Bernstein: Any hope Matt Nagy, Bears had left extinguished in embarrassing loss to Ravens


(670 The Score) The day began with Ravens star Lamar Jackson being too sick to play, and it ended with the rest of us joining him.

Whatever was still viable about the 2021 Bears was extinguished Sunday, and the same may be true of Matt Nagy's coaching tenure in Chicago whether or not he's allowed to limp with this downtrodden franchise to the end of yet another schedule of what now is almost entirely meaningless activity.

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If this was how the Bears perform coming out of their off week, at home against an untested backup quarterback, what takes on a loaded meaning now is the word "bye."

Ravens 16, Bears 13. And there's no way to spin a loss this dispiriting.

Soldier Field erupted in chants of "Fire Nagy" that were audible on the television broadcast if not acknowledged by it, and there will be little counterargument in the days to come. This is just the latest loss that can't happen the way it did, despite this team's leaders openly valuing the togetherness and collaboration that come with losing streaks.

Rookie quarterback Justin Fields left with injured ribs after an unremarkable performance, and with him went any material aspect to the action, regardless of outcome. If you want to try some mental gymnastics without spraining too many neurons, a Bears win Sunday coupled with a Thanksgiving shot at the still-winless Lions could've been enough to sell the last vestiges of competitiveness in a bizarre NFL season, even if the potential quarterbacking matchup of Andy Dalton and Tim Boyle would be slightly less appetizing than stuffing with raisins in it.

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But the magic of Dalton finding Marquise Goodwin for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:41 left proved predictably illusory when the Bears defense allowed a 21-yard gain on pass interference, a 21-yard pass to midfield, a 29-yard pass that advanced Baltimore to Chicago's 3-yard line and an immediate touchdown run. Something closed on the Bears right there, and we felt it.

It was all there, already. Key players hurt going in, desultory play-calling that included both the Bears' signature short-side toss and a botched fourth-down wildcat and special teams mishaps that included a missed field goal and a blocked punt. The fourth-down sequence saw the Bears punt team come out, a timeout called apparently to see if punting was the right idea, then sideline communication chaos, a misread by David Montgomery off the direct snap and a holding penalty. The Bears also took a timeout after that late touchdown, seemingly unable to determine whether to go for two points.

Those opportunities to stop the clock might have helped open up the middle of the field on the last desperation drive, but something else would've been the Bears' undoing. That's how it goes when you are bad.

The better team won and the better coach won, no matter how we want to retroactively reshuffle anything else, playing mind games with ourselves.

We saw the cutaways to Virginia McCaskey overseeing the action from her lofty perch, and we can only wonder the extent to which this matters to her.  The last time a coaching change was made, it was due in large part to her expression of frustration that catalyzed her son to act.  If this new nadir now fails to elicit a similar response, it tells everyone still caring that we are wasting our time and are taken for granted.

Well-earned, I guess. The Bears told us pointedly how they held the six-game losing streak last year in high esteem when evaluating Nagy and the cipher that is general manager Ryan Pace, and we're still here with them in their hallucinogenic football funhouse, where the silly mirrors turn ugly truths into another week's exquisite combination of learned helplessness and absurd masochism.

Somebody make it stop.

Dan Bernstein is the co-host of the Bernstein & Rahimi Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images