Everything felt wrong today. From the moment I arrived at the lakefront, it was just off. The atmosphere at Soldier Field was flat. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was some added pressure the Bears felt to defeat an under-achieving opponent. Whatever it was, it ended up with a 10-3 game that set offensive football back to the late-90’s. Caleb Hanie joins the ranks of Todd Collins, Cade McNown and Jonathan Quinn among the worst quarterbacking performances in Bears history. It was a trainwreck.
Hanie was all over the place. His accuracy was awful. It never looked like he could settle down in the offense. Where was the NFC Championship game Hanie? Did he die with last season’s Super Bowl dreams? Is he going to kill this season’s Super Bowl dreams? I’m not sure, but I think I saw a smoking gun in his hand.
The Bears could only muster 88 yards through the air and a woeful 0/11 on third downs. Overall, the team looked flat, sloppy and ill-prepared in a home game with serious playoff implications.
There was no room for error on this Sunday and yet the Bears offense was full of them. The offensive line took a big step back, allowing 7 sacks. Yes, some were Hanie’s fault, but some were definitely on the O-line. The wide receivers didn’t do Hanie many favors either. Roy Williams dropped a sure touchdown and turned it into a critical Hanie interception. There was a missed hookup with the newly minted Earl Bennett for another sure touchdown. If Cutler is in that game, it’s 6 points.
Of course, losing Matt Forte to a knee injury in the first quarter didn’t help the offense. Sure, he’s been struggling lately, but he was still about 40% of the offense. Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell played decent when given the opportunity, but those were limited to 18 carries. In a one touchdown, grind-it-out kind of game, that’s pathetic.
Give the defense a bit of credit but also a share of the blame too. Yes, they held the Chiefs to 10 points, 7 of which were on the fluky Hail Mary to end the first half. But don’t forget that the defense also allowed the Chiefs to march 87 yards on that scoring drive and convert 3 third downs and a fourth down leading up to the failed knock down that turned into a Dexter McCluster touchdown.
Let’s go bullets after the jump to download the rest of my thoughts from this horrible effort.
- You can’t say enough about Julius Peppers. Every time he’s on the field, he is dominant and the rest of the defense steps up their games as well. Even though he’s left a handful of games, hobbling to the locker room to get worked on only to come back better and stronger than ever.
- I know that they’re taught to knock it down, but how do you let that happen? The Chiefs had gone 33 straight possessions without an offensive touchdown until their prayers were answered.
- By the way, speaking of the Hail Mary, Peppers and Izzy were held so badly on that play it’s pathetic. How is that not a penalty?
- How about Kyle Orton’s one play? I love how the Chiefs tried to sneak him in at the start of the 2nd quarter. The former Bears and Broncos QB took a shot in the finger from Major Wright on the flea flicker attempt, causing a dislocated finger and an end to his day. That could amount to be a $2.5 million flea flicker. Have fun with that, Chiefs fans.
- Marion Barber was soooo wide open on the screen pass that he forgot to get himself up to the line of scrimmage, leading to a penalty and a huge missed opportunity.
- The only reason Roy Williams is in town is because he couldn’t catch his flight. See. You. Later.
- More reports circulating that Mike Martz will be gone after this season. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And take your “80 catch” receiver Williams with you.
- Robbie Gould has been a mere mortal the last couple of weeks. He needs to step up his game. After a 26-yard burst from Kahlil Bell set the Bears up with first and goal from the 7-yard line, the Bears came out empty-handed. Zero points. Pathetic.
- It’s interesting that Josh McCown (which by the way, sounds way too much like McNown for my taste) didn’t dress today. It means that if Hanie had gone down, it would have been up to rookie Nathan Enderle. Maybe I should reconsider my Donovan McNabb position.
- Do you think Matt Forte feels foolish for not taking the guaranteed money yet?
- If there is any good news, it’s that the Bears didn’t really lose any ground in their effort to make the playoffs. The Falcons, Cowboys, Giants and Lions all lost. Do over!
- Tim Tebow keeps finding a way to get it done. His Broncos rallied to beat the Minnesota Vikings and move into first place in the AFC West. After what we witnessed at Soldier Field, the game next week will not be easy.
If you haven’t heard, myself and a couple of my “competitors” from Chicago Bears Huddle and Bears Headquarters are blurring the lines between our blogs in the name of a good cause. We’ve put together a charity tweet up next Sunday prior to the Bears Broncos game to benefit the Israel Idonije Foundation. We’ll be doing a pre-game party at Rockit from 1-3 and then cheering on the Bears in their crucial game against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Check here for all the details. I really hope you’ll join us.