Tragedy has finally given way to farce for Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears. Sunday brought not only Chicago’s fifth straight loss but also the team’s most amusing — as long as you’re not a team employee or supporter. Nagy, who has surpassed the NFL hot seat and seems almost certain to be fired in the coming weeks, lost his mind when his headset failed during a critical fourth-down situation in Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears lose fifth straight
The video of Nagy frantically searching for a fix went viral, and it served as an easy avatar for an overmatched coach. The Bears needed a win Sunday to save their season. Instead, they lost to an emergency quarterback (Tyler Huntley) leading an offense that has managed just 26 points in the last two weeks.
Matt Nagy’s headset stopped working right before a critical call. You can’t make this stuff up. pic.twitter.com/lIrGlrSaQp
— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) November 21, 2021
Adding insult to injury, several Bears players were seen on the sideline trying to hold back chuckles when Nagy panicked — never a great visual. But sometimes, as they say, you laugh not to cry. And after another blown lead and another no-show from Nagy’s offense, there’s plenty of reason to weep. The fans, however, channeled their emotions differently — with boos and calls for Nagy’s job.
Bears fans chant ‘Fire Nagy’
“I just understand that in the end, we all care a lot and we are all in this thing,” Nagy said, when asked about Fire Nagy chants heard in Soldier Field Sunday. “Of course, we want to do everything we can to win, so that’s our job to do that. I think that everyone is competitive and wants to see the Bears win and that’s exactly what we want.”
If nothing else, Nagy is setting up an easy decision for team chairman George McCaskey, who resisted the calls for him to fire Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace after last year’s 8-8 season.
It’s hard to see how anyone could convince him to stay the course after how this year has gone.
The Bears hired Nagy in 2018 to bring the Chiefs’ high-powered offense to the Windy City. He has failed in that pursuit, and this year is his worst yet. Chicago is last in pass offense (155.8 yards per game), 31st in yards per game (287.9), per pass (5.8), and per play (4.9), and only three teams average fewer points (16.3).
What’s wrong with Justin Fields?
Quarterback Justin Fields has been a turnover machine in his rookie season, throwing a pick once every 25 attempts. He’s last among qualifying passers in QBR (25.6) and 31st in QBR+CPOE (0.01). Plus, Fields is now dealing with injured ribs that could keep him out of games. The path for Nagy to keep his job beyond 2022 was for Fields to develop into a star and the Bears to compete for the playoffs. Neither has come close to happening.
And so, the Bears are all but assured to go an 11th consecutive season without a playoff win. And they’re all but assured of hiring a fourth head coach since 2013 — and there’s nowhere for Nagy and the Bears to hide. They have the shortest week on the NFL calendar, visiting the winless Detroit Lions in the early game on Thanksgiving.
“Just keep fighting,” Nagy said in closing Sunday. “You keep believing in each other and you keep it real simple, and you never stop fighting. You know, that’s all you can do.”
For as long as you have the job, Nagy should have added — which almost certainly will not be for much longer.