Coach Matt Nagy showed the Bears a PowerPoint presentation Thursday morning. At the center of it were two numbers: 19 and 31.
The Washington Nationals started their season 19-31 — but then went 74-38 the rest of the regular season, made the playoffs as a wild-card team and, on Wednesday night, won Game 7 of the World Series.
Nagy aired television interviews with manager Davey Martinez and some of the Nationals’ leaders. He told his team the Nationals trailed the Astros in five games in the World Series — including a 2-0 deficit Wednesday.
“How ironic, in our situation?” Nagy said. “How amazing is that — that people that stick together, people that get tighter through adversity, people that never quit, people that say, ‘So what, now what’ — but then they do it. . . . How do you not show that to your guys and let them pull from that?”
The Bears didn’t win a single game in October. Football Outsiders projects they have a 4.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Still, Nagy wants his players to believe that hope is not lost.
The Bears have proven in recent weeks, though, that talk is cheap. They had a bye week to collect themselves, then a team meeting to get on the same page. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky has analyzed his game film, but also watched the TV broadcast to appraise his own body language.
Nagy has been both blunt after games and engaged during the week. The offense and defense have vowed not to fight with each other over uneven performances. In that sense, perhaps the way the Bears lost to the Chargers on Sunday — with Eddy Pineiro missing a 41-yard field goal on the last play of the game — saved them one more team meeting. Typically, every team can agree on blaming the kicker, even if he’s their own.
All this talking hasn’t accomplished much. The Eagles loom Sunday.
“The message I got from it is: ‘win,’ ” safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said. “I don’t think Coach needs to go up there and see anything else but, ‘Win.’
“Each one of these games is a playoff game for us from here on out . . . Nobody’s panicking, but the writing’s on the wall. We need to win a ballgame. That’s all that matters.”
Tight end Trey Burton appreciated hearing about the Nationals’ rally, but said the message wasn’t unusual.
“I don’t think it was do-or-die,” he said. “I think it helps.”
Such presentations aren’t new for Nagy. He showed clips of Tiger Woods winning the Masters and Virginia winning the NCAA Tournament during the Bears’ offseason program. Woods had been sidelined for reasons both personal and physical, while Virginia, only a year earlier, suffered the greatest upset in tournament history.
His lesson then was the same as it is now: champions can have low points.
The Bears are certainly at one now.
“You understand that it gets harder and harder the more you lose,” Nagy said. “We want to do everything we can to go 1-0 and get that win. When that happens, people are a little more forgiving with some of the stuff that goes on.
“You have to completely understand that, accept it and know the frustrations. The amount of frustrations that everybody has outside, we have it too — just as much, if not more. It comes with the territory.”