I could handle the Bears' loss to the Raiders last week; they were on the road, against a good opponent, with a quarterback making his first career start. This week, however, was a different story. It seemed early everything that could wrong, did, hence the Murphy's Law reference. I was a lot angrier this week. Let's take a look at what really grinds my gears about yesterday's loss.
First off, can we all agree that Jay Cutler is a winner, leader and overall the man for the Bears? I won't say he's elite, but he's clearly better than a lot of QBs.
Going on from that, we're stuck with Hanie. Clamor for McNabb, who is, in my opinion, done in this league, all you want, beg for Josh McCown, who has a track record of doing squat in this league, or ask for a rookie who looked lost in the preseason against future UFL players, but for better or worse, Hanie is our guy. He gives us the best chance to win, even if that is, apparently, no chance.
Maybe Hanie can get it together in his third start, a la Tyler Palko, but Hanie is mindbogglingly (I was going to say "mindblowingly" but Firefox spell check suggested the former word and that is way cooler) inconsistent. He starts slow, really slow and then he flashes moments of shear brilliance! He plays much better in the second half, making me ask halfway through the third quarter, 'is he a poor man's Tebow?' Considering he can't finish these games he must be a homeless man's Tebow but still.
The Bears could have won 24-3. An uncharacteristic missed field goal, another bobble from Roy Williams that turns into an interception, Forte getting hurt, Peppers getting hurt (albeit briefly) and then Wright leaving. Steltz performed admirably, but I can't help but think Wright's speed was missed.
After Peppers left the game I texted my brother (A Packers fan, who lives in St. Louis with his Chiefs-fan girlfriend) and said "Man alive, the Bears have now lost their three best players; Cutler, Forte and Peppers" That hurt the team, luckily Peppers missed almost no time, but it was at that point that I felt like the game was becoming un-winable.
It seemed like everything was going against the Bears, right down to the ticky-tacky defensive holding call on Tillman. Then that freak Hail Mary turns into a TD for the Chiefs.
If I had come onto WCG at this point in the 2009 season, when Cutler was throwing INTs left and right and seemingly everyone was down on him, would you have believed me if "FutureGallopingGhost" was commenting that in two years we couldn't win without him? That Hanie was throwing picks that we KNEW Cutler wouldn't throw? Would you? Doubt it. I know I might not have believed it, even if it was Future Me telling me.
The Bears face a must-win game that, when the schedule came out, I was looking forward to like no other. Cutler, returning to Denver? Facing a bad Broncos team with a new coach? But alas, it's not to meant to be. It would have been nice for Cutler to face his nemesis in McDaniels but as it is we have Hanie vs. Tebow.
I got to say I don't feel great about it. I have trouble believing Hanie can win more than one game remaining. The Bears need to seriously sit back and look at what Hanie has done and the severity of Cutler's injury and possibly put him on IR.
My biggest problem with Hanie these two games has been that he has blown otherwise impressive efforts from the defense. The defense did their job and did everything possible to shut down the opposing offenses and then Hanie comes out and goes three and out. The Bears have had their troubles on third down all year but it reached a peak yesterday going 0 for 11 and the offensive line fell back into it's old habits giving up seven sacks. Hanie didn't seem to want to scramble around much like he did so willingly last week and he paid the price. A lot of the time I felt like he was just locking onto Knox and when he wasn't open either throw it away or take a sack.
It's not all Hanie though, what about Martz? Why was Kahlil Bell in for two or three consecutive series to start the second half? Marion Barber was doing a heck of a job, averaging four yards a carry and then he just silently was taken out of the game and when he came back it seemed like it was so late in the game, what was the point of pounding the rock at the Chiefs? Why did they get away from the hot hand? It made no sense to me.
I am not saying stick your fork in the Bears. They aren't done, but you can get your forks out and maybe peak at the meat thermometer and see how close it is to being ready. The Bears are in serious trouble and without Forte or Cutler? I just can't see us going 3-1 the rest of the way.