big deal because we lost the game.”
There’s truth to that, but what about the impression the play sends? Fearing a fumble or a penalty can outwardly appear to not have faith in the offense, and the fourth quarter gave Nagy some pause. Mitchell Trubisky had an interception and a fumble, the latter of which led to the go-ahead Los Angeles touchdown, yet Nagy denied that being on his mind when he had the quarterback take a knee.
“It’s not concern about ‘anything can go wrong,’ that’s not what this is. It’s not about trust, it’s about playing smart. It’s a 40-yard field goal. Think about that, OK. That takes nothing away from Pineiro,” said Nagy. “We love Eddy. We’ve got all the faith in the world in him. We know he’s going to bounce back. As anybody on the team. It’s the NFL. It happens. How do you respond to it, right? How do you respond to it.
“To me, I’m very, very comfortable knowing what I did. I’ve very, very comfortable knowing if I’m in that exact situation again, at that same yard line, I’m gonna do that same thing.”
Don’t expect Nagy to back down from that statement anytime soon.