The Bears are limping to the finish line and all that is left to play for is pride and trying to prevent a losing season after their 5th straight loss, a 35-21 clunker to the #1 seed in the NFC, the hated Green Bay Packers. The Bears extended their Cutler-less losing streak to 5 games and have now lost 4 straight (all in the 2011 calendar year) to the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers showed why he is the odds on favorite to win the MVP award while throwing a career best 5 TD’s and zero interceptions on 21 of 29 passing for 283 yards. The Packers made it look easy at times. I’ll admit, I watched much of the game from a crowded family Christmas party and when I saw the Packers’ first drive, I knew this was not going to be the Bears’ night. Aaron Rodgers knows how to pick apart the Bears defense and he cut through the Bears seemingly whenever he wanted.
Do you remember when the Bears were going to move Charles Tillman to the other side of the field to let Zac Bowman take his CB spot? Really? Bowman was awful and Rodgers picked on him all night. He was so bad in coverage, it made me miss Tim Jennings.
The Bears safeties were pretty brutal as well. Major Wright took a horrible angle on a blown coverage that gave up Jordy Nelson’s 55 yard touchdown. That cannot happen. Inexcusable!
In case you didn’t know, the Packers offensive line was a total patchwork job, even more so than the Bears. You may not have noticed because Aaron Rodgers felt virtually no pressure. How could we fail to get pressure against a decimated Packers offensive line?
For the Bears, two bright spots for the offense would have to be first time starters Kahlil Bell and Josh McCown. Neither completely sucked, which is a marked improvement over Marion Barber and Caleb Hanie. McCown was serviceable and made plays. He seemed to provide a bit of a spark for the Bears. Sure, he threw a cookie to Clay Matthews and sailed one intended for Earl Bennett that led to another interception, but he seemed competent enough to merit another look. Why exactly did it take so long to get him on the field? How is it that a guy like Hanie can be here for 4 years and be so poorly prepared to a guy who’s been with the team for 4 weeks?
As for Bell, he showed some flashes to make you think he might be in the mix to compete for playing time next season. He’s still too fumbly and missed a key blocking assignment that led to CMIII’s interception, but I think there’s something there. He finished with 121 rushing yards.
Even Robbie Gould had a rough day, missing a 49-yard field goal attempt early in the game, when it was still meaningful. Gould also booted a couple of onside kick attempted out of bounds and didn’t really give the Bears much of a chance to fight for the ball to try to mount a comeback.
There’s just one week left to close out a season of missed opportunities. It will be an interesting offseason for the Bears, who are left to pick up the pieces of a season that seemed like a sure thing to make the playoffs and instead will be watching the playoffs like the rest of us, from their couches.