Bears blast Giants 29-3 in Matt Nagy’s likely Soldier Field finale, but it means nothing

The Bears controlled the game from start to finish, but it’s only because they finally found an inferior opponent.

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Matt Nagy is 34-30 as Bears head coach.

Matt Nagy is 34-30 as Bears head coach.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

It’s better to blow out than to be blown out. So congratulations, Bears, you finally found an inferior opponent.

By default, someone had to be better between the Bears and Giants, between Andy Dalton and Mike Glennon, between Matt Nagy and Joe Judge. So with the rest of the country blissfully oblivious to this matchup, the Bears walloped the Giants 29-3 in a thoroughly inconsequential game.

“It’s nice to have one where you’re able to be in control from the first play to the last play,” coach Matt Nagy said.

Yes, pretending is fun.

There’s no obligation to take this seriously. It wasn’t a glimpse of what could’ve been, nor did it portend anything to come. They beat the Giants. Everyone does.

There’s no need to bask in it as an accomplishment.

The offense matched its season high in points. But it wasn’t a case of finally capturing the magic that has eluded the unit. It was just that they played the Giants, who had given up 112 points over their previous four games.

The defense opened with Trevis Gipson’s strip-sack of Glennon that led to a quick touchdown and followed that up with two interceptions, a safety and three more sacks — including another strip-sack by Gipson late in the third quarter. Disclaimer: It was facing the NFL’s second-worst offense.

It’s not harsh to call this meaningless. It’s accurate.

The Bears were a juggernaut, but only in the way that someone dreams of possessing superpowers. It all drifts away when the alarm goes off.

They’ve had plenty of empty victories under Nagy. Who could forget their glorious throttling of the Texans and Jaguars last season? But Nagy went 3-11 against playoff teams over the 2019 and ’20 seasons and was 1-6 against teams in the playoff field entering Sunday.

At least he enjoyed what was almost certainly his last game at Soldier Field.

“If it goes that way, it’s meant to be,” he said of possibly being fired in a week. “I’m so stuck in today’s game, and the feeling that I have, that I don’t even have time to really — I haven’t thought about that. Maybe I will down the road if that was to happen.”

From the rosiest viewpoint, the Bears’ games have been a formality since they fell apart against the Ravens in Week 11. Many reasonable minds wrote them off much earlier, but that was the point at which it no longer was credible for anyone — even Nagy, the irrepressible optimist — to talk playoffs. The games became irrelevant for the team and for his future.

One reason the report that he’d be fired after the Thanksgiving game gained traction was because it sounded highly plausible at the time.

If the Bears wanted to jump-start anything, be it their season at large or fan enthusiasm, that would’ve been the time to do it. When it didn’t happen, the passion waned. The only thing worse for the Bears than an angry fan base is an apathetic one.

There haven’t been many “Fire Nagy” chants since then. Why bother?

There have been a lot of empty seats, though, and the crowd Sunday was spotty. A generous estimate: Soldier Field was two-thirds full.

When Nagy opted for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line with a minute left until halftime, half-hearted boos rained down briefly before dissipating in resignation.

They’re not even mad about Dalton anymore.

He delivered a Mitch Trubisky-esque performance: 18-for-35, 173 yards, one touchdown pass, one bewildering interception and a 63.2 passer rating.

His rating for the season is 76.8, well below the 87.2 that got Trubisky run out of town.

That should be infuriating. But it’s hard to get fired up about something that really doesn’t matter anymore.

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