Bears Must Recover Quickly, Vikings Await in Battle for Second in NFC North


An angry Lovie Smith leaves the field following the Bears’ 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune)

The Bears lost 32-7 to the San Francisco 49ers.  They were embarrassed, humiliated and downright bullied on a national stage.  It doesn’t matter if the score was 32-31 or 132-0, it only counts as one loss in the standings.  Or at least it should only count as one loss unless the Bears let the loss linger.  There is no time for letting their bruised egos heal, as the 6-4 Minnesota Vikings await in what has suddenly become a must-win game for the Beloved.

The Niners exposed a lot of holes on the Bears and did it for the NFL universe to see.  Wham blocks, two-man coverage, bull rushes, etc were on display as ways to disarm the Bears.  Heck, it’s not even that complicated.  Hang on to the darn ball and don’t let the Bears defense score and you’re halfway there.  Don’t think that Vikings weren’t glued to their TV’s and taking notes.  Defensive End Jared Allen had to be drooling at the thought of going up against a pair of bookend tackles that couldn’t hold together a set of Lance Briggs’ favorite comic books.

Word on Tuesday from Jay Cutler is that he’ll return this season, but he’s unsure if he’ll be cleared to face the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday:

"When asked whether he’s been cleared to play, Cutler said: “We’re going through the process. Met with them Monday morning, the doctor. Got a few more hoops to jump through, so we’ll see how it goes this week.”"

I suppose he can’t really say anything else because there are no guarantees, but it alarmed me that he might not be ready to go this week.  It seems like he might go because he’ll speak to the media on Wednesday, but if he can’t go, Jason


Campbell will suit up for another round of beatings.

The hope is that the Bears can dissect the film and find something to build on, especially on the offensive line.  Gabe Carimi, who will go by the nickname “Jerry Angelo’s Final Revenge” and J’Marcus Webb looked like boys among men.  San Fran pushed them around like ragdolls.  Jonathan Scott could very well suit up in place of Carimi, but if he were any good, wouldn’t he have found his way onto the field by now?  The fact is there is no help coming.  The cavalry is not coming and bringing a stagecoach full of 330 pounders who can block with them.   The offensive line is what you’re going to get.  Mike Tice must find a way, with bubble gum and popsicle  sticks, to piece this line together.

I’m a little less worried about the defense.  I think they went into San Fran a little cocky and arrogant.  They’ve come to rely on the takeaways.  They got a reality check they needed.  They’ll re-group and find a way to shut down a familiar opponent in the Vikings.

What do you think?  Can the Bears pull it together for the Vikings and beyond?  We outlined the remaining schedules of the NFC North contenders.  Can they still win the division?  Can they still make the playoffs?   Is this the start of another late-season collapse?