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Chicago Bears Postgame Transcripts 10/21

Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy, Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and select players comment on their 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 21, 2018.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

MN: We could have played better in a lot of different areas throughout. And so give credit to the Patriots for playing a great game. They've got great players, great coaches, and it just goes to show that we've got a ways to go with where we're at. We fought until the end, which I do like, but we've got a lot of things to fix, and we'll certainly get to that.

Q: Did you feel like you were ever in any sort of offensive rhythm today?

MN: Yeah, I did. Early on in the first half probably not as much, and then once we got into the second half, you know, we felt like we were getting into more of a rhythm. And that happens. That's a part of football. It's never going to be a perfect game where everything goes exactly how you want. For us as coaches and players, we need to be able to figure out and adapt to how we can get better and do that.

And so I know it was -- it seemed to be somewhat pass heavy there, especially in the third and fourth quarter because of the score, but that happens when you get behind a little bit.

Q: It felt like Mitch was a little bit out of rhythm early. What was your sense of his performance early on?

MN: Yeah, early on it wasn't just Mitch, trust me. There was a lot of people that were out of rhythm. I thought that Mitch played a good game -- there was a lot of things that you guys won't see on tape that I will see, and he was really good. He had a really good game mentally. He made good decisions. There was a couple passes that he made where he was the first to come off and say, shoot, I shouldn't have made that throw, right, and so that I liked because he's knowing that.

But there was a lot of -- and there was a lot of throws where he gave some guys chances. We had some drops early on. We had some big drops. And again, this is collectively. So everybody in there, we all need each other to make plays, and so -- but overall from start to finish, I was real -- you saw he was using his legs, and that's a huge weapon. When you use your legs, that's a killer to the defense, and he made some great decisions of not throwing the football using his legs and scoring a touchdown.

I really was -- I came away pleased with how he played, and you know, it's just -- it's unfortunate because I think overall this all three phases we just weren't good enough, and any time you give up two touchdowns, and oh, by the way, it's the Patriots with Tom Brady, your chances are slim.

Q: It felt like Mitch's accuracy was off today. You're saying it wasn't?

MN: Well, there was a couple throws -- I'd say to your answer yes. There was a couple throws where I think, no, he was right on. When you throw the ball 50 times, there's going to be some that are inaccurate. This is this kid's second year in the NFL, and this is his first year in our offense. So not everything is going to be dead on. He had a good game today.

Q: On the interceptions, do you characterize those more as bad throws or good plays by the Patriots, and is there anything the receivers could have done there to help him out?

MN: Yeah, so the first one turned into being like a punt. That was the field position thing. Didn't kill us. It was 3rd and long. Didn't hurt us. He was trying to give the guy -- make a play, and the kid made a pretty good play on the interception. That one didn't hurt us.

The second one we had a corner route, and 17, he beat him up pretty bad on the corner route, and the ball was underthrown. But we had some communication issues with the protection there and some calls. So again, there's 11 people in this game. I know it always goes back to the quarterback, but there's a lot of people -- reasons why.

He knows he's got to make that throw, and he didn't, and I'll say this: Credit to -- I think it was No. 31. That was one of the better interceptions I've seen in a long time.

Q: It looked like in the interceptions in the end zone that it was maybe on the quarterback, but was there something else there?

MN: No, the one that he -- he forced one in the end zone that everyone is holding your breath when he throws it, and that can happen sometimes with a young quarterback. But that was one of the ones that he knew right away I shouldn't have done that. First and goal, right, we're in a good situation, let's not do that, so we kind of held our breath on that. And I'm trying to think what the other -- I don't remember the other one or two, but that was the one I do remember where just be careful of that.

Q: (Inaudible)?

MN: Good, yeah. You saw today, you know, you go back to Week 1 against Green Bay, and I think everyone was asking were his eyes on the lineman the whole time. Remember you guys were asking why are your eyes always down at the lineman. Now you can see he's taken a step further of, okay, it's downfield, that touchdown to checkdown to now run, and when teams are going to play certain coverages and try to take certain guys away from our offense, that's a weapon that we have to use, and I thought he did a great job. I don't know what his numbers were, but it felt like to me there was a couple plays where he did a good job of using his legs.

Q: Last play of the first half you guys kind of went underneath.

MN: Yeah, typically what you hope for there, and I've seen it happen a few times, is you're a little bit further out, I think -- I don't know how close it was versus our last play of the game where we missed it by a yard or two, but sometimes what can happen is you end up seeing -- you get -- you don't have a sack, quarterback gets hurt type fumble, end of half, where a bad play becomes worse. But it's been done where a guy catches the ball underneath, and either runs it in for a touchdown or there's a facemask by the defense, and now there's a penalty and there's a free play to kick a field goal. That's kind of the mindset behind some of that.

