The Chicago Bears suffered an epiphany of epic proportions in a 10-3 tickle fight loss against the AFC West Kansas City Chiefs. And for many Bears fans, an epiphany of dire straits on the remainder of the season. For some, this means the tragic end to an otherwise storied season. For others like myself, a time to reflect glass half full on the last quarter of the season.
If you would have asked me three weeks ago what the Bears record would be, I would have told you 9-3. Away against the up-and-down Raiders, and a follow up AFC West match-up against the doormat Kansas City Chiefs at home. Easy pickins'- well - not really. Caleb Hanie stunk up field for two consecutive weeks. Actually working against the Bears with inefficient passes and poor decisions, leaving them at 7-5 heading to Denver for a game against the Tim Tebow lead Broncos.
When Jay Cutler went down in Week 11 in a win against the San Diego Chargers. All hell officially broke loose on the lakefront and in the Bears community. Now that the Bears are a surprising 7-5, the fecal matter has now officially hit the fan. There has even been talk of signing Brett Favre.
So with all the panic, I feel it high time to simmer down some of the pandemonium and give you 5 reasons to still believe in the Bears:
5.) Caleb Hanie will no longer be the quarterback.
I would even go as far as to say this will happen before I publish this blog. If not, than soon. It doesn't need to be said that this season since taking the spot after Jay day, Hanie has thrown 6 interceptions and only 2 touchdowns, but I will say it anyway. But don't get upset Bears fans, this only means that now the Halas Hall front office must put the Bears in the best position to win. Their jobs depend on it.
On another note: The Bears WILL NOT, and I repeat with great haste "WILL NOT" sign Brett Favre. Let's make that clear, there are many other options in the market currently for completely viable (King of NFC Championships Donovan McNabb), cost and age effective (Josh McCown), and even an " I'll take anybody else but him," players waiting for shots (Sage Rosenfels). So as Da Coach would say,
4.) Matt Forte is The Terminator
I say this only because of Arnold Schwarzenegger's line in the first installment, "I'll be back." Matt Forte exited the Bears game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a Grade 2 MCL sprain. This is similar to the sprain he suffered during his 2009 sophomore campaign where he had his lowest rushing yards and touchdowns of his career.
A Grade II Medial Collateral Ligament sprain is the same sprain that Jay Cutler suffered in the NFC Championship game. And like Forte, he exited the game, but to much more scrutiny. And also for Cutler's sake nobody really knew the timetable in which he would have been out, being that it was the final game of the Bears great season. So to take a closer look at this perplexing and now very relevant injury.
Image of MCL sprain, courtesy of summitmedicalgroup.com
The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) connects the inner (medial) surfaces of the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone). Its function is to resist forces applied from the outer surface of the knee and so prevent the medial (inner) portion of the joint from widening under stress.
The medial knee ligament has two parts to it - a deep, inner section that attaches to the cartilage meniscus and joint margins and a superficial band that attaches from higher up on the femur to an area, lower down, on the inner surface of the tibia.
What typically causes the injury, according to sportsinjuryclinic.net:
Injury to the MCL often occurs after an impact to the outside of the knee when the knee is slightly bent. The MCL on the inside of the knee becomes stretched and if the force is great enough, some or even all of the fibres will tear. The deep part of ligament is prone to becoming damaged first and this may lead to medial meniscal damage also.
Injuries can heal anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Be faithful, not faithless.
On another note: My pessimistic side says don't be surprised if this isn't an immediate reaction to the recent slew of extensions of current Bears players whose names do not rhyme with Pat Mortay.
3.) Help doesn't hurt
This really couldn't have been a better week for the Bears to pick up a win for better movement in the NFC. Most of the major wildcard players (Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, New York Giants) all lost this week and still are at a disadvantage in case of a tiebreaker (except for Dallas). The Bears still have one more shot at the Green Bay Packers, and may even have the potential to break-up a perfect season on a Christmas Night prime-time game. That possibility, plus the way the NFC seems to be shaking out, looks to be a recipe for a perfect storm in the Bears favor.
2.) Devin Hester
Not often in team professional sports does one single player greatly effect the results of a game. Devin Hester is that player. X-factor if you will, if he gets the ball, he always has the chance to get the job done.
Whether it be on a straight fly, screen pass, punt return or kick return, he is a danger to the opponents pay dirt. Although in the last three games he has failed to reach the endzone, we all know as Bears fans that won't last long.
1.) The Bears STILL play defense.
The most frustrating part about Sunday's game was watching the Bears defense play great, keeping the Chiefs within distance. 11 points could have won the game, 10 points could have sent it into overtime. The best part about it all, 4th Phaser's look for the Bears D to score just as much as the offense. The Bears defense has scored 2 touchdowns ( one interception, one fumble return) this season and are among the hungriest in the league.
This defense, ranked 8th in rushing yards, 9th in total points against. Unfortunately the pass defense is next to last in the league. What is fortunate for the Bears going heading into the playoff race, is that they play as equally bad passing teams in Denver Broncos (31), Seattle Seahawks (25), and Minnesota Vikings (T-26). Like I said before, it's a recipe for a perfect storm, in the Bears favor.
So before you tune out the Bears to prepare your Chicago Blackhawks beards and focus your attention on the Chicago Bulls. Give the Bears your support and optimism. The playoffs haven't started and the Bears are not statically ruled out. After all, that is why they play the game.
Filed under: How I See It
Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Atlanta Falcons, Brett Favre, Caleb Hanie, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detriot Lions, Detroit Lions, Devin Hester, Donovan McNabb, Green Bay Packers, Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, Kansas City Chiefs, Matt Forte, MCL sprain, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Sage Rosenfels, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tim Tebow