Nagy, Bears Frustrated By 'Unacceptable' Performance

The Bears had just 254 yards of offense in a 10-3 loss to the Packers.

Chris Emma
September 06, 2019 - 12:35 am
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Hours before kickoff of this anticipated season, second-year Bears coach Matt Nagy arrived at Soldier Field on Thursday wearing a fedora in salute to franchise founder George Halas. On his team's first play from scrimmage, the offense shifted into a T-formation.

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As Nagy hoped to pay homage to the Bears' century of history, his team did just that -- with a dominant defense, a bad offense, poor quarterback play and a loss to the Packers, this one by a score of 10-3.

"Obviously unacceptable," Nagy said. "It starts with me. I told (the team), 'This is not who we are.' I was proud of our defense. I thought they played their ass off tonight. Offensively, not good enough.

"(Bears fans) should be upset -- because that’s not who we are."

Related: Bernstein: Unprepared Bears offense ruins the party

The Bears were given the right to host the NFL's prominent kickoff to the regular season, something typically reserved for the defending Super Bowl champions. It was a privilege offered in celebration of the franchise's centennial season, which falls in line with the league's 100th year. 

Soldier Field was buzzing like few times before as kicker Eddy Pineiro prepared to boot the ball away and start the season. By the fourth quarter -- even with the Bears down one score -- the energy reflected what little hope remained in the team's offense. Nagy called scoring three points "ridiculous."

"We were uncharacteristic of who we usually are as an offense," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said.

The Bears finished with 254 yards of offense. Trubisky was 26-of-45 for 228 yards and one interception -- a pass in the corner of the end zone late in the fourth quarter that was snatched by former Bears safety Adrian Amos, whom the Packers signed to a four-year deal in offseason. 

In a familiar theme from last season, the Bears failed to establish their running game. David Montgomery rushed six times for 18 yards, Mike Davis had five carries for 19 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson ran once for a loss of two yards. 

A third-round pick for whom the Bears traded up, Montgomery rushed only once in the second half. 

Nagy pointed to the game flow as why the Bears couldn't get a ground game moving -- and why the offense as a whole faltered.

"It just seemed a little scattered tonight with all our personnels," Trubisky said. "Just trying to find a rhythm and trying to find our identity on offense.

"When this offense is at its best, it's a balanced attack with the run game and the pass game."

Packers cornerback Tramon Williams put it pretty honestly when assessing his team's approach to stopping the Bears' offense.

"We wanted to make Mitch play quarterback," Williams told reporters in the Packers' locker room. "We knew they had a lot of weapons. We knew they were dangerous. We knew all of those things. We knew if we could make Mitch play quarterback, we would have a chance. Plus we got some new toys up front. They did their thing today."

From the west sideline, Nagy maintained confidence that his offense would come through. He kept looking at the end zone scoreboards and seeing the Bears were down only 7-3 from early in the second quarter until well into the fourth.

The Bears' defense contained Packers future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished 18-of-30 for 203 yards. The lone touchdown of the game came as Rodgers picked on Bears backup safety Deon Bush on 47-yard completion to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling after Bush stepped in for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on that lone series. Rodgers then connected on an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham in the second quarter. After the game, Nagy wasn't sure why Bush was in defensively.

But the Bears remained in the game all the way thanks to their defensive effort. They sacked Rodgers five times and forced the Packers into a three-and-out five times. Packers punter JK Scott punted nine times, one more than Bears punter Pat O'Donnell. 

Each time the Bears sent the ball back, the frustration grew inside Soldier Field. Among the lowest moments of the night was when the Bears faced first-and-40 after three consecutive 10-yard penalties. They would ultimately punt on fourth-and-31.

"For our fans, they have every right to boo — every right to boo," Nagy said. 

The Bears entered this season considered the favorites in the NFC North and as a team believed by many to be a Super Bowl contender. But the key in those hopes was for Trubisky and the offense to ascend to another level to complement the defense, which was the best in the NFL in 2018.

Instead on opening night, in familiar fashion, like many of these past 99 seasons, the Bears were carried by their defense while their offense let them down.

"I'm in zero panic mode," Nagy said. "I'm in a frustration mode, because I just feel like I know we're better than that."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.