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Bears, coach Matt Nagy find a new rock bottom in loss to Ravens

The soundtrack at rock bottom Sunday sounded like this: a cacophony of fans, loud enough for their words to rattle throughout Soldier Field, chanting for Bears coach Matt Nagy to be fired.

Bears coach Matt Nagy cheers Sunday.
Bears coach Matt Nagy cheers Sunday.
Nam Y. Huh/AP

The soundtrack at rock bottom Sunday sounded like this: a cacophony of fans, loud enough for their words to rattle throughout Soldier Field, chanting for Bears coach Matt Nagy to be fired.

A chorus of ‘‘Fiiiiii-re Na-ggggy’’ rang out at the most important moment of the Bears’ 16-13 loss to the Ravens — fourth-and-six from the Ravens’ 44 with 1:48 left and the Bears trailing 9-7. It grew louder after Nagy took a timeout and 39-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who has played more football than anyone on the field, rewarded him with a false start.

The chants were drowned out by elation when backup quarterback Andy Dalton did the impossible on the next play, lofting a 49-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin to give the Bears the lead. But they returned 89 seconds later, after the Bears’ defense allowed Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley — making his first start because Lamar Jackson was inactive with an illness — to march his team 72 yards in five plays for the winning touchdown.

The Bears’ fifth loss in a row was their most heartbreaking because of who started at quarterback for the Ravens and who finished at the position for the Bears.

Afterward, Nagy was asked whether he heard the chorus — and the boos that accompanied the Bears to the locker room with the Ravens leading 6-0 at halftime.

‘‘I just understand that, in the end, we all care a lot and we’re all in this thing,’’ he said. ‘‘And, of course, we want to do everything we can to win. That’s our job to do that. And I think everyone is competitive and wants to see the Bears win, and that’s exactly what we want.’’

They’re not winning. The 3-7 Bears’ last victory came six weeks ago. They’re 15th in a 16-team NFC, with only the winless Lions — their opponent Thursday — behind them.

They’re likely to play that game without Nagy’s last remaining life raft. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields, whose right shoulder carries the weight of the franchise, left the game Sunday in the third quarter with an injury to his ribs. Nagy pleaded ignorance about Fields’ status, but it seems unlikely the Bears would rush him back for a meaningless game when he has 10 days to rest on the other side.

The best argument Nagy could make for returning in 2022 is for Fields to improve the rest of the way, and any game he misses robs Nagy of the opportunity to make that case.

Not that Fields built on his momentum from the game against the Steelers. Before leaving after the first drive of the third quarter, Fields went 4-for-11 for 79 yards and a passer rating of 62.3. He was sacked twice and lost a fumble in the second quarter that led to a Ravens field goal.

Fields wasn’t alone in his sloppiness. On their first drive, the Bears called a toss to running back David Montgomery on third-and-five from the Ravens’ 16 and lost six yards. Cairo Santos then shanked a 40-yard field goal. The Bears made a second special-teams mistake in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens partially blocked a punt and eventually kicked a field goal.

The Bears, however, never looked so discombobulated as they did when Nagy called three timeouts in the fourth quarter. On third-and-one with about 12:30 left, Dalton took a deep shot to Darnell Mooney in man coverage. Mooney couldn’t get two feet in bounds, leaving the Bears with fourth-and-one at the 49. Nagy ran the punt team out, then called a timeout, then went for it — and failed.

Nagy blamed his headset, which briefly stopped working. Because he couldn’t communicate with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor in the coaches’ booth, he turned to special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor next to him and told him to punt. Nagy claimed his headset began working again, so he called a timeout and decided to go for it.

Dalton had a baseball cap on, seemingly thinking the Bears were punting, before hustling back onto the field.

‘‘Next thing you know, the offense is on the field,’’ Dalton said, ‘‘which is fine.’’

No, it’s not.

The Bears called a direct snap to Montgomery, who was stuffed well short of the sticks.

‘‘If you get it, it looks good,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘If you don’t get it, it looks bad.’’

Nagy burned his second timeout on fourth-and-six — before Peters’ false start — though he said later he’d ‘‘love to be able to keep it’’ to use on defense had the Bears fallen short.

He blew the third one after Goodwin’s touchdown that put them ahead 13-9. Anyone who has played a minute of ‘‘Madden’’ knows to go for two because being up six keeps a tie in play if the opponent scores and misses the extra point. Nagy said the Bears were confused, though — ‘‘We’re at a point where you have the celebrations, you have the guys going back and forth,’’ he said — and sent out the kicking unit. After the timeout, the Bears went for two and threw an incomplete pass.

The timeout would have come in handy when the Bears’ defense was caught flat-footed a few minutes later. For the second consecutive game, the defense was staked to a lead in the final two minutes and couldn’t hold it. On third-and-12 from the Bears’ 32, the Ravens caught the defense in a blown coverage, completed a pass for 29 yards and scored on the next play.

That’s when the chants for Nagy’s job grew the loudest.

‘‘You keep fighting, you keep believing in each other,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘And you keep it real simple. You never stop fighting. That’s all you can do.’’