Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy openly criticized the defense following their 41-25 prime-time shellacking by the Green Bay Packers.
Given how the Bears D has carried a bumbling offense this season, which is supposed to be Nagy's forte, players could have been miffed at getting publicly rebuked by the head coach.
Instead, safeties Tashaun Gipson and Eddie Jackson said no one took offense to the comments. Jackson said players considered the critique "just motivation."
"We hold ourselves up to a high standard," Jackson said, via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. "And so does coach. He sees that. So when he says something like that, we take it as motivation. We've got to get back on track and fix what needs to be fixed."
The Bears allowed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to zoom down the field with ease, scoring TDs on their first three possessions. The offense did little to provide cover, with Mitchell Trubisky even coughing up a fumble for a score to stretch the blowout to 28-3 before the end of the first half.
"We're all grown men in here, and the biggest thing for us as players and professional athletes, we've got to hold ourselves accountable no matter what's going on on the offensive side of the ball," Gipson said. "We pride ourselves on being able to do a certain job and hold ourselves to a certain standard and we just didn't do that. Give Aaron Rodgers a lot of credit. But no quarterback, no offense in the National Football League should be able to have their way and impose their will like they did on us in front of a national audience."
It was stunning to see a Bears defense get torched like a bone-dry Christmas tree. Chicago complied zero sacks, zero QB hits, zero turnovers and a single tackle for loss during the game.
Most striking was seeing poor tackling efforts for periods of the contest.
"We ran into a buzzsaw, so to speak," defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. "Best quarterback in the league, I think. I didn't do a good enough job of mixing things up, and (Rodgers) knows exactly what you're in. I didn't do a good enough job of making sure that we tried to disguise well enough. ...Usually someone makes a play and you do something to stop the bleeding. Just couldn't get it. We didn't have enough bandages and whatever to get the bleeding stopped."
Luckily for the Bears, they face the Detroit Lions on Sunday, who have proven to be the opposite of a buzzsaw. (Chainless saw? Silent saw? Buzzless power tool?) Sitting at 5-6 after five straight losses, Chicago needs to quickly turn its season around or risk falling completely out of the playoff hunt.