The Bears headed to London Thursday evening for Sunday’s game against the Raiders determined to build on what they hope ultimately is considered a watershed victory.
Coach Matt Nagy’s team recorded a pivotal 16-6 win over the Vikings last Sunday at Soldier Field despite being shorthanded on both sides of the ball.
The Bears played without five starters, including linebacker Roquan Smith, who was deactivated on gameday for personal reasons. And then quarterback Mitchell Trubisky exited with a shoulder injury six plays into the game.
You might not see a whole lot of Chase Daniel, Rashaad Coward, Roy Robertson-Harris, Nick Kwiatkoski, Nick Williams or Kevin Pierre-Louis jerseys worn by even the most avid Bears fans at training camp practices or games. But they were among several unheralded reserves who played major roles in the team’s impressive Week 4 victory.
“I can’t tell you how many people have said to me over the past couple days about how much that win we just had with what we went through how much that meant to them personally,” Nagy said. “I know what it meant to me personally. Those are the ones when you say next year, ‘Do you remember that game? Yeah, I remember that game. That pulled us together. That made us solid for a lot of reasons.’”
The Bears didn’t really learn how to overcome injuries last year because they remained fairly healthy the entire season. But Nagy has helped create a culture at Halas Hall that seemingly can weather injuries or any other type of adversity.
“I learned nothing from last year because last year went pretty well,” Nagy said. “It went smooth, and that’s just how it goes sometimes. We were fortunate with injuries, we were fortunate with building trust, we were fortunate with building the culture, relationships.
“We won some games, got on some streaks, and we didn’t have a lot of this stuff that’s going on. But that’s where you as a person—you and your players and coaches—build that thing so that when things get uncomfortable, you’re OK with it.”
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who recently spent six seasons as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2012-17, is impressed with how Nagy has set the expectation level so high for every player on the roster.
“He’s been in the game a long, long time,” Pagano said. “He’s handled things as good as anybody I have ever seen. Our team handles things like this really, really well. It’s our culture, it’s our locker room, it’s our environment. It’s everything he’s preached from Day 1.
“I don’t care if you’re a backup guy, a practice squad guy, it doesn’t matter. You come in here and prepare as a starter so that when your number is called there is an expectation here throughout this whole organization, this whole building for all of us. We all understand that and we all get that. So everybody prepares and works accordingly.”