Last night was bad. Real bad. Something none of us want to see from our favorite team any time soon. Obviously. Of course it had to happen against our rival on our rival's home turf. But, at the end of the day, it's one game. You hear NFL teams say all the time "you can't get too high or too low." That is good advice for fans too. It's beyond rare for a team to win all 16 regular season games. Most fans said the Bears would drop the game at Lambeau to the Packers, so let's not overreact. Yes it was painful and bad, but I for one, am hopeful that this is going to be a turning point for the 2012 Chicago Bears.
Why weren't there more quick passes called? Why wasn't there more max-protect? Why did Cutler hold onto the ball so long when he knew he wasn't getting protection? Why didn't they try to change up the receivers' routes to beat the coverages that were clearly shutting the Bears corps down?
I don't know and I can't answer those questions. I do now that I don't blame Cutler for yelling at J'Marcus Webb and I do not believe he owes the offensive line a public apology (as I just saw Tedy Bruschi ask for on SportsCenter). I do think that Cutler should privately take some of the blame (which we wouldn't know if he does or not) as well as do that publicly because the national media is getting its "Cutler is an immature baby" stories rolling.
Cutler held the ball too long last night and was throwing late. Two of those INTs though I didn't think were solely on him. On the deep pass to Brandon Marshall, he couldn't step into the pass like he wanted because of pressure and then on the throw to Earl Bennett, Bennett just stopped and did not continue back towards his QB, which would have helped cut off Charles Woodson's break on the ball.
Anyway, that's enough for my take on the game, but I couldn't help but come away last night thinking of three games from last season. For the Bears offensively I couldn't help but think of 2011's week two loss to New Orleans, the week three loss to Green Bay and the week five loss to Detroit.
All these games had a common theme: offensive line meltdowns. Now, the Packers and Saints losses also featured defensive meltdowns resulting in big plays for the opponents.
Now, Cutler played much, much, much worse last night than he did in any of those three games, but the point stands because those three games became a springboard for everything that happened after that, especially the loss in Detroit.
After Cutler played the game of his life in Detroit dodging defenders, scrambling for his life to make plays, that was when the offense started to come together and make it's mark.
Yes, it's still early this season, which is another reason for optimism. After one good win over a bad team and a loss to a good team for the Bears and Packers respectively, everyone seemed to overreact. All we can say with certainly is that on September 14, the Bears cannot hang with the Packers.
The offensive line is still a work in progress, just like it was at this time last year. Cutler and the new WRs are still working out the kinks of a new offense. All is not lost. My hope is that the Bears use this like they used the Lions game last year to go back to the drawing board, rally around each other and emerge as a team with something to prove.
Even if we don't see the results right away next week that's OK. My best guess right now is that the Bears go into their bye week at 3-2 (beat the Rams, lose at the Cowboys and win at Jaguars) and emerge once again from the bye week with an offensive line that can finally gel and get some mojo going. As of right now, I see three winnable games following the bye (home vs. Detroit, home vs. Carolina and at Tennessee).
It's one loss to a team that even after a week one loss was still the class of the division. The NFC North isn't won in September. The Bears will still play like we all know they can play. They will still win 10 games. All is not lost. Last night will end up as a turning point. Just like 2011. Just in 2010.