NASHVILLE – It was an ominous moment in what has been a difficult week and recent stretch for the Bears’ head coach.
After his team lost to the Titans 24-17 in a game where the final score wasn’t exactly indicative of the way the game played out, Matt Nagy was talking to the media over Zoom for his news conference.
On his second question, one in which he was asked the need to “right the ship” quickly after the team’s three-game losing streak, something unusual happened.
The lights in the opposing media room at Nissan Stadium went out for a bit as Nagy was answering the question. It was an unusual moment that lasted for a bit, but the coach continued on with his news conference, and eventually, the lights came back on.
During a win, this might have been a light-hearted moment, but in the current run for the Bears, it’s more foreboding when it comes to this 2020 team. Another forgettable day that’s continues to erase the team’s 5-1 start could point to the latter being a possibility.
Just like it was at this time last year, when the Bears were in the depths of a four-game losing streak, the Bears’ offense looks broken. Having a decimated offensive line didn’t help – with injuries and COVID-19 taking out four of the five opening day starters – but facing a struggling Titans’ pass rush figured to help.
But it didn’t.
Once again, the Bears couldn’t get anything going early, gaining just 105 yards in the first half. Their last drive of the second quarter and the first of their third were derailed by a pair of penalties on each drive. Whatever was tried by Nagy to get the unit going didn’t work until late in the game, where two long drives in the fourth quarter flipped a 24-3 score to 24-17.
The offense, frankly, is uninteresting and even boring at times, and more importantly ineffective. Allen Robinson is one of the best receivers in the NFL, making a few strong catches on Sunday, but even he is struggling to grasp how to fix the offense.
“I think everyone is frustrated, myself included,” said Robinson. “When I look back at games today, I think that, for me, whenever I have frustration on the sidelines and things like that it’s typically with myself because I’m always trying to figure out ‘How can I do more? How can I do more?'”
It’s a shame because it’s wasting Robinson in his prime and a defense that’s still got plenty to offer. Derrick Henry was contained by the unit all game and was responsible for the 17 points allowed during the afternoon. That should be enough to win, but with this offense, it’s not, and it could mean the lights are going out on this season.
An steadily improving Vikings comes to town for a Monday night game with the Packers waiting after the bye. Two-straight losses in those contests and the Bears will find themselves under .500 for the first time this season, and force everyone in the organization to make some tough calls.
Talking about job status with seven games left and a record above .500 might seem premature, but with little progress on offense from a coach that was supposed to change that could signal major changes this winter. That goes for Ryan Pace, too, who has struggled to put the right pieces in place to get that offense going.
Time remains to right things, as Nagy said when the lights went out on Sunday.
“We do gotta right the ship and we’ve just got to do it by getting one win. We’ve got to be able to, whatever that is, by any measures, find a way to do it. I think our guys will do that,”said Nagy. “I think that they understand where we’re at. Again, unfortunately last year we were in this mode and we lost four in a row, and it’s hard. It is hard.
“But we as leaders got to — again, to be 5-4 when you’re sitting 5-1, to be 5-4, it hurts. But now we’ve got to make sure that whatever those issues are we just at some point in time get this thing back on track, and that’s kind of my job as a head coach to do that, and trust me, I’m going to look at everything.”
He’ll be doing so while trying to keep the light from going out on the 2020 season for the Bears or perhaps this era of the franchise.