Nothing has been easy for the Chicago Bears so far in 2019. Then again it never really is. The NFL is tough. If you want to win, prices must be paid. Some teams aren’t willing to do so. The Bears, to their credit, did in their wild win over the Denver Broncos. Head coach Matt Nagy knew what he was up against. Mountainous altitude. Heat in excess of 90 degrees. One of the toughest road stadiums in the league to play. A struggling quarterback in Mitch Trubisky.
Teams with far better odds couldn’t pull off a victory in those circumstances. Yet the Bears did. How did they do it? By leaning on their offensive line. It truly was the starting five’s show in this game. They rebounded in a big way from their ugly performance in the opener against Green Bay. One that saw them give up five sacks and 19 total pressures on Trubisky. It was a humbling experience.
Nagy though never stopped having faith in the group. Never was that clear than one of the key drives of the game in Denver. Late in the 3rd quarter, the Bears managed to get the ball down inside the Broncos 5-yard line. It was here the head coach went against his usual convention. Known for being pass-happy, Nagy instead chose to run the ball five out of six plays, finally punching it in for a one-yard score by David Montgomery.
Matt Nagy said the decision was made with a purpose
Nagy stated after the game that the decision wasn’t about scheme or anything the defense was doing. It was purely a gut call at the time. He wanted to send a message to his offensive line that the game was in their hands. He believed in them to go get that touchdown as Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic reported.
“(Denver) showed a front down there,” Nagy said. “They had us numbered a little bit, but to me, I’m proud of our offensive line and our running backs and our tight ends running and balling right there. That was a bit of a mindset deal that we’re not throwing this football. We’re going to run it in until we run it in. For whatever that’s worth, that effort, I’ll still have to see it on tape, but it felt good to get a touchdown, there’s no doubt about that. We’ll keep plugging away and we’ll figure out what we need to do better.”
It wasn’t easy. The Bears got it done though. Nagy’s decision seemed to have an impact. The offensive line was excellent down the final stretch of the game, especially in pass protection. Denver managed to pressure Trubisky just five times all game. This came to a head on the final play of regulation when the quarterback was given plenty of time to survey the field, step up into the pocket and deliver a 25-yard strike to Allen Robinson. This set up Eddy Pineiro for his game-winning 53-yard field goal with one second left.
Never underestimate the value of using key moments in a game to motivate your players. The potential benefits can be gigantic.