For the first 45 minutes of yesterday’s game, I loved looking at Eli Manning’s befuddled face and thought I was watching the New York Giants melt down once again late in the season.
Then late in the third quarter, I watched the Bears snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I haven’t used that phrase since the Wannstedt and Jauron eras-but that’s exactly what these 2007 Chicago Bears did yesterday. Yes, I watched on the edge of my seat until the final incompletion, hoping they’d pull it out, but now I’m almost relieved that the 2007 season is unquestionably over. I have been saying for weeks that I have felt the season was over, but for God’s sake I have been hoping the Bears would prove me wrong. They didn’t.
Of course we will be hearing the standard line that until they’re mathematically eliminated, they are fighting for that playoff spot. I’m sure this will go on for the next two losses. To me, it would be refreshing to hear Lovie Smith say “we are still fighting for a playoff spot, but since that is exceedingly unlikely, we feel it necessary to get maximum repetitions to guys like Kyle Orton, Garrett Wolfe, Josh Beekman and Jamar Williams to strengthen our chances in the coming years.” But that won’t happen, so I don’t know why I am wasting my time with it.
NO, I AM NOT one of those people that think Kyle Orton is the savior. But at this point we know what we have in Rex Grossman and Brian Griese. So let’s see what we have in Kyle Orton. Yes, we saw what we had in him his rookie year, and I can’t say I was overly impressed with what I saw in the preseason, but let’s have a look at him, Wolfe, Beekman and Williams. And keep Fred Miller and Adam Archuleta on the bench, please. That was the main positive from today.
Wow, I thought I was dreaming. The Bears running a no-huddle offense to start the game, led by Rex Grossman down the field for a quick touchdown? Unbelievable. Then true to form in the second half, Chicago squandered countless opportunities with excellent field position and didn’t score a point in the final 26 minutes of the game.
I don’t know if it’s playcalling or execution on offense. The real media refer to me as a “cowardly blogger,” so I’ll leave it to them to figure that out since they actually get paid to know all of these things. What I do know, though, is that the Bears have slipped far behind in the NFC North for at least the next few years. I’ve been saying this for weeks, but am more and more convinced of it as the losses pile up.
The only thing that has changed specifically with that opinion is that the Vikings have replaced the Lions as the team with the Packers to watch for the future. With a solid defense, Adrian Peterson and a massive offensive line, the Vikings and the retooled Packers will be forces to reckon with as the Bears flail to rebuild over the next several years. The last few weeks have shown me that the Lions are still a farce, even though to their credit they swept the 2007 Bears-in-disarray.
Sorry to have to say it, but I think it would be better to blow up most of the offense for next year and start from scratch, attempting to re-sign Grossman to an incentive-laden two year deal while rebuilding is taking place. The more I see teams like the Packers, Vikings and Cowboys retool, the more I believe and agree with guys like the late, great Jim Finks that you build your teams from the line out. So until the Bears rebuild an offensive line, they have nothing.
NFC Champs to NFC Chumps, what a bummer.