A digit. One single, unique digit.
Totally unlike the other four on each hand, it is the one that is most needed in order to grasp or hold anything with any reasonable amount of potency.
I know this first-hand, no pun intended, as I had surgery to repair a torn thumb tendon back in 2007.
Little did many of us know that that single digit, when inoperable, would be the end of the Bears 2011 season.
When Jay Cutler fractured the thumb on his throwing (right) hand against the Chargers in week 11 of the season, many fans and most pundits were optimistic that they could win half of the remaining games (of which there were 6. They were 7-3 after a 31-20 win) to finish with a 10-6 record, and qualify for the playoffs. It seemed easy enough, with three more games, out of four straight, including the Chargers, coming up against the inept AFC West, with NFC Championship Game hero Caleb “is our quarterback” Hanie stepping in for the injured Cutler.
At Oakland, vs. Kansas City, at Denver.
A loss, another loss, and the most improbable regular season snatch of defeat from the jaws of victory since the Week 6 2008 debacle in Atlanta. In that game the Bears inexplicably squib kicked with :11 seconds to go after scoring a touchdown, only to have Falcons’ Matt Ryan complete a 26 yard pass play to Michael Jenkins, he got out of bounds and Jason Elam kicked the game winner as time expired.
This one was worse.
They controlled God’s quarterback (the improbable Tim Tebow) for three quarters, holding him to 3-16 passing, and interception and a forced fumble, only to have the defensive line run out of gas in the high altitude.
Even still, the game was winnable, DESPITE the ineptitude of Hanie, who ran the offense as if were an attempt to prove how ineffective he could be. If you don’t trust him to run your offense, he should not be on your roster Jerry Angelo. I mean, they ran fewer plays than were offered on Nintendo’s Super Tecmo Bowl.
It is criminal that the season was progressing with so much promise, only to go down the toilet due to the ineffectiveness of Hanie. Sure, Marion Barber is the biggest goat for running out of bounds (The Broncos were out of time-outs) with less than two minutes remaining, and fumbling away an almost certain game winning field goal. If not for his gaffes, #12 would be under the hot lights of interrogation.
In 3rd down situations during the three-game losing streak, the Bears are 8-40 on 3rd downs, good for a 20% conversion clip. They were 0-11 against the Chiefs and 2-15 versus the Broncos.
That is primarily on the quarterback and to clarify, that is not very good. (Prior to the slide, they were converting at 39%.)
For all of those Bear fans that questioned the ability and toughness of Cutler, I hope that you can see how good/important he is to the Bears success and how much of a stalwart he has been, as he has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the league since coming to Chicago.
Hanie was fool's gold, a mere mirage back in January in the NFC title game. I knew it then, and all of you should know it now.
Sadly, the entire NFL world knows it, and it is only a matter of 3 weeks before the Bears go into hibernation for 2011, all because of one broken thumb.
There is no need for Cutler to rush back to get onto the field this year, and neither should Matt Forte for that matter, because the 2011 season is over.
It should come to an end on December 25th against the hated Green Bay Packers.
The very same day the Bulls begin play in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Oh yeah, that’s right, they have reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose!