The 2014 Bears season should come to a sad, disappointing, whimpering end around 3:30 p.m. central time Sunday. Then the focus will shift to pink slips, coaching searches, rumors, "team brass," "closed-door meetings," and many other such phrases and subjects that revolve around disappointing, double-digit loss teams.
Many might sit back and say that individual milestones don't matter, especially in a season as disappointing as this one.
However, I feel that these milestones and in some cases records, are the only slivers of joy that can come out of such a lost cause of a campaign. Is it hollow? Heck yeah, but it's certainly better than nothing. I feel like life can't be walked through looking only at the negative things. Yes, it's ultimately about wins and losses but when the best players are playing their best, winning shouldn't be too far behind. Despite the wins not coming around this season, it still will at least be something of a consolation prize to see some records fall.
The first player with a chance to crack the history books is quarterback Jay Cutler. It's somewhat ironic that in what could very well be his final game as a Bear, he could break a couple of longstanding records and cap off a rocky career with the team.
Cutler, despite being benched last week, needs just 199 yards and two touchdown passes to break Erik Kramer's single-season franchise record for passing yards and touchdowns. Cutler sits at 3,640 yards and 28 touchdowns, trailing Kramer's 1995 marks of 3.838 and 29 TDs. Cutler would then hold three of the top five single-season franchise passing seasons in yards. He also could break Josh McCown's 2013 single-season mark for completion percentage. Cutler sits at 66.1 percent, just a few tenths off McCown's 66.5 mark from a year ago. With 36 passing attempts he could break his own record, set in 2009, for pass attempts in a season (555). He's already set a franchise mark for completions in a season this year with 347 (and counting).
He could also have the distinction of leading the league in both interceptions and turnovers. He currently leads the league in both categories with 18 and 24, respectively. Blake Bortles, Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers are the only three with a shot at surpassing Cutler in the INT category as Bortles enters Week 17 with 17 picks and Rivers and Luck each have 16.
Luck is actually the only one with a shot to catch Cutler in turnovers though, as he is tied with Cutler's six fumbles lost on the season for 22 total turnovers. Let's be honest though, does anyone really think Cutler can play a turnover-free game at this point?
Behind Cutler, Matt Forte has a shot at some personal milestones as well as NFL records.
Forte is 13 yards shy of having his third consecutive 1,000 yard season for the first time in his career. He also needs six catches to go with his 13 rushing yards to become the second RB ever to have 1,000 rushing yards and 100 catches. LaDainian Tomlinson is the only other back to achieve that feat. With eight catches Forte would break the single-season NFL record for catches by a RB set by Larry Centers in 1995.
Forte trails Rick Casares by two touchdowns for third place on the all-time franchise TD list (57 to 59).
Alshon Jeffery has already become just the fifth player in team history to record multiple 1,000 yard receiving seasons, joining teammate Brandon Marshall as well as Marty Booker, Curtis Conway and Harlon Hill with two each. With one more touchdown reception he would match the franchise mark for consecutive games with a TD catch, seven, which is currently shared by Ken Kavanaugh and Conway. Jeffery is just four catches shy of 200 for his career and reaching the feat in his 42nd game would be the second-fastest in team history to that mark, trailing only Brandon Marshall who did it in just 29 games.
Martellus Bennett already has the distinction of being just the second tight end in team history to have two seasons with more than 65 catches, joining all-time great Mike Ditka. Bennett can only add to his single-season record 82 receptions by a TE.
Unfortunately I could not find any defensive records that were on the cusp of being broken or set. This is due to both the youth on that side of the ball and their lackluster play. Tim Jennings needs an interception to avoid having a goose egg in that category for the first time since 2007, when he was in his second season in the league.
While these records may ring hollow in such a down season, if nothing else it will be something to watch for Sunday as the season finally ends.