Matt Nagy stood up and asked to wear the goat's horns. Whether he deserves them or not, many Bears supporters would be willing to let him have his way.
Nagy described the offensive failures Sunday in a 26-6 loss to Cleveland as being of his own creation. The game plan that made possible a 6-of-20 debut for 68 yards by Justin Fields will not end up on the wall of that room in his house that he wall-papered with 2018 game plans.
"The simple fact of the matter is is that the way these things go, like this there's the anticipation of the way things go and I, obviously, as the head coach did not do a good enough job of getting this offense ready to go to be able to play a football game," Nagy said. "It starts with me, it ends with me and it's as simple as that."
It's possibly a bit admirable Nagy stood up to take blame for problems he had only a small part in causing. The game plan had no place in it where Jason Peters issues free passes to Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, and it didn't have a line in it about Fields holding the ball forever as the rush closed in on him.
The game plan most likely did not feature another Germain Ifedi false start near midfield at a crucial time to kill a drive. Nagy did try to take responsibility for it.It's possible, maybe even probable, it didn't feature enough bootleg plays or ways to get his passer on the outside, seeing a clear field and able to use his speed.
Whatever the problem, a 6-of20 effort for 68 yards with 12 rushing yards wasn't quite what anyone had in mind for the first-round draft pick once he finally got to start.
"This is not how we wanted it to go," Nagy said. "You almost couldn't make it up. It's that bad. So but we've got to get to the (game) film and we've got to make sure that we're hard on ourselves and we understand the whys and really just go from there.'
Apparently there is more to the whys than Nagy and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor didn't devise the right kind of game plan to help their rookie play faster. Otherwise, why would they need to look at the film?
"We know what we wanted to do and what we were going to try to do," Nagy said. "They did, too. They know, as well."
By this, Nagy meant they tried to get Fields on the edge to where he operated so well in preseason.
Fields tried to stick up for Nagy and the plan.
"Yeah, I ran a couple times but I think we played a great defense so I went out there an tried to play my best," Fields said.
Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney had been compared to basketball players by Nagy during the previous week because of their reach. He maintained they made it difficult for any type of plan to use the edge for play-action fakes and runs or passes.
"And so there's some parts that you've got to be able to adjust if they're going to try to take something away that they think he does well," Nagy said. "Then you've got to be able to adjust, too."
Maybe Fields can play better when he's not going against Garrett, Clowney or the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Again, we know, and know where we're at with that," Nagy said. "Again, there's things they were not going to allow him to do. You've got to give credit to their edge rushers that they've got. They're long. I told you at the beginning of the week they're like basketball players. They're long and fast and strong. So getting to the edge sometimes isn't as easy as what you think. So now you've got to be able to adjust to that."
There is always the thought that games like this and beatings like Fields absorbed in only his first start will be the tipping point. Quarterbacks are ruined all the time by adversity when they're too young to handle it.
"It's not going to damage his development because I know who he is," Nagy said.
It's also something that could easily ruin his defense. They stopped a couple fourth downs and got after Baker Mayfield for over two quarters the same way the Browns got after Fields.
They somehow held everything together until they finally wore out in the second half: 39 1/2 minutes of possession time to 20 1/2 minutes tends to do this.
"I know this, when you're getting those stops on fourth down, they're going for it and you're getting sacks, there's a vibe on the sideline, there's an energy," Nagy said. "And then to not take advantage of it is the part where you feel like, OK, that can't happen."
So it would seem if Nagy is to blame, he has more people to answer to than the media or fans.
It took an NFL record 66-yard field goal to beat Detroit on the final play of the game Sunday.
They'll obviously need a better game plan against the Lions if Andy Dalton's injury is to continue to keep him sidelined, and Fields is going to continue to start.