Bears coach Matt Nagy focused on Cardinals after chaotic weekPatrick Finleyon November 29, 2021 at 7:39 pm

Bears coach Matt Nagy speaks with officials during the Packers game earlier this year. | Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In a statement that speaks more to the ridiculous parity in the NFL than the Bears’ standing within it, Nagy’s 4-7 team is only one game behind the Vikings, who are No. 7 seed in the NFC wild-card race.

By PATRICK FINLEYAfter the most chaotic week of his career, Matt Nagy tried to relax — at least as much as any head coach can during the season. He attemptes to balance work and family time over the weekend.

“Everybody needs to have that,” he said. “But at the same time, (my wife and kids) joke because your mind never shuts down, no matter what you say or what you think.”

The compromise: Nagy tried to watch film and work on his game plan for the 9-2 Cardinals either early in the morning or late at night — or both — when he was the only one awake in the house.

“That’s when you can steal some time and not get yelled at for it,” he said with a smile.

Monday, Nagy was eager to turn the page from a week marked by questions about whether the Bears would make him the first coach they’ve ever fired in-season. Nagy got messages of support from friends this weekend — “They’ll let you know: ‘Hey, we got ya,'” he said — and focused on preparing for one of the best teams the Bears have faced all season.

And a playoff race. Seriously. Well, maybe. Kinda.

In a statement that speaks more to the ridiculous parity in the NFL than the Bears’ standing within it, Nagy’s 4-7 team is only one game behind the Vikings, who are No. 7 seed in the NFC wild-card race.

Even if they somehow get hot, the Bears — who play the Vikings twice in the season’s final month — would have to jump over half the teams in their conference to reach the postseason. Entering Monday night’s games, the Bears were one of eight NFC teams with either six or seven losses.

Nagy, to his credit, wasn’t about to start framing his team as a playoff contender.

The Bears, after all, needed a field goal at the gun — against the worst team in the sport — to stop a five-game skid. The team that awaits them Sunday, the Cardinals, are 9-2 coming off a bye. Were the playoffs to start today, they’d would get the bye as the NFC’s No. 1 seed.

“This isn’t coach talk, but literally, we need to, let’s win this game — and then let’s get on a two-game winning streak,” Nagy said. “Let’s have a little streak here. If you go out and you play a great game and you beat a great team like the Cardinals, what that can do for your confidence and your belief. And then all of that other stuff handles itself, because there are a lot of teams in that mix, and there are a lot of things we can’t control. What we can control is winning on Sunday.”

Nagy hopes the Bears cleared a hurdle by winning their first game in 46 days.

“When you break that losing streak, the mentality, it just helps you,” he said. “That’s just natural. You feel better about it, no matter how it comes.

“And so to see that, that you’re one game out, with all of those teams that are in that mix for that last spot, I don’t care who you are, if you’re a competitor, you care about that.”

It’s enough to make Nagy lament the Bears’ close losses to the Steelers and Ravens — even though the coach was quick to say every team in the league can say something similar.

“The ifs don’t matter,” Nagy said. “We didn’t win those. We lost them. And so no matter how we

lose them, no matter how we win, our record right now is 4-7, and the goal is to be 5-7.”

Sent from my iPhone

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