Bears notebook: Matt Nagy OK with fourth-down gambles

Despite going 0-for-4 on fourth down against the Rams, Nagy said the attempts were more a sign of confidence in the offense than a lack of faith in the defense. “We just didn’t convert them.”

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Bears tight end Cole Kmet struggles for extra yardage on a third-down reception against the Rams. It set up a fourth-and-15 play that the Bears failed to convert in a 34-14 loss at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photos

Coach Matt Nagy’s decision to try to convert four fourth-down plays against the Rams — including a fourth-and-15 from the Rams’ 30-yard line — looked like a lack of confidence in the Bears’ shaky defense. But that’s not so, Nagy said. 

“This answer won’t sound good because we were 0-for-4, but it’s the confidence I had in our offense,” Nagy said. “We knew going into it with some of those plays we had, we felt good with — and we just didn’t convert them.” 

The fourth-and-15 play particularly raised eyebrows. The Bears trailed 27-14 with 10:07 to play and could have closed to within 27-17 with a 48-yard field goal. Andy Dalton’s pass to Darnell Mooney was broken up by cornerback Robert Rochelle along the right sideline, two yards shy of the first-down marker. 

Nagy said he wanted to make it a one-score game. “After you get a field goal, it’s still 10 points,” Nagy said. “If the game wasn’t as high-scoring — 10 or 15 points by the [Rams], then maybe I would have [kicked the field goal].”

The Bears gained 322 yards, including 134 rushing. But their longest pass play was 19 yards. 

“We like where our offense is at,” Nagy said. “We felt like we grew [Sunday] a little bit. We didn’t get the win. We know there’s a lot more improvement ahead of us. But going for it on fourth down like we did . . . we were OK with that.”

Bright spot

The Bears rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries (5.2 average), led by running back David Montgomery, who had 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, including a 41-yard gain on the first carry of the game. But Nagy was most impressed with his three-yard touchdown, on which he broke past star defensive tackle Aaron Donald

“That touchdown run was special,” Nagy said. “To have to break a tackle from Aaron Donald and another [defensive] tackle and fight for that extra yard, that shows you who he is, and I’m proud of him for that.” 

No news on Peters

 Nagy will wait until Wednesday to update the status of left tackles Jason Peters (quad) and Larry Borom (ankle). Elijah Wilkinson played the final 22 snaps against the Rams. 

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