The Chicago Bears played to win the game for three quarters on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, but once they let up and tried playing to “not lose,” it was over. The Bears defense was schemed perfectly to shut down Tim Tebow, holding his offense to six punts, an interception and a missed field goal until the fourth quarter. Then, the defense changed their style and Tebow took what he was given. The madness that is Tim Tebow continues.
This game is one that is going to be remembered by Bears fans for a long time. Two 50+ yard field goals, Marion Barber’s fumble and inability to stay in bounds, and poor coaching decisions all led to a Tebow-ner of a game. The Mile High Moses got credit for another underwhelming win at the expense of the Bears playoff hopes. Let get these grades over with and not speak of 12-11-11 again anytime soon.
Mike Martz – Maybe Martz was on to something last year when he showed a lack of confidence in Hanie as the No. 2 quarterback. That being said, Hanie is the guy now and Martz still isn’t letting him be the quarterback. The Bears didn’t attempt a pass on their final three drives (nine plays) of the fourth quarter. I know Hanie hasn’t been the most reliable passer and the Bears were trying to protect a lead, but when you play to “not lose” the game, it’s hard to win. Showing your quarterback that you don’t trust him isn’t going to make him better.
DT Stephen Paea – One of the many bright spots on the defense, Paea had two sacks including one in OT. I think he is going to develop into a good lineman, a position that the Bears really need help in. Hopefully, he won’t turn out to be another draft bust for the Angelo regime.
Lovie Smith – He can be great at coming up with a gameplan to stop an opponent, but somewhere along the line, he sabotages himself. His defense played a perfect game against Tebow for three quarters, holding him to zero points and allowing less than 10 yards on six of their nine drives. Then he stopped bringing pressure and threw in a prevent defense and backup DBs. I don’t understand why he thought that what worked all game wouldn’t work in the end. Sometimes I really question his common sense.
Marion Barber – It’s very easy to look at Barber’s stat line of two catches for 32 yards and 27 rushes for 108 yards, one fumble and one touchdown and say he had a decent game. But his decision to try and get extra yards near the end of regulation instead of trying to stay in bounds was completely unacceptable. Add to that his illegal formation last week and not having two hands on the ball leading to a fumble in OT this week, and you have to question this guy’s football IQ. And he avoided the media after the game (which is the norm for him). However, by doing this on Sunday, he threw his teammates to the journalistic wolves, having to try to explain what went wrong. For these reasons, Barber is not a guy I would want on my team.
S Craig Steltz – I’m normally not a fan of Steltz but he played a solid game filling in for the injured Major Wright. He recorded five tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, his second FF in as many games. While I don’t want to see him starting in the future, he does a good job on special teams and he knows how to tackle.
CB Zack Bowman – There is a reason he lost his starting job a long time ago. This is another reason that the Jerry Angelo regime needs to go. If the Bears had a better option they would have gone to it. On the Broncos late touchdown, Bowman did as good of a job covering Broncos WR Thomas as the fans in the first row of the stands did. He better not be back next year.
QB Caleb Hanie – It’s hard to believe that Hanie is going to come around as quarterback. He once again showed that he can’t make accurate throws and can’t feel the pressure in the pocket. It makes you wonder who, if anyone, has been preparing this guy to play in an NFL game. His receivers haven’t been helping him out much either. While 12-for-19 for 115 yards isn’t terrible, it’s hard to win games with those numbers. It’s encouraging that he didn’t turn the ball over but he didn’t make plays when he needed to. He is 2-for-26 on third downs in the last two games and has led the offense to 13 total points. That’s just bad enough to keep the Bears winless in his starts. I know the Bears playoff chances are slim, but the only way they have a chance is if Hanie steps up and makes plays.