Loud and proud: An ‘electrifying’ victory for Matt Nagy-led Bears vs. Rams
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With 10:47 remaining in the first quarter, the Bears declared (psychological) war. With the Rams at the Bears’ 15, the team debuted its new air-raid siren at Soldier Field.
And it blared before every offensive play by the Rams.
But wait, there was more during the Bears’ 15-6 victory on Sunday night at Soldier Field.
Late in the first quarter, the Bears announced the game-time temperature of 26 degrees on the large video screens. It was another new wrinkle, one obviously meant for quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams.
That the Bears went beyond their typical player videos and frequent requests from their in-stadium announcer to “Get Louder” showed how much their matchup against the Rams meant.
A better Bears team apparently deserved a better form of psychological warfare on a cold night next to Lake Michigan. All of it was ordered by coach Matt Nagy, who opened his news conference Wednesday by asking fans to “get after it.”
“No. 1, I have to make sure our fans understand how amazing that was — absolutely amazing,” Nagy said after the victory. “We’re so thankful. In [the locker room], we gave the game ball to the city and to the fans. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about us and doing this thing together. Our players appreciate it, and it was absolutely electrifying from the start to the finish. It was just powerful.”
And that’s how Nagy opened his news conference after the Bears prevailed against the star-powered Rams on national television.
Consider it all part of the new vibe that the Bears are creating under Nagy, who obviously is drawing on his experiences with the Chiefs. On Sept. 29, 2014, Chiefs fans set a new record for loudness at Arrowhead Stadium, reaching 142.2 decibels during the Chiefs’ 41-14 rout of the Patriots.
Bears fans didn’t have much to cheer about during John Fox’s three years in charge. On Sunday, they got an opportunity to cheer on reserve offensive lineman Bradley Sowell, who caught a two-yard touchdown pass.
In many ways, Sunday night was a tune-up for the postseason. It had that type of atmosphere, even though quarterback Mitch Trubisky (16-for-30, 110 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions) clearly was rusty in his first start since injuring his throwing shoulder late against the Vikings on Nov. 18.
The Bears’ 25-20 victory against the Vikings was their last appearance on prime time. Four days before that, the Bears-Rams game was flexed to Sunday night.
“People wanted to see us in prime time,” said defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who sacked Goff for a 12-yard loss on fourth-and-four late in the fourth quarter. “It [gave] us an opportunity to show America how good we really are.”
A day after hearing an impassioned speech from Nagy at the team hotel, the Bears’ defense did exactly that. Goff was sacked three times and intercepted four times. He finished with a 19.1 passer rating. Running back Todd Gurley only gained 28 yards on 11 carries.
Better yet, the Bears shut down the Rams in a playoff atmosphere that their players — especially Trubisky — needed to experience. On Sunday, it included the arrival of an air-raid siren.
“I liked it,” inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “There was a plot in there. They didn’t know to expect it. Wide eyes out there. The crowd was very involved. The fans loved it. And they gave us a little swing.”
And the temperature announcements?
“I knew they felt it more than we did,” Trevathan said. “We knew it was going to be a cold game. We were prepared for it. You know, we’re some cool dudes. We’re not worried about that.”
Welcome to Nagy’s world, a loud place where big men score touchdowns, visors are worn in the winter and, most important, the Bears are relevant again.