Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Andy Dalton Speech Helped Rally Bears Locker Room Before Lions Game


The Chicago Bears were already staggered by what happened last Sunday at Soldier Field. Justin Fields left the game with cracked ribs. Then the defense let a 13-9 lead with under two minutes left slip away on a TD drive by Baltimore Ravens backup Tyler Huntley. It was an absolute gut punch. Everybody from Andy Dalton to Roquan Smith and the other veterans wouldn’t have much time to collect themselves though.

They couldn’t have known what was coming. Two separate reports, one by Jordan Schultz and another by turned their short week upside down. The first revealed several players in the Bears locker room were done with head coach Matt Nagy. Then before the team could even assess what was happening, the second report revealed that Nagy would be fired following the Thanksgiving tilt in Detroit.

Everything was thrown into chaos.

Nagy had to deny the report and then met with George McCaskey himself to get assurance it wasn’t true. If that weren’t enough, several players thought it was and acted as if he was leaving. This forced McCaskey to address the team directly and insist the report was false. Amidst all of that, they still had a game to play. It felt like the perfect situation for a team like the Lions to get their first win of the season.

Something needed to happen otherwise the entire roster would go into that game completely distracted and ripe for the kill. It was then a number of veterans stepped up to speak to the locker room. Among them Dalton himself. Cole Kmet explained how the longtime QB did everything he could to keep guys focused on the task at hand.

Dalton was asked about it during his own press conference. While he didn’t divulge the exact words that were said, he made it clear that he didn’t BS anybody. He spoke straight from the heart and told everybody what was needed of them.

Andy Dalton got the job done

It wasn’t a pretty game by any means. The Bears came out flat in the first quarter. A disturbing trend that continues to haunt them. Nonetheless, despite this and a mounting string of injuries on defense, they managed to build a 13-7 lead by halftime. It wasn’t enough. Detroit scored what looked like a decisive touchdown to retake the lead and was driving for more. Then the Bears caught a break when they committed three crucial penalties, resulting in a punt.

Chicago had 79 yards to go and 8:30 left in the game. Could they put a drive together? Yes they could. Led by Andy Dalton, the Bears marched 64 yards on staggering 18 plays. They chewed up the entire clock during that stretch and kicked a game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired. Thus ending their five-game losing streak. Dalton finished with 317 yards passing.

It wasn’t pretty but it was a win.

What might be the last one Bears fans experience for a while. Arizona and Green Bay are next on the schedule. Given the way this team is playing, it doesn’t feel like either of those games could end up being close. So for Dalton to step up and help salvage this one is more than appreciated.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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