Arkush: Win over the Lions doesn't mean we rethink Bears' future with Nagy

  • Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Detroit.

    Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021, in Detroit. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/25/2021 5:11 PM

What did we learn from the Bears' 16-14 win over the Detroit Lions?

As to the question of whether or not Matt Nagy has lost his locker room and players' trust, cross that one off the list.

 

He clearly hasn't.

Much like the bogus report that started two of the ugliest days in Bears history Tuesday, there was never any evidence or even hint it was true, in spite of how hard some searched for it. Now you've heard from them and seen it on the field.

Does that mean we now have to rethink the future and Nagy? Did his team do enough in Detroit to begin a miracle comeback that could save his job?

No.

Sadly no one wants to talk about a man losing his job and being dragged even deeper through the mud on Thanksgiving, but it's my job to be honest and objective.

More than anything, Nagy, coaches, players and even ownership just needed a win -- any kind of a win.

Hopefully it will make all of their Thanksgiving feasts and holiday weekends a rewarding and relaxing finish to the week from hell.

But the truth is their performance almost certainly wouldn't have earned a win over any other team in the league but the Lions, and they likely would have suffered the ultimate insult -- losing this one -- if Detroit hadn't insisted on self-destructing repeatedly.

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It is time for change when your team needs that much help to beat the worst team in recent memory.

Not immediately -- it would be inhumane after all Nagy and his family have gone through in recent days to fire him after getting this job done, however he did it.

Watching him in his postgame press conference, it was hard to imagine anyone that has ever been a head coach in the league handling the inquiries with the level of professionalism, class and dignity that Nagy did.

At times, I find it hard not to pull for him.

Let him and his staff breathe, let the players settle down and move on.

But what happened on the football field in Detroit just further emphasized that this is a broken football team and a failed regime.

Yes, the 18-play, 64-yard drive that took the final 8:30 off the clock before netting Cairo Santos' game-winning 28-yard field goal was dramatic and impressive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But it only came after the Lions and head coach Dan Campbell had committed a comedy of errors with their three remaining timeouts, allowing the Bears to run out the clock.

While the Bears did outgain the Lions 378-239 with a strong performance from Andy Dalton and heroics from a defense playing not only without Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, but forced to go without Roquan Smith after he pulled a hamstring late in the second quarter, it was the Lions' 10 penalties for 67 yards that stunted their offense as much as the Bears.

For Nagy specifically, sideline gaffes in game management were absent this week, and he had a solid winning replay challenge on a Jared Goff fumble that officials missed.

But his game-ending strategy -- foregoing at least one or two cracks at the goal line for David Montgomery to guarantee running out the clock, but risking a field goal instead -- was pretty questionable, and took me all the way back to a long-ago double doink.

Because of the short week, Dalton got the start without a single rep with the first team since Week 2 of the season, making his 24-of-39, 317-yard passing day super impressive. And it couldn't have been any more clear that, forgetting anything about the future, strictly because of his veteran experience he gives the offense a better chance to win games now than Justin Fields.

If Fields is healthy, which one should start a week from Sunday against the Cardinals?

Let's save that for another day.

With all that has gone on the last three days, I can't imagine that anyone on the Bears -- or anyone of us -- could be more thankful that it ended with a win, and even more so that, at least for now, it's just over.

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