It's really the only way to describe what happened at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. Complete, abject, failure. At every level of the organization, an inability to execute doomed the Bears. Let's take a look at what the inability to execute wasted:
- Matt Forte has 75+ yards in the first quarter. Doesn't matter.
- Martellus Bennett gets 134 yards receiving. Doesn't matter.
- Ka'Deem Carey gets 72 yards. Doesn't matter.
- Beautifully drawn TD play based on the end-around that you've been setting up for a season and a half. Doesn't matter.
- There was a blocked field goal.
These are things we should be able to look at as positives, and after a loss like yesterday's, it all gets washed away. Here's some reasons why:
- A complete lack of pressure on the quarterback, combined with poor pass coverage. Rodgers regularly had 3+ seconds to stand back, survey the field, and allow Cobb or Nelson to get open.
- Zero QB Hits against a team that allowed nine sacks in 3 games.
- Two interceptions, one via fluke bounce, and one due to miscommunication. (Hint, it works better if receivers can practice occasionally.)
- You had one job, special teams unit, fall onto the ball that hits you while you're running. You can't do that? Surely your legs were fresh because...
- THE PACKERS NEVER PUNTED. The Bears never did, either, but that's because they ended their later drives with interceptions or missed 4th downs.
- It's the end of the half. No timeouts left, enough time to get a play off and maybe kick a field goal. Why doesn't every single route terminate in the end zone?
- Isaiah Frey in the slot.
A lot of the little things could be forgivable, if it wasn't for the big things being so damned glaring. I've worked very hard to give Mel Tucker the benefit of the doubt. I really have. I've given him some allowances for injuries, I've defended how he got square-pegged into the system his first year, but no more. It's been exhausted. Not only were they unable to do basic things, like pressure the quarterback, they provided the springboard the Packers offense needed to get tuned up and ready to go for the rest of the season. Bad defensive line play. Bad coverage by the backs. Bad. Bad. Bad.
The most frustrating thing is, the game started exactly as you'd expect. Two big offenses trading blows, but then the Bears happened to the Bears. Just missed getting to the endzone. A penalty at the half yard line. The Bears end up taking a field goal. The Packers take the lead. The Bears get another one and take it back. And then the Bears finished scoring for the day.
It runs through all levels. Playcalling, offensive and defensive, was bad most of the time. Penalties. Turnovers. Players playing bad coverage. Frey is manned up on Cobb, Cobb just torches him. WCG whipping boy Chris Conte is stuck one on one with Cobb. Cobb steps hard, Conte bites, Cobb's wide open for a touchdown. Again, just little things adding up over and over.
Oh, and Chicago Bears - if you can't take control of the field conditions at Soldier Field, move out of the stadium. Seriously. A cornerback falls down and allows a TD pass because the footing in the end zone sucks. The kick returner falls right on his face because the turf sucks. This is a game broadcast to most of the country and it looks like an episode of Benny Hill at times.
Speaking of, games like this are why nobody respects the Chicago Bears nationally. After watching two big primetime wins by the Bears which were predicated on the opposing quarterbacks making absolutely terrible decisions, the Bears come out against their "rivals", start strong, and then allow Green Bay to do whatever they want at any moment.
That's where the secret is, though. This isn't a rivalry right now. Here's the definition:
It's not a rivalry because there's no real suggestion that they're competing for superiority. Sure, they might field a competitive team against the Packers, but at this point, they're not competing in a manner that is in any way convincing. The Bears are 1-9 in the last 10 matchups. The win came largely in part to an injury to starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Otherwise, it'd probably be 0-10. It could've been 2-8 based on a solid offensive performance at the end of last season, but the defense wet the bed. Still, what's convincing about losing 80% of the time? Once the Bears are able to put together another sustained set of victories against this team, we can re-engage this discussion.
The Chicago Bears have no answers to the Green Bay Packers right now. Until they figure it out, it's not a rivalry. It's a little kid picking fights with his stronger older brother.
By no means is the season over. There are lots of winnable games left on the schedule, and the possibility to make the playoffs. But you're now third team down in the division, and it's awfully hard to make the playoffs from that spot.
Next week: The Bears go on the road to take on a reeling Carolina team. Steven should be back with real notes.
Let us know how you're feeling the day after below.