The Bears' bitter 16-15 wild-card loss to the Eagles Sunday at Soldier Field will sting for a while, but coach Matt Nagy vowed that his team would learn from it.
"I looked around in that locker room at the end and I looked at every one of them and it reminded me of Green Bay Week 1 because they gave it their all, and you learn from these things," Nagy said. "We can't see it right now, but I guarantee you that feeling we just had in that locker room is going to help us in the future."
After blowing a 20-0 lead in an eventual 24-23 season-opening loss to the Packers, the Bears won their next three games. They continued to rebound from adversity all year, bouncing back from back-to-back losses to the Patriots and Dolphins to win five in a row and from a loss to the Giants with four consecutive victories.
"We set the bar," Nagy said. "We all felt we grew as the year went on. We did get callused, we did get stronger, we did become a tighter family. Every team is different from here out, so there will be I'm sure new players, new coaches. It's always a little bit different. Those guys understand it. But we're going to rally together. We're going to stick together. We're going to be a family."
The Bears rallied to take a 15-10 lead early in the fourth quarter Sunday, and even after an Eagles touchdown put Philadelphia ahead 16-15 with just :56 to play, the Bears had a chance to win the game. But Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with :05 remaining, hitting the left upright and the crossbar.
Asked about the Bears' season coming to such an abrupt end, Nagy said: "Well, it hasn't really hit me yet. You're just dealing with so many emotions in there with the players and coaches. Everyone is upset. They're frustrated. But in the end when you step back and you look at the big picture of what we've done this year, they'll be super proud and they deserve that. They worked so hard at being a family.
"We talked to start the year, be obsessed to be the best. That was our slogan, and they did that, they really did. We had fun this year. One team in the end gets to hold that trophy. It's not going to be us. Hopefully down the road it will be, but we had a lot of fun. I love our guys to death."