Bears give Matt Nagy his first win, hang on to game-changing pick this time
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Quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw two interceptions in a five-play span Monday. Running back Jordan Howard averaged 2½ yards per carry. And a defense that flashed waves of dominance against the Seahawks still allowed touchdown drives of 99 and 75 yards.
But say this for the Bears: When they had a chance to intercept a pass to win the game, they did it this time.
One week after Kyle Fuller dropped one that could have sealed a victory against the Packers, fellow cornerback Prince Amukamara jumped a hitch route and returned an interception of a pass by Russell Wilson for a 49-yard touchdown with 6:37 left.
That gave the Bears a two-touchdown lead in a game they eventually would win 24-17 at Soldier Field.
Afterward, Amukamara gave the game ball to Matt Nagy in the locker room to commemorate his first victory as a head coach.
‘‘I wanted to give it right back to him,’’ Nagy said.
The Bears had a dance party — complete with a disco ball — in their locker room to celebrate the end of a stressful eight days, which started when the Packers rallied from a 20-point deficit to bear them 24-23. Music blared. Even running back Tarik Cohen danced, proof that the ankle injury he suffered late in the game wasn’t serious.
‘‘We always talk about [how] the fun is in winning,’’ outside linebacker Sam Acho said.
And in scoring. Nagy dug deep into his playbook to produce the Bears’ second first-drive touchdown in as many games. On first-and-goal from the Seahawks’ 3, Trubisky took a snap and held the ball in front of him, running a play-fake to Cohen, who ran across from his right side.
Trubisky held the ball for an extra beat, watching the Seahawks’ right defensive end. When he widened out, Trubisky shoveled the ball forward with his right hand to tight end Trey Burton, who had been acting like a pulling blocker. Burton crossed the goal line before he was touched.
‘‘I don’t think they saw it coming,’’ said Trubisky, who went 25-for-34 for 200 yards and a passer rating of 83.0.
It was the last time he’d fool the Seahawks for a while. The Bears punted on their next drive before Trubisky threw interceptions to cornerback Shaquill Griffin to end consecutive series. But the Bears’ defense, dominant for much of the night, forced three-and-outs after each.
‘‘There’s not a lot of teams in the NFL that have that mentality of what our defense is playing,’’ Nagy said.
The Bears’ defense dominated Wilson, sacking him six times and holding him to an 86.1 passer rating.
The teams traded field goals before halftime — a 25-yarder by the Bears’ Cody Parkey and, as the half expired, a 56-yarder by the Seahawks’ Sebastian Janikowski — and played a scoreless third quarter.
Trubisky found receiver Anthony Miller for a 10-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth to cap an 11-play, 66-yard drive that gave the Bears a 17-3 lead. Wilson, who went 22-for-36 for 226 yards, responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett to pull the Seahawks to 17-10, only to throw the pick-six to Amukamara on his next drive.
‘‘You see the energy in the locker room,’’ defensive end Akiem Hicks said. ‘‘It’s a great feeling and something we’re going to get used to.’’
Nagy said he was proud of how his team responded to the Week 1 disappointment.
‘‘They reacted really well to a tough loss, one that stung for many reasons,’’ he said. ‘‘The message to them before the game was: ‘It’s time to stop barking and time to start biting. Talk is cheap. Let’s go out and produce.’ ’’
Now Nagy is eager to see how his team deals with success. It’s foreign territory of late: The Bears don’t have a losing record for the first time since Sept. 28, 2014.
‘‘You saw us learn and grow a little bit,’’ Burton said. ‘‘We didn’t have a good finish last week, but we worked on it during practice. . . . We have a young team. Each game really matters for us.’’
And for their coach.
‘‘He’s really humble and really deflects a lot of the attention,’’ Trubisky said. ‘‘But it was real important for us — because he always has our backs — to deliver this win for him.’’