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Jaylon Johnson: Time for Action Not Words

Players didn't stand up and make speeches to rally the team after Sunday's Bears 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Frustration with a five-game losing streak has hit a new Bears high heading into the short week and a Thanksgiving Day game with the winless Detroit Lions. So cornerback Jaylon Johnson said, why belabor the point?

"I mean, honestly how many games have we lost in a row?" Johnson said. "Yeah, there's nothing to talk about. We aren't going to beat a dead horse. Like I said, we are all men. Coming in here and saying 'we have to figure out a way' to me it's BS. Like, we aren't going to keep talking. We have to find ways to win, we just have to get it done. Whatever it is.

"Like I said, whatever it is but there's nothing to keep coming in here and talking about, and having all these rah-rah speeches. We've had five weeks of rah-rah speeches. I don't think that talking is anything we need to be doing."

Yet, it was Johnson trying to fire up his defense after the game and Monday.

The defense owns a tag as failures when it comes to closing games. Two weeks in a row now the offense grabbed leads in the closing minutes but the defense gave up leads. They also failed once the offense pulled the Bears within 17-14 against Green Bay, and after the offense got them a 16-9 lead against San Francisco.

"We want to finish," Johnson said. "Our offense had given us the opportunity at the end, and we've just got to finish. So just from a competitor standpoint, just wanting to pull that out.

"We always said we wanted the game to be on us at the end, and we haven’t come through with that. So just being able to finish and just trying to figure out what exactly is going wrong and being able to fix it. Because I mean we have plenty of more games left and opportunities to get it done."

The secondary has been a big issue, but not Johnson. Left cornerback Kindle Vildor gave up a 29-yard reception to Sammy Watkins to make the win possible for the Ravens. Vildor had his head in his hands on the sidelines afterward.

Sportradar, an official stat partner of the NFL, has Vildor at a 150.3 passer rating against when targeted for this year, which is almost perfect if you're the passer throwing on him. Vildor has allowed five touchdown passes and 72.5% completions. It's easy to see with those numbers why Johnson said he had only one pass targeted at him on the right side in Sunday's game.

"I'll tell him what I told the whole defense was pick your head up," Johnson said. "The way I think about it is we're men before anything. You never want to show weakness in a time like that.

"OK, somebody messed up and things didn't go our way. But that don't mean you put your head down. That don't mean you start blaming and pointing fingers. I just don't think those are manly characteristics. I was more so on the sideline picking guys up to not allow people to see that word defeated. I mean, yeah, OK, it's football. But we're men before anything. With his hands down, I tell him pick your head up. I went to the D-line and told them pick your head up. What do we have our heads down for? We're competitors, but we don't show weakness like that. That's not what men do, to me."

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The emotional scars must heal fast because of the game coming on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

The Bears are in no shape to overlook a team they bear convincingly earlier 24-14 at Soldier Field. The Lions are 0-9-1, their tie coming against Pittsburgh.

"No. They're a really good team. I feel like they just haven’t finished well," Johnson said.

So apparently the Bears aren't alone.

"So there’s definitely nobody that you sleep on," Johnson said. "And I don't think the (Lions) at home is a team that we can go in there and think that because they haven't won yet they're not capable of winning a game this week."

Considering the Bears have lost five straight, they own a longer losing streak than Detroit. The tie came two weeks ago.

Bears coach Matt Nagy calls frustration understandable because of two come-from-ahead losses.

"Instead of 3-6, you would have been 4-5 heading into a bye," Nagy said.

Then they blew the lead again when they could have been 4-6.

"You see all that, but we remember that last drive, and we lose," Nagy said. "And (defensive players) were playing so well the entire game—simple fact of the matter is, that now we're 3-7 instead of 5-5.

"That's a big difference right now when you look at where these NFC teams are on this side. So to long answer to your question, but we have to keep fighting because we know where were at. That's the way these guys are wired and that’s what I appreciate about them."

It was about as close to a rah-rah speech as you could find at Halas Hall these days.

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