The Blackhawks sputtered out at the end of a demanding six-games-in-eight-days stretch, leaving Sunday's Bears' game against the Redskins as the one chance for sports salvation this weekend. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a sick feeling going into the Bears' game, so, in a sense, I was not surprised at the outcome, but it surely provided an ample amount of salt in my proverbial wounds.
The Hawks dropped back-to-back games, losing to the Blues on Friday after entering the third period tied, and the Blue Jackets on Saturday after posting a 2-0 first period lead. Then the sideshow collection of would-be, genius minds gathered on Soldier Field Sunday to coach the Bears to six turnovers and a 17-14 loss. Man... I still feel sick.
Maybe I'm cutting the Hawks some slack, but considering the amount of games they had played in such a short span of days, I can't really blame them. Losing two games that were certainly winnable makes these back-to-back losses a bit harder to swallow though. Still, they sit at 5-4-1 and are tied for fourth in the Conference with 11 points; not bad, but two more wins would have them at least tied for first, if not in sole-possession of it (depending which losses, overtime or regulation, you took away).
Three straight days off should help the Hawks regain their energy and start fresh again tomorrow night against the L.A. Kings. Reportedly, Patrick Kane was practicing with the third line today, so let's wait to see what new tricks and combinations coach Joel Quinneville pulls out of his mustache to jump-start the team after their three-day rest.
The Bears, on the other hand, have now lost three of their last four games and are tied with the Packers at the top of the NFC North with 4-3 records. After starting 3-0, and then advancing to 4-1, there seemed to be a lot of aggressive Bear supporters out there. While this is common among Bears fans, who we know are easily enraged and often plagued with ridiculous notions concerning the team, I felt like I was watching a completely different Bears team than most of us were seeing.
I saw the team inch-by on their way to that 4-1 opening record, and the offensive line was bad at best in any of those wins. Everyone seemed to be mesmerized by the overly-hailed "adjustments" the Bears made in week two against the Cowboys, and then got caught-up by the team winning two of their next three games. Well, where are these game-changing adjustments now?
The Bears have simply given-up on rushing the ball, and this offensive line is bad enough to lose them every single game the rest of the season. While I try to give Cutler a free pass, its impossible to say that he couldn't make better decisions a lot of the time by throwing the ball out of bounds or simply not trying to force receptions to receivers who cannot make the play.
To be fair, however, I'm really not sure how rational I expect a concussed man who is running for his life to think and react. Cutler simply has not looked the same as he did in his absolutely phenomenal start to the year since he was beaten and battered by the New York Giants. Perhaps, at this point, this really is as good as Cutler will be able to play with this offensive line and these receivers in front of him. If that is the case, it simply is not good enough. At the least, fans must hope for Cutler to find a way to release the ball quicker and cut down on the chances he takes trying to force the ball to half-open and ill-equipped receivers.
Next weekend the Bears are off, and the Hawks will be looking for their second and third wins in a row on Friday and Saturday night after taking out the Kings tomorrow. All will better this weekend Chicago! The Bears can't ruin Halloween and the Hawks shall deliver us many brain-soothing goals.
If not, use Halloween as an excuse to get devilishly intoxicated and forget about it all on Sunday while heckling trick-or-treaters from behind your screen door in nothing but a soiled tank-top and tattered boxers. If anyone calls the authorities, just tell them your costume is the current Bears' O-line six months from now: incompetent, lazy, and untalented.