The Chicago Bears fall to the Seattle Seahawks 38-14, dropping to 7-7.
As far as rollercoaster rides go, the Bears’ 2011 season was pretty well on the money.
There were highs and lows, twists and turns, and even a few loop-de-loops. Just four weeks ago, it was fun as hell. But, today, as the ride comes to a screeching halt, I would bet most of us are sick to our stomachs.
I know I am.
In many ways, it’s so much like that over-the-top coaster. Sure, I’ll ride it again. But right now, I’m just glad it’s over.
The Bears’ only real hope to turn this season around was a victory over the Seahawks today. But in the end, injuries to Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Major Wright and Johnny Knox proved too much to overcome for Caleb Hanie and crew.
Throw in the major federal narcotics bust of one former WR Sam Hurd and, like it or not, a win today plus a rally to finish the season was a long shot at best. No, not because the Bears were moving on without Hurd (who was an impact player on special teams, mind you), but because the distraction in that locker room is likely very real.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, mathematically, the Bears are not technically out of the hunt. But you have my personal guarantee that this is no longer a playoff team.
Last season, the Bears were statistically the healthiest team in the NFL, bar none. When opponents were down to their third string QB with ten-plus players on their injury reports mid-way through the year, the Bears’ weekly report was a ghost town.
We said it to start the season … there was zero shot at making it through two years with that kind of help.
Probably, the only good news out of the game today is word late that WR Johnny Knox is going to be alright with a mid-back injury. Knox was carted off the field and rushed to the hospital after a brutal hit nearly folded the wide-out in half early in the first quarter. The team said Knox is able to move all of his extremities, an excellent sign. There is no word on his status moving forward.
With the Bears’ playoff hopes all but dashed, any incentive Jay Cutler and/or Matt Forte had to return is now gone. The only question now is who starts at quarterback next week … Answer: who cares?
Chris Conte was also lost to a foot/ankle injury on Sunday. And defensive tackle Henry Melton was held out with a shin injury.
Pile on the nagging injuries of Devin Hester, Charles Tillman and Major Wright, and the Bears are starting to look sickly thin.
Caleb Hanie tossed his traditional three picks to the opposing team. Josh McCown added another for good measure (if I don’t sound like a defeated fan yet, you’re just looking at the pictures), and the team as a whole turned the ball over a total of five times.
The Bears’ offense was 3 of 10 converting on third down (yes, you read that correctly).
Am I packing it in for these last two games? No. I’ll be there; same as you. I’ll be hoping for the best. But the kind of defeat that grows inside a fan who’s watched their team crawl their way out of a dismal start, to having a running back emerge into elite status, to a quarterback on fire, to mount a five-game win streak, to what we’ve had to witness these last four games … well, it is a vicious, unspeakable beast that will not let go.
There are positives looking ahead to next season. There are negatives, too. But many moves are yet to be made and a lot of decisions yet to be reached. We’ll get there. Let me just slowly crawl out of the depression first.
When does training camp start?