And each game is a little bit different. We just felt like at that point in time we were a little far out to test the -- like at the end of the game type throw, yeah.

Q: Was Khalil Mack limited? How limited was he?

MN: I don't know if it affected him yet. Again, in my role, I'm not as -- I don't get to see the individual -- how they feel and what they're doing. Obviously you didn't feel it from our team as far as just getting the overall general pressure on him, so I'll be anxious to see really where he was at, how he looked, and then we've got to evaluate and listen to him, too, and tell us, okay, now you just went through a game on this, how did it feel and where are you at.

Q: Does it help to have a guy like Mack who's still going to draw some double teams?

MN: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think that's a good point. Again, but you don't want to put somebody out there that could harm himself because he's going to reinjure it or it's not good for him. But you know, he felt pretty good and felt like he could give it a go, and we trusted that. So I'll be -- we'll go ahead and check it on tape and see how he was last week and this week.

Q: Was the overall game plan to drop the ends back into coverage a little bit more today?

MN: Possibly. You know, again, I'm not going to sit here and give anybody what our game plan was. You never know. But if you saw that, then maybe there's some here or there, you know. But I'm certainly not going to give anybody what we do.

Q: Mitch is running with the ball like that, therefore are you happy with the run game overall?

MN: No, our run game needs to improve. We've got some yards with him running the ball, but to me that's a scramble, and that's him making something happen, that's him growing as a quarterback, but our run game has to get better. Again, it's everybody. It's everybody, and we just need to figure out how we can do that, what's best for us identity-wise, and it's not one person.

Q: With it all coming together, what do you sense in a game from a day like today where you're in a big game against a high-level opponent and it's a seesaw game like this?

MN: Yeah, well, the nice thing was early on, shoot, it was 7-0, and before I looked up it was 17-7 and we were winning and there goes the kickoff return and it's 17-14. And so there's a little adversity where now they're closing the gap, which you know they're going to do. It's going to be a close game, and our guys stuck together and they stayed in on the plays. There was communication as to what we were seeing out on the field offensively. And then you know, they did a good job with Allen and Allen -- he just wasn't feeling great, and so it had us look at some different things within the game, and that's why I think it's good to have players -- you saw Trey stepped up today. Trey Burton had a good game, and so when that happens, other guys can step up, and I thought overall our offense for the most part, especially when you're down, and you're in almost a one-dimensional type game where you're throwing all the time, our guys did a pretty good job.

Q: Going back to the end of the half, was a field goal an option there?

MN: At the end of the half --

Q: 57 for Cody.

MN: 57? No, it was the wind, too. We had some wind kicking into our face, so that was -- it depends -- like 57 I trust it, but the wind was strong. It was kicking into our face pretty good there.

Q: What did you see as far as from Belichick just the play caller, things that he did today that you might not have seen or that were unexpected?

MN: Well, pretty much the same of what we thought. He does a good job of mixing things, and they played some shell, which they've done anyway, so it's not -- it wasn't anything that surprised us. Early in the game you're always going to see a few pressures or blitzes that teams will do. That's natural. But I would say for the most part, they played good defense, but at the same time, shoot, man, our offense, we were right there. We had times -- our guys were fighting tooth and nail, and I don't know -- I think our offense is growing, and I like where they're at right now. I really do.

Q: Taking out Gabriel, did you have to take Gabriel out --

MN: No, he's -- their defense is one of those bend but don't breaks. They play really well within the system. Their guys made plays. They're opportunistic, and I thought they made two really good plays on the interceptions, so for us, again, we just keep calling our plays and trusting and trusting each other, and when you get an opportunity to make a play, whoever it is, you've got to make it. And so that's just where that was at.

Q: How did you see the last play unfold with Kevin going to get that extra yard?

MN: Yeah.

Q: Would you have gone for two or kicked the extra point?

MN: Yeah, that's a good -- I don't -- I'm not sure yet. I think I know what I would have done, but again, I'm not going to dive into that.

But it looked close, and I just saw him go up, and I saw him catch the ball, and I just couldn't tell exactly where he was, how he came down, what the extra effort was, and then you could see on tape we were just a little short. In a perfect world you'd love to get into the end zone for that, but we were a little far away, again, into the wind, the throw, and he got a little pressure in front of him. So all those things combined, it's unfortunate. I mean, you saw it -- so I just got done saying, everything that happened to us, everything that I just said, and we were a yard away from tying the game. So that I can that and think about that for a little bit.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Q: Initially your gut reaction on how you played personally today?

MT: I thought I played all right. I made some plays here and there. Credit goes to them for making plays, but we've got to continue taking care of the football. That's on me. But we did move the ball as an offense. Proud of the way we battled. Just got to make sure we just come closer together and get better from the experience and go back to work this week because it takes all three phases and all 11 guys at the same time on each and every single play. So I thought we did some good things. I thought we played all right, and just going to watch the film and see what we can do even better.

