The Chicago Bears' season is over … and I want to vomit

The Chicago Bears' season is over … and I want to vomit
Johnny Knox injures his back attempting to recover a fumble early in the first quarter. (Chicago Tribune)

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.

Injuries…

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?

Comments

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  • The last paragraph raises the idea that did things get affected by the lockout pushing things back and Angelo, as a result, getting retreads or undrafted rookies?

    As far as what it says for the future, it isn't going to be any different unless there is a Cubs style house cleaning way before training camp, but I don't think that any McCaskey is up to that. Seems like a good reason for reinstating a rather harsh estate tax.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I think what we saw was more a product of the fact that the Bears went to the NFC title game last season. That and they spent a lot of money the previous year. I think Angelo thought he could hit on a few busts ... and if not, he still had that division-champ team from 2010 (silly logic, but the best I can do). But it clearly wasn't enough. It's difficult for any team to overcome the loss of their starting QB, but to turn this inept is pathetic.

    I'm with you, in that I don't think there will be any "cleaning house." But my guess is Angelo, should he not choose to retire on his own, will be a little more aggressive in 2012. They can't continue to neglect their needs on offense anymore. And, of course, there are concerns about an aging defense as well. Lots to work out in the coming months...

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    "They can't continue to neglect their needs on offense.."

    That brings up another point some caller mentioned on OB and Doug yesterday, i.e. with the Bears always picking defensive coaches as head coach (since Ditka), the caller said that the coach doesn't understand offense and thinks he can win it all with defense. That reminded me that I asked a Bear of 84 and 86 era (but not 85, you can guess whom) in 2003 if there was any offensive mind of that time who could coach. He said "Surprisingly, McMahon," to which I said "but he's too nuts." Now, you can combine only selecting defensive coaches with Jerry and Lovie being all hung up on their pre-Gruden Tampa and Rams experiences, and something doesn't pass the smell test.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, they brought in Mike Martz ... Jerry went out and got Jay Cutler. At least, that would be Jerry's response to what they’ve done on offense. Problem is you need the personnel to run Martz's system (which they didn’t get), and Jay Cutler can't do it on his own (or can he?).

    McMahon is in bad shape heath-wise. But I don't think the biggest issue is with the actual coaching staff. They have to work with what Jerry gives them. And there's been some pretty nice pieces brought in (Peppers, Cutler, Forte, Hester...) but it hasn’t been enough.

    I suspect we'll see more emphasis on the offensive side of the ball this off-season. But ... we'll have to wait to know for sure.

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    You keep branching out into new territory, now with....

    "Problem is you need the personnel to run Martz's system"

    (1) That reenforces what I said about slavish devotion to St. Louis, and apparently Detroit prior to this year. Even Detroit fired Martz.

    (2) There was discussion on the radio today about not being able to bring in a QB other than McCown because they would "have to learn the Martz system and couldn't in time." If a system that worked only once with Kurt Warner and has resulted in numerous qbs being knocked silly is the polestar, the system is the problem. McCown comes in, and the next thing we heard from Tim Ryan was "he threw the Martz system pass, and the defender knew it and cut under the route."

  • In reply to jack:

    Haha! And, watch, I'll do it again ... Mike Martz will not be back for the Bears in 2012 (new topic). He'll be the scapegoat for this entire train-wreck. Right or wrong. Personally, I'd be glad to see him go.

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    What happens if we keep replying? Will this column eventually shrink to nothing? Answer me, WordPress!

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