The Chicago Bears blocked out a noisy week of questions swirling around head coach Matt Nagy's job status to beat the Detroit Lions 16-14 on Thanksgiving.
Chicago didn't care how it looked against a winless Lions squad, only that they came out with a victory.
"What I care about are these players and coaches," Nagy said, via The Athletic. "That's what I care about. Because they're the ones that are out there sacrificing their time and energy to get this win. They deserve this.
"There's always gonna be distractions. It's how you handle them. And again, we got the win today and it could have (gone) a lot of different ways, but the reason why we got the win is because of how they handled the distractions. … When you're in this business and you lead people, it's my job to make sure of honest and open communication and … I just can't tell you how much this win means today to me because of what they did."
A report earlier in the week suggesting Nagy would be fired after Thursday's game was roundly debunked by the coach and club, but it didn't stop questions about the coach's future.
"I mean, I'm not going to lie, it was tough for me," tight end Cole Kmet said. "A lot in your head after going right from Sunday to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, then playing Thursday. There's a lot in your head. You don't know what's true and what's not. That was difficult for me. You don't know what's going on. At the end of the day, as players, we kind of just hunkered down Wednesday night and put ourselves in a good mindset, and we were able to do the job and get a win."
It wasn't a pretty win, with the offense sputtering for stretches against a limp Lions defense. The inability to put the game away after halftime allowed Detroit to take a 14-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But Andy Dalton helped engineer an 18-play, 69-yard field goal drive that took the final 8:30 off the clock to secure the win.
Playing without many key starters, including dynamic rookie quarterback Justin Fields, No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson, star pass rusher Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, and watching linebacker Roquan Smith and several other key pieces go down due to injury during the game, the Bears fought through adversity.
"Just, we brush it off. Whatever supposedly was out there, we brushed off and then no distraction," edge rusher Robert Quinn said. "Came in focused and did what we have to do. So at the end of the day, from what everyone is saying, we all … I'm speaking for myself, I mean, I love Nagy, the way he approaches every day, so whatever the media is saying, I completely ignore it."
The 4-7 Bears broke a five-game losing streak and brought Nagy some reprieve. But with six games left, including back-to-back games against NFC powers Arizona and Green Bay, the coach's long-term future remains in question.