We know it was bad. And it was real, real bad. It's as bad a loss as I can remember under Lovie Smith. We had the game, we had it but then just boneheaded plays that went the Broncos way, mixed in with what I felt was way too early soft zone/prevent-style defense and the Bears ended up losing. It sucks because I will find ESPN unwatchable for the next day or so. Overall it's just a tough one to swallow. We actually got an OK game from Hanie (hard to believe we can give THAT performance a passing grade but from what we've seen we'll take it). Which brings me to my point: the Bears need to stick with Caleb Hanie going forward.
After the game last night, I almost immediately flipped over to CSN Chicago to watch Bears Post Game Live (I had a tweet scrolling on their ticker, btw) mostly to escape the inevitable Tebow butt-kissing that was already commencing on FOX. Anyway, just as I suspected, the four guys who host the show immediately put the blame onto Marion Barber and tried to deflect credit from Tim Tebow, and honestly I was so upset that this helped me cope a bit.
Anyway, the next thing that happened was the host, Pat Boyle, starting clamoring for the Bears to bench Hanie and turn to someone, anyone else. The other guys quickly agreed, save for Dan Jiggets. I have to go with Jiggets on this one, as bad as Hanie has been the Bears have to stick with him. Here is why:
1) We all know that no one, NO ONE, can come in off the street and step in and do a better job. I don't care who you are, I just can't believe any rational NFL fan would think that would work. A guy needs time to learn the offense (few, if any, available guys have experience in the Martz system), he needs to time to work with the receivers and get comfortable with our backs and offensive line. and time is not on the Bears' side at this point. There are three weeks left, the Bears are barely clinging to a hope of a playoff spot and right now they can't afford time for someone to adjust.
2) But someone has to be better than Hanie, right? False. No one is going to be better than Hanie at this point. First of all, we've already heard McCown was having trouble fitting in and was struggling in practice and such. Sure, maybe he was finally elevated to second string and took some first snaps last week. Great, doesn't mean he can win games for the Bears. McCown is 12-19 as a starter and for all the hoopla made about him spending a year in Detroit with Martz, he never took a snap in a game in the offense. You really want to turn the offense over to a guy who has never played a meaningful snap in the current offense? How could it be better?
But how could it be worse? Maybe it couldn't but I doubt it. The only thing Hanie has going for him now is that he has experience with the team. Three games in and he hasn't shown much but he is clearly growing. I believe turning on him now would hurt his confidence and send the wrong message. Turning the offense over to a guy who two weeks ago was sitting on his couch is sending up a white flag on the season. I don't think that anyone can give a spark to the offense who isn't wearing number 6.
For better or worse the Bears are married to Hanie. He didn't turn it over yesterday and perhaps he can finally get it together and show something. The guy deserves at the least, one more half of a game, but I don't think we're going to do any better, so Hanie it is and Hanie it should be.
Now, I shouldn't go down this path. In fact it pains me just thinking about typing it out but after yesterday's gut-punch loss and watching the media again praising Tebow for his efforts, I couldn't help but think about what could have been.
What Cutler's injury really robbed us of, other than the playoffs, is a chance to see one of the more interesting stories play out. We had a chance to watch the fifth-most hated NFL player play against his former team, who have vilified him for forcing a trade and play, specifically against one of the most beloved players in the league and the media darling and an out-spoken Christian man of faith in Tim Tebow.
My goodness; Football Jesus vs. the Denver Antichrist. Bears fans would've loved rallying behind that. That would have been a sight to see. Now it'll be four more years before we have a slight chance to see that match up. Not that I'm even sure that Tebow will still be a starter in four years time. How great would that have been.
Lastly, can we start wondering if Tebow is using his powers for evil? I mean he has to be praying for the other team to turn it over, miss field goals and play poorly. Isn't that a little unfair? Anyone's God wouldn't be crazy about that, would they?