How tasting defeat makes Bears determined to avoid a repeat
Bouncing back from defeat in the NFL can be an art form, although it's not one teams want to practice too often.
The Bears last year lost consecutive games only once and they believe their approach after defeat under coach Matt Nagy can help avoid a second straight loss to start the season when they play Sunday at Denver.
It started with not assigning blame after the loss, although this hasn't prevented almost everyone else from pointing at Mitchell Trubisky.
Trubisky's poor game seemed obvious, but enough blame existed for everyone from Nagy's non-use of the running game and some poor strategic decisions to the offensive line failing to protect Trubisky – he took a career-high five sacks.
"I always start with myself, and that's not cliche talk," Nagy said. "That's real talk."
Trubisky seemed down after the game at his press conference and the Bears are trying to build back his confidence.
"Well, you have discussions with him and it's not just him, it's the rest of the players," Nagy said. "I mean offensively for us ... you identify the problem, you fix it and you move on. You don't dwell on it."
They try to move together and avoid splits within the team. That easily could have happened Thursday because the defense did its work and the offense failed.
"(It's) just us not pointing any fingers at anybody and not blaming one person," wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said.
Gabriel called it a reversal of sorts. Instead of dwelling on defeat, they use it.
"Taking in the moment and using it as fuel," Gabriel said.
Losing gives them the us-against-the-world mentality teams often need as an edge.
"I've been a part of a Super Bowl team – we had a loss that year that was frustrating," the former Falcons receiver said. "The media killed us and things like that. It's just using it as fuel."
The Bears felt Monday's practice gave them an opportunity to get on the field and work through their frustrations.
"From the light practice (Monday) people was flying around," Gabriel said. "It was amazing to see."
There are losses and there are losses. Losing the opener after such a large buildup can be devastating.
Nagy and the players discussed this and in their eyes the loss is no different than the loss in last year's opener to Green Bay, 24-23.
"I feel like they're equal," running back Tarik Cohen said. "Both of them were a loss. All losses are in the same category for me."
The opening loss to Green Bay last year was a different scenario. The Bears were an unknown force on both sides of the ball because the defense had Roquan Smith and Khalil Mack for the first time while Nagy was a new coach. And they dominated early before blowing the lead. But in Thursday's game, the offense fizzled all night.
"To the outsiders it might feel different," Nagy said. "To us they both are, they feel the same. They both stung, they both were hard to get over, they were both different. And so, but in life and in sports and for us in particular it's, the question is how do you respond, right?
"So that's some adversity that hit us and I think now the biggest question is every week that goes by is how does our team respond to it is the biggest question."
Defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris just knows he doesn't like losing, after experiencing it earlier as a college and prep player.
"I didn't win a lot of games growing up playing ball early," said Robertson-Harris, who called his college highlight the final year when he played in a New Mexico Bowl. "So last year was a big season for me as far as winning.
"So I'd like to repeat that and make it even better. I don't want to lose again."