Let’s say the Bears did get that touchdown and got a field goal early in the half to make their lead 17-7 at halftime. That’s a really good half. The Lions come out of the gate in the third quarter and score a touchdown thanks to the mighty Calvin Johnson, but this time, they are down 3, not up 7. Then the Bears go down the field and score on the Cutler to Jeffery pass. That is, the first one he dropped, not the second one. The problem is, Alshon Jeffery is a 2nd year receiver, and while he has shocked the NFL with his ability to make some big plays, he is still young. I’m not excusing him for dropping a catchable ball; he could have caught it. I’m just saying that the fans and coaches have to get used to the fact that he still has a good amount to learn. But let’s say he does catch it. That puts the Bears up by 10. It would have been 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
The playcalling while being down ten is typically drastically different than while being down one. However, if the Lions were willing to go deep while nursing a one point lead, I think they would be willing to go deep while being down 10 as well. Therefore, the Conte interception still happens. If Matt Slauson doesn’t hold on the Forte play (or if the refs don’t call it) then the Bears go up by 17. In the fourth quarter at home, that’s a tough lead to relinquish.
Now let’s say the goal line interception does still happen, which it did. It’s still a totally winnable game for the Bears! Jeffery could have caught the ball the first time. Even though he didn’t, Slauson might not have held. Even though he did hold, Jeffery could have caught the ball in the end zone. Even if though didn’t catch it, Jay Cutler could have been taken out of the game earlier so the Bears would have a quarterback in there who was capable of moving his feet and not short hopping throws (3rd down with the open lane and the open Jeffery). Even though the Bears did wait to take Cutler out until the final drive, they still could have scored on that first two point conversion with a better play call. Even though they didn’t, they at least should have scored from ONE YARD OUT on the second play call. Even though they didn’t, they could have maybe had a long overdue successful onside kick.
This game was filled with what if’s. All games are, but it seems like this one has more what if’s than the average game. Also, had the Bears won, I’m sure Lions fans would be talking about the Akers missed field goal or the Conte interception all week. But when it’s your favorite team coming up short, it’s aggravating as hell. Just for once, I want to see a Bears game, or a series of Bears games, where there is no need for question. I want a game where I sit there and can’t decide who should go on the milk carton, because everyone showed up and did his part. That is pretty far-fetched. What I really want to see is the Bears play to their strengths consistently and to have stupid mistakes only occur rarely. Losing is bad, but losing winnable games is agonizing.