An interaction with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson led to the ejection of another Bears receiver.
Anthony Miller was tossed out of Sunday's wild-card game between Chicago and the New Orleans Saints after smacking Gardner-Johnson in the facemask following the conclusion of a play in the third quarter.
The Saints went on to beat the Bears, 21-9, to advance to the Divisional Round, where they'll face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the third time this season.
Each player was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, with Miller's getting him kicked out of the contest, and Gardner-Johnson's being assessed toward a possible ejection if flagged again for the same penalty later.
The interaction drew a quick ejection from officials, who were likely on high alert considering the history between these teams. Bears receiver Javon Wims threw multiple punches at Gardner-Johnson in the third-quarter of their regular season meeting back in November, resulting in Wims' ejection and a suspension. The attack appeared to be premeditated, with Wims walking up to Gardner-Johnson, tapping him on the chest and then dealing a right-handed blow to the defensive back. Replays from earlier action showed Gardner-Johnson exchanging words with Miller and at one point sticking a finger in the receiver's face.
Bears coach Matt Nagy revealed after the game that they spent time Wednesday during a team meeting discussing Gardner-Johnson's reputation.
"We spent some time on Wednesday morning as a team literally showing and explaining a particular player's actions in games and teaching it," Nagy said. "And that's taking 10 or 15 minutes out of your day which is precious, right? And so, when you do that, I think it's a valuable lesson for our guys. We already knew going into this thing about some of that, right? What do we talk about? Every action has a reaction. And so I think, especially when we're low with numbers at the wide receiver position, and the value of that zebra position for us. And so again it's something where our guys, we all gotta understand we've gotta be stronger and we can't have that happen."
Though Miller tried to downplay it during the lead-up to Sunday, that conflict carried over to the game when Miller and Gardner-Johnson met downfield and Miller took the moment to hit Gardner-Johnson, much like his teammate more than two months earlier. It cost Miller his chance to finish the game.