I'm usually not the doom and gloom type. I have my occasional high's and low's, but I try and maintain an evenness through out my posts. I even sat on the premise for this one so I could cool off and look at it from all angles. But all the angles look bleak. The loss to the Chiefs was a bad one. It was bad on so many levels. So if your looking for high hopes and sunshine, you may not want to hit the jump, because I think we're looking at a 7-9 team the rest of the way.
I was expecting Caleb Hanie to build off his second half successes against the Raiders last week and be able to play well enough to pull out a few W's. But what a difference a week makes. Hanie looks to have regressed and the play calling of Mike Martz didn't do him any favors. I know it's only one game and he could bounce back and be the game manger the Bears need, but I'm starting to think his poor play is the norm and his flashes of competency the exception. If Mike Martz refuses to dumb down the responsibility for Hanie I fear it'll keep getting worse. He just may not be able to sit in the pocket and read the multi-levels on his route progression. Taking it to the defense in practice is one thing, doing it consistently at game speed is another.
While watching the Chiefs call plays for Tyler Palko (the Bears just lost to Tyler FREAKING Palko!) I wondered why Martz wasn't doing more of that stuff. The play action waggle roll-outs with only one or two reads. A guy in the flat or on a very shallow out route with a back side post or a play side post corner. Two reads, and if it ain't there run.
There's something else that I've been fooled on. Just because the Bears pass protection has improved, that dosen't mean the offensive line has improved. I'll breakdown the seven sacks later this week in my Sackwatch post, but my initial observation on them wasn't good. If Martz isn't sticking with the max protects the Bears will have a chance to evaluate Nathan Enderle or Josh McCown.
Now we have to factor in the loss of Matt Forte, and I really don't think the Bears will win another game this year. At this point in his career, Marion Barber is a complimentary back, a very good #2, but he can't get to the edge and defenses will game plan to that fact.
Chicago can not expect the defense and special teams to win games for them any longer. The NFL is a different league, and their offense needs to score. I truly believe that if Jay Cutler were under center the Bears would be sitting at 9-3 with solid control of a wildcard spot in the NFC, but with no Cutler and no Forte, who do you have confidence in to find the end zone for the Chicago offense?
Taking a look at the remaining games, I really thought the Bears would beat the Broncos, but that was before Hanie laid an egg in Soldier Field. What's he gonna do in Mile High? I think the Bears D will give Tim Tebow some fits, but unless the offense can put up a few TD's the Bears will lose.
Then the Seahawks to close out the home schedule for week 15, and they won't be the gimme that I thought they'd be. Especially with Marshawn Lynch finding his form. If they can run the ball just enough and Tarvaris Jackson can manage the game, the Bears will lose. Seattle is solid against the run, and if Chicago can't run with Barber or Kahlil Bell do you see them winning behind their passing game?
With or without something to play for, the Packers will bring their A-Game for the Christmas night showdown. Unless a Christmas Miracle has Cutler and Forte ready to play, this is a loss for Chicago.
The Vikings aren't a very good team, but winning in the Metrodome is tough. This one could go either way, but the Vikes could catch their stride down the stretch if Adrian Peterson is healthy and Christian Ponder is settles in.
I hope I'm wrong, I really do, but this is just how I see it playing out.