Q: On the very last play can you take us through your vantage point on the Hail Mary?

MT: Yeah, for sure. Just a Hail Mary, tried to get a chance to get close to the end zone, offensive line did a great job buying me time, stepped up, move to the left and just chucked one deep. I saw a group of our receivers down there, Kevin made a heck of a catch, and it was a lot closer than I'm sure a lot of people saw it, but I thought from my vantage point, I thought he was in. So you just never give up mentality, and that's what we have here. That's what we have the type of guys we have in the locker room. We were that close. It was like one yard, two yards away. It was a great effort by Kevin and the rest of the guys, especially up front, just giving me time to be able to chuck that down there, so yeah, never give up mentality, it was real close. There's a bunch of -- it's never one play. There's a bunch of -- there's a culmination of plays throughout the game that made the difference, and we've just got to find those plays, make sure we improve on them, be hard on ourselves in the film room and make sure we get better this week.

Q: On the 8-yard touchdown that wound up being more like 70 yards, when he doubled back, how did that look to you?

MT: Yeah, they dropped out down in the red zone, played a little shell coverage and took away my first three options, so I started to move to buy some time, and then I decided to spin around and see what I could see on the other side, and nothing was there. They just kept dropping out, and Cody was kind of leading the way in front, and I just decided I'm just going to follow him, and he cleared the way for me, and I was able to walk in, so just great job by our guys not giving up, just extending the plays. We're going to continue to do more and more scramble drills. Teams are going to drop out on us and get to those drop-eight answers, but they did a great job up front giving me time.

Q: Have you ever done that hesitation move before, you almost stopped in your tracks --

MT: I've been working on it. (Laughter.) We've been working on it. Yeah, it's all about just -- I mean, some people get nervous because the quarterbacks got to go down and stay healthy, so it's all about just keeping your head on a swivel, knowing when you can extend plays and knowing when to get down. But I'm going to continue to use my running ability to make teams pay, and I get more and more comfortable running the ball each week because I don't get -- I mean, in general, running the ball you don't get live reps in practice, and the defense in practice, they don't react to you running the ball because they expect you to slide or go down. You get better in the games throughout the week from getting those experiences, and yeah, I've been working on that hesitation move a little bit.

Q: Did you communicate to Cody when you tried -- when you're going up that sideline, do you say, we're going?

MT: I didn't, I didn't. I still had my eyes downfield, so I was being a passer, but I kind of saw him take off, and I knew it was time to go, so I just trusted my guy, he cleared the way, and Cody is a heck of a player I thought he played great today, and just going to continue to trust him and the rest of the guys, and yeah, I was just following him, and it was kind of a no-brainer once I saw him clear the way.

Q: Good advice to go down, slide, not take contact as much as you're exposing yourself?

MT: Be aggressive, use your ability. This is what I'm told. Be aggressive, use your ability, but take care of yourself, get down and protect the football and yourself at all times.

Q: On the pick to Anthony on the corner route, what did you see on that?

MT: Yeah, I thought it was -- it was a good play by their defense. I thought I could have put it out there a little further. I loved Anthony's route he ran, and I threw it a little later than I wanted to because I had to check protection to make sure I gave a slide call to make sure we could pick up the blitz that they brought through, and I just bounced back to the other side, so it was a little later than I wanted to be, but I thought he ran a great route, loved how he took it high, and I just got pushed out there a little further, but it was a 50/50 ball, and he had a chance to get it, and the other guy had a chance to get it, and the other dude made a great play. It was just -- I mean, you wish those go in your favor. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but I'm going to continue to trust my guys, give them chances and be aggressive. I think I could get the ball to 17 a lot more, he's a mismatch problem, and he runs really good routes man-to-man, so I thought I could have went to him more today.

Q: Did you expect to use your legs more today, or did it start to come with the passing game maybe not clicking at times, kind of make the decisions on the fly?

MT: You never really know what to expect. You just come out being aggressive, and whatever the defense gives you -- they did a good job passing off crossers and stuff in man coverage and matching our guys down the field, so we've just got to continue to win those one-on-one match-ups, but nobody was accounting for me early, so I just wanted to be aggressive with my feet and make them pay, and it's all about just picking up first downs for this offense and moving the chains. You never plan to run like that, and you just try to get better and better and do what you can for the offense.

Q: Matt said there would be a lot of things that we don't see that told him that you played a good game today. Did it feel like you played a good game today?

