Can Bears rescue wayward season?

LOSING: Bears head coach Matt Nagy leaves the field after the Week 10 loss. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service

CHICAGO — In the aftermath of yet another disheartening setback Monday night, Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy again clung to the most reliable life raft he has. Culture. Team unity. Resolve.

"Persistence over resistance," Nagy preached.

And a little while later ...

"We're fighters," he said. "Just keep fighting and staying together, and eventually something here will hopefully change."

Reflexively, the city of Chicago dropped its head and sighed, preparing for another dark December in which another year's playoff shot will fizzle away.

Really. We're doing all this again?

The Bears still were disoriented Monday night, still shellshocked, still examining their wounds after a dejecting 19-13 home loss to the Vikings. They were clearly battered and drained and in need of additional attention.

Nagy, though, knew part of his responsibility was to offer reassurance. Thus he instinctively dipped into the bucket of mottoes distressed coaches often turn to when they're trying to keep their teams from fracturing or giving in.

"We've got to believe and trust and keep playing for each other," Nagy said.

Well-intentioned? Certainly. A useful approach? For sure.

But the outside world rubbed its temples with increased pressure, exhausted by how frequently the Bears have been able to test their failure response methods.

"The strength of our team is our culture," Nagy added Tuesday morning. "That's very important in times like this. (It's important) that we understand where we're at and why we've gotten to this point."

This team's collective focus and effort, Nagy said, would be critical in the weeks ahead.

"At some point, something has to click," he said. "At some point. You would think. There are two choices, you either quit or you fight. I know what we're going to do."

Sure, such perseverance is valuable. Same for the Bears' togetherness and solution-oriented mindset. That culture is something Nagy and his troops rightfully can be proud of. But it also only counts for so much and truthfully has been too frequently used over the last two seasons as an airbag to lessen the damage of bad accidents. A more ideal approach would be to avoid having so many gnarly accidents.

On Monday night, Nagy expressed satisfaction that multiple Bears players had attempted to rally the team in the locker room, emphasizing that this latest four-game losing streak was unacceptable and that grit and determination would be needed to stop the tailspin.

Among those to step forward was safety Eddie Jackson, who pushed teammates to rally together. He stressed the need for leaders to speak up. He called for an attitude adjustment and greater accountability.

"You can't be afraid to use your voice," he said. "If you're a leader on this team, guys look up to you. You've got to use it. ... You see guys coming off the field with their head down and no one says anything to them. That has to change."

The Bears were 29 days removed from their last victory. Their next opportunity to play was still 13 nights away. The weight of the losing streak was compounding.

"It's tough," Jackson said. "It's really tough. We are tired of it. It's up to us as a team to change it."

To be clear, such leadership efforts are genuine and passion-filled and, quite frankly, commendable.

But Jackson also was reminded that calling for more positive energy, accountability and fight won't fix the issue that has been sinking the Bears for the last two seasons: a miserable, failing offense that somehow finds new ways to demonstrate its ineffectiveness.

On Monday night, the Bears managed only 149 total yards, a new low in the 43-game Nagy era. Through 10 outings this season, the Bears have headed into the fourth quarter with an average of 9.9 points.

They stumbled into their off week with the league's worst rushing attack and the 31st-ranked offense.

A top-tier, playoff-ready defense, in particular, has been left helpless as its winning efforts consistently are squandered by an offense that can't do its part.

"I mean, it's tough," Jackson said. "But we have to go out there every week knowing we're going to accept this challenge to put this thing on our back. ... We accept the challenge. Like we don't care what the offense does. We don't care if they put no points on the board. All we know is if the opposing team doesn't score, they don't win. So for us, we want to continue to accept that challenge."

Still, what the Bears need more than optimism, more than pep talks, more than references to past NFL teams that have found some post- Thanksgiving magic to turn disappointing seasons into playoff invitations are realistic solutions to resuscitate their offense. They need more first downs, more points. They need to cut back on penalties and untimely mental blunders. They need to identify who their best playmakers are and feed them the ball.

If those boxes aren't checked, all the admirable culture in the world won't be able to slow an accelerating slide toward 7-9 or 8-8.

After all, it doesn't take long to find so many of this week's familiar messages in the archives.

This was Nagy in November 2019 during a four-game losing streak.

"What we do as a team is we stay positive and we fight through it," he said. "It's going to come, it's just a matter of when. And I know that's hard for everybody. It's hard for us. But I'm all about positivity. And that's the way we attack it."

Ultimately that Bears team succeeded in keeping last season from careening off the cliff and ending with a fiery disaster. Still, that achievement shouldn't overshadow the fact 2019 went into the history books as one of the most disappointing Bears seasons in recent memory. And it was followed by Halas Hall promises to get it all fixed, to upgrade the offense with new coaches and new players and new schematic wrinkles. The Bears were certain they would find the reasons for their struggles, address them and be able to storm back into the playoffs.

Yet here we are again, back in November, back with the Bears in need of a tow truck and left to digest another wave of promises that they have it all under control.

"When you have a strong culture," Nagy said, "this is what you're built for. And I mean that. In bad cultures, this thing would get destroyed. Not here. That's not how it works here."

He once again stressed the need to "stay strong" and "stay the course" and continue to throw punches until a few of them land.

"When you have high character guys and a strong culture, you find answers," he said. "You fight together, not against each other. And then you stay positive."

The outside sighs got a little deeper. Those temple rubs felt a little more intense. The city of Chicago understood its reality.

Yep, looks as if we're doing this again.