The Chicago Bears lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. There was talk about Matt Nagy and his struggles as a head coach coming out of the bye week even before the game began, but it has since amplified. However, these issues extend far beyond just Nagy. In fact, the Bears have not won a game coming out of the bye week in nearly a decade. Their last such win came back in 2013. Yes, we’re talking about the Marc Trestman days.
With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of how each head coach has fared coming out of the mini break.
Spoiler Alert: Every recent Bears’ head coach pales in comparison to Lovie Smith when it comes to preparedness.
Lovie Smith (2004-2012)
Smith spent nine years as the Bears’ head coach, which means he also had nine games coming off a bye week. In those games, Smith had a 6-3 record. His first two years both featured losses, but from 2006 to the end of his tenure he went 6-1. Likewise, his teams scored 184 points while allowing only 143 in those games, a +41 point differential.
Marc Trestman (2013-2014)
In his brief stint as Bears’ head coach, Trestman had a tough task. The schedule makers didn’t take it easy on Trestman, as his teams faced the Green Bay Packers following the bye week both seasons. However, he did steal the first game from the Packers in 2013. Then, in 2014, came a 55-14 loss.
In his two years as head coach, he owns a 1-1 record after the bye week. As a team, the Bears scored 41 points and gave up 75 in those two games. Those figures result in a point differential of -34.
John Fox (2015-2017)
To begin the Ryan Pace era of Bears football, the first head coaching hire was John Fox. It was a fairly safe move for the rookie general manager. Nevertheless, Fox manned the sidelines for three years and went 0-3 in games following the bye week.
However, his numbers closely reflect those of Marc Trestman. The Bears only scored 46 points and allowed 82 in those three games, yielding a -36 point differential. Although, Fox’s teams posted those figures in three games as opposed to Trestman’s two.
Matt Nagy (2018-Current)
Matt Nagy was the second head coaching hire during the Ryan Pace tenure. The Bears brought Nagy in to be an offensive guru and leader of men. Even his mentor, Andy Reid, vouched for him. However, Nagy is now 0-4 in games coming off of the bye week. In those four games, his teams have scored 91 points and have allowed 124 — a -33 point differential.
The frustrating part of the Nagy era is that his teams have had the talent to be good. It was not as if the Bears were rebuilding or had a subpar roster. Everything was provided for Nagy to succeed. Despite it all, Nagy failed. So much so, that fans booed the fourth-year head and began chants of “Fire Nagy” in the dying seconds of Sunday’s loss.
Much like firing Ditka in 1992, in hindsight, the Bears made another mistake in firing Lovie Smith. Throughout his time in Chicago, Smith always had his team prepared and playing hard.
Of course, a post-bye week record is not reflective of a head coach’s success. However, it does provide insight into how a coach goes about his business. And Smith was one of the best, at least in recent history. It’s still hilarious to think that Trestman has more wins after a bye week than Fox and Nagy combined.
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