By Chris Emma—
(670 The Score) What happened in Kansas City on Saturday, the crumbling of the Chiefs’ 21-3 lead, was the consequence of negligence by the coaching staff. The end result was brutal, a 22-21 loss to the Titans in the wild-card weekend opener.
That set of circumstances followed offensive coordinator Matt Nagy into his Sunday morning meeting with the Bears some 16 hours after Arrowhead Stadium emptied with another playoff loss. It’s not hard to envision one of the first questions from Bears general manager Ryan Pace being something along the lines of “What the hell happened?”
Though it appeared on the television broadcast that Chiefs coach Andy Reid had re-assumed play-calling duties, Nagy’s name is also attached to the decision to give Kareem Hunt, the NFL’s leading rusher this season, just 11 carries and use him in a minimal role after star tight end Travis Kelce left with a concussion in the first half.
Nagy’s interview with the Bears was the first of two for him Sunday, with the Colts on tap in the afternoon, and could prove as a revealing picture of a potential head coach. Being faced with the failures of a devastating loss can show the makeup of Nagy and his fit as a leader.
The loss could well be the fault of Reid and Reid alone, and his playoff record and history with clock management offers him little benefit of the doubt. Still, the picture presented of Nagy the morning after a tough defeat had to be telling.
What’s clear about the 39-year-old Nagy is that the Chiefs offense became better with him serving as the play-caller. With the team struggling, Reid handed over the duties to Nagy – whom he hired as an intern in 2008 and has elevated along stops in Philadelphia and Kansas City – and saw playmakers like Hunt and Tyreek Hill flourish in dynamic roles with the offense.
Nagy coordinated an offense that ranked sixth in scoring at 25.9 points per game, helping quarterback Alex Smith enjoy the best season of his career and working closely to develop rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the team’s first-round pick who flashed potential in his start in the season finale.
Nagy has spent his entire coaching career working alongside Reid, whose coaching tree has produced many accomplished coaches. He has been touted for his work developing young quarterbacks and if the Bears were to hire him, it’d largely be because they see his fit with Mitchell Trubisky, whom they drafted eight picks before Mahomes.
In Nagy, the Bears conducted their sixth known coaching interview since Wednesday. He’s the fourth offensive assistant of that group, joining the likes of Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.
Where the Bears go from here remains to be seen. Nagy could be the kind of qualified candidate Pace seeks because of the success on offense that got Kansas City into the playoffs in the first place.