Bears coach Matt Nagy wasn't sugarcoating how he felt Sunday after another poor performance by the offense led to a third straight loss.
"Obviously, a high level of frustration," Nagy said following a 24-17 defeat to the Tennessee Titans that wasn't nearly as close as the final score. "Anytime you lose three games in a row, you feel that way. We didn't do enough offensively to get the job done. I thought our defense played really, really well. They're doing everything that we're asking them to do and trying to get that field position going."
That storyline has remained the same most of the season, especially over the last month and a half. The offense has generated just nine touchdowns over the last six games, and the Bears have lost four of those contests. During that stretch, the Bears have averaged 17.3 points without scoring more than 23 points in a game.
"[It's a] recurring theme here on offense," Nagy said Sunday after the Bears fell to 5-4. "That starts with me, and we've got to get better."
Playing behind a patchwork offensive line due to injuries, the Bears converted just 2-of-15 third-down opportunities (13.3 percent) against a Titans defense that entered Week 9 ranked last in the NFL in third-down percentage. The offense produced only two first downs in the first half—a third came on a fake punt—and didn't score a touchdown or even advance inside Tennessee's 20-yard line until the fourth quarter.
Nagy was especially peeved by some of the penalties the offense drew. The Bears took over at the Titans' 48 with :54 left in the first half but went in reverse, drawing back-to-back penalties for a false start on Charles Leno Jr. and an illegal use of the hands on Rashaad Coward.
On their first possession of the second half, the Bears faced fourth-and-1 at the Titans' 31. But they were forced to punt after back-to-back false start penalties on rookie Arlington Hambright and Jimmy Graham.
With starting offensive linemen James Daniels, Cody Whitehair and Bobby Massie all sidelined with injuries, Nagy knew that busting out of the offensive slump wouldn't be easy. But that didn't provide an excuse for the penalties.
"We knew going into today's game that it was going to be challenging in certain areas when you're in this position that we're in, and we understand that," Nagy said.
"There's going to be a play here or there where you're going to get beat, and I'm saying everywhere. There will be a mistake that we make—everybody—whether it's coaches and/or players. But the ones that bother me are the ones where you have the senseless ones with the penalties that set you back five yards and make it second-and-15 or they're drive killers.
"We're discussing that, we talk about that, and they're continuing to happen. So that has to stop. You have to get in a rhythm. And then in the red zone, you've got to be more effective. That's what we've got to do."
The Bears will look to snap their three-game losing streak next Monday night when they host the Vikings, the first of three consecutive games against NFC North opponents.
"We do gotta right the ship, and we've just gotta do it by getting one win," Nagy said. "We've got to be able to, whatever that is, by any measures, find a way to do it. I think our guys will do that. I think that they understand where we're at. Unfortunately, last year, we were in this mode and we lost four in a row, and it's hard. It is hard. But we as leaders have got to rally around each other and we've got to stick together, as hard as it is.
"When you're sitting 5-1, to be 5-4, it hurts. But now we've got to make sure that whatever those issues are, we just, at some point in time, get this thing back on track. And that's my job as a head coach to do that. And trust me, I'm going to look at everything."