DETROIT — Matt Nagy could let out a sigh of relief on Thanksgiving.
With all the scrutiny the Chicago Bears coach faced regarding his job status over the past week, the 16-14 victory over the Lions made him extremely thankful for a much-needed celebration as they snapped a five-game losing skid.
“When there’s distractions, which is in every sport, in all facets of life — there’s always going to be distractions,” Nagy said. “It’s how you handle them. And again, we got the win today, and it could’ve went a lot of different ways. But the reason why we got the win is because of how they handled the distractions, you know? That’s where to me, when you’re in this business and you lead people, it’s my job to make sure of honest and open communication. That’s where, for me, I just can’t tell you how much this win means today to me because of what they did.”
Controversy surrounded the Bears this week after Patch.com reported on Tuesday that the Bears had already informed Nagy that Thanksgiving’s game against the Lions would be his last, regardless of the outcome. Nagy firmly denied that report, calling it “false,” and Bears team chairman George McCaskey addressed players Wednesday, reinforcing to them that Nagy would not be fired after the game.
Although players wouldn’t go into detail about the meeting, quarterback Andy Dalton said the outside noise didn’t come within the team as it was able to close out the win with a last-second 28-yard field goal by kicker Cairo Santos.
The Bears drove the ball 18 plays over the final 8:30 of the game before kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired for their first win since Week 5.
“I think that, like I said, there’s a lot that has gone on,” said Dalton, who became the first Bears QB with a 300-yard passing game since Nick Foles did it in Week 9 of the 2020 season. “The most important thing is the guys in the locker room staying together throughout it all.
“Regardless of what’s being reported, regardless of what’s going on in the outside and stuff, there’s still a lot of season left. For us, the focus is on winning games. I think that’s the biggest thing for us is just doing everything we can to put our best foot forward and to make the most of the next one, and that was today, and we did that.”
Now that the Bears have a win, Nagy is looking to go about his business to keep this team locked in.
Nagy said he hasn’t allowed the chatter about his job status to hurt his ability to coach the team and that it hasn’t affected him on a personal level because of his support system in place. He hopes to continue that with everything now cleared up.
“Again, for me, there is only my understanding, which is what it’s been since the day I signed up to be this coach, is to win as many games as I can possibly win, and do it the right way,” Nagy said of his understanding of his job security moving forward. “When you lose five games in a row, you understand. When you’re 3-7, you know what territory it can get to. You know what I mean? That comes with the job. I knew that four years ago when I took this, and so here we are. Every week is a little bit different.
“This one was definitely different. This is one of those weeks where you use it moving forward. You don’t make any predictions, but what you do is when you go home on that plane tonight and everyone’s having a good time because they’re able to celebrate and have fun watching the tape and enjoy their Thanksgiving and get back to being healthy and understand what games are next, but the only game that matters is Arizona coming up. That’s it. So again, for me, the only thing I can say to those players is that I appreciate them and we have a hell of a group of guys, players and coaches, and they showed it today by getting a win.”