MT: I'm going to have to watch the film and see if I played well or not. Right now it just feels like we lost, which we did. Just go back, see what I can get better at, and I felt like I left some completions out there. Immediately you come back, you look at the completion percentage, you just want to complete every throw you go out there. But I thought I gave myself and my team a chance to win, and we were close on the last play, but like I said before, it's a culmination of plays throughout the game, and we've just got to make sure that we continue to get better as an offense. I thought we did some good things today, but we've just got to make sure that we continue to clean up our mistakes, be even better on 3rd down in the red zone, continue to move the football and take pressure off our defense and special teams and make sure we're getting better in those areas, as well. We've just got to improving as a team.

Q: Matt listed all the things that went wrong today, two special teams scores, interceptions, all that. At the end of the day, you were a half-yard short. Does that make you guys feel good or reassured at all that you were close?

MT: I mean, close doesn't cut it, and I think that's good that Coach Nagy is hard on us because there's a new standard here, and coming up one yard short and not tying the game and going into overtime, that's not good enough anymore. We've got to make the plays throughout the game that not only give us a chance to win but we're wiping teams off the field. We take a lot of pride in protecting Soldier Field, and we didn't do that today. So there's a different standard. So we want Coach to be hard on us. We're hard on ourselves and on each other, and it's not good enough anymore to come up short. We're letting each other down. We're letting our fans down, and we don't want to do that. There's a new standard, and we love how Coach Nagy has set the bar high for us, and we know we can reach it and go get it every single week. We've just got to get better and accept the challenge.

Q: What do you sense you can take out of a day like today where you're playing a high-level opponent in a game that's got a lot of twists and turns?

MT: For sure, a great team, and they're really good every single year. They're always in the playoffs, always competing for Super Bowls, and to go down to the wire with a team like that, you can kind of see where we're at as a team. But like I said before, the standard is higher, so we've just got to keep getting better and better. But we have a good idea that we can play with anybody when we're playing well, and when we're playing even better then we can beat teams like that. We've just got to look ourselves in the mirror and go back to work this week and see what we can improve because it's a small margin for error in this league, and the good teams who win consistently, they just find ways to get it done like teams we played today.

Q: Do you start to see a little bit of a trend in what defenses are doing and what you may have seen today that was similar or that was new to you?

MT: Yes, their defenses are going to continue to throw out new looks randomly all the time throughout the game. That's just how the game goes sometimes, up and down, getting in rhythm, getting out of rhythm, so we've just got to continue to get better as an offense, and when we're in a rhythm take advantage of it, keep staying aggressive and getting first downs. But yeah, sometimes, I mean, they've got a good defense, and sometimes they make plays, sometimes we make plays, and it goes up and down just like life does. We've just got to keep battling throughout the game, and when it's rolling we've just got to keep it going, and when we're in a little slump we've just got to make sure we get out of it, stick together and continue to play hard. That's the way the game goes, and you've just got to keep battling.


Taylor Gabriel, WR

On the team's mood

"After a loss like that, it sucks. But at the same time, you can take some positive points from the game and just get back to the drawing board Monday." 

On positives to take away

"I'm not sure because I was out there running around. You just have to go back to the drawing board and watch film."

On what he saw in Mitch Trubisky today

"He's a playmaker, man. A guy that wanted to win. You can see that out of him. He's the leader of this team and I would go to battle with Mitch any day."

Kevin Tolliver II, DB

On making plays across the field on the kick return touchdown

"It's not hard. It's football. It's a football play, and I have to make that play next time."

On what the kick return touchdown did to momentum

"It's definitely a momentum swing, but at the end of the day we still have to go out there and execute and do what we're supposed to do. We have to learn from our mistakes and not let it happen again next week."

Kyle Fuller, DB

On the Patriots

"It's just a good team. In games like this, your room for error is slim in all phases. No matter what we did good, there are still a couple things that we have to clean up against a team like that."

On Josh Gordon's big catch

"I was in position. It was a back-shoulder good throw, good catch. Nothing more."

On things to take away from playing Tom Brady

"I think it just comes down to knowing that if you are going against a good team, your room for error is slim, so you have to be on point the whole game."

On added pressure on secondary without effective pass rush

"No, we don't feel pressure. I think we have the same pressure of being in position no matter what. So, no added pressure. Just having to be sharp on the back end. [Today] shows how important that is."

Prince Amukamara, DB

On the momentum swings

"Football is full of momentum, and this game had a lot of momentum changes. One thing about this team that everyone knows is that whenever it is in the game, we are going to continue to fight and we can live with that. We just have to get ready for the Jets."

On defending the Patriots

"We always emphasize taking the ball away and I think we did that today. But, there were a lot of leaky plays, leaky yardage. Whether it's the screen game or the run game, I think we could be better in that."

On whether the Patriots changed the defensive plan 

"No, I don't think so. We had a specific game plan with [Rob Gronkowski] not being there. We still ran, pretty much, our same calls. So I don't think Vic [Fangio] called the game too much differently. We still tried to be aggressive on the outside with our corners and stuff like that, so no, I don't think so."

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