After 10 weeks of the 2011 season, the Chicago Bears were flying high. Winners of five straight and sitting with a 7-3 record, the Bears seemed to be a playoff lock. Only one player of significance had been lost to injury for the season, left guard Chris Williams.
Then following the win over the Chargers, word began to trickle out that Jay Cutler had suffered an injury that perhaps would sideline him for the regular season. No big deal we thought, our confidence in backup Caleb Hanie showing. Hanie gets us wins in three of the final six games and we’re probably in the playoffs, when Cutler may be back.
One interception on a flawed play at Oakland proved to be the difference in that loss. We’re still OK, we thought.
Then Matt Forte goes down for probably the rest of the season. Now we’ve lost four straight facing the Green Bay Packers on their home field with a national TV audience. We know our backup quarterback resides in Jonathan Quinn territory, and his backup Josh McCown probably isn’t any better. Add to that we’ve now lost Johnny Knox, Major Wright and Chris Conte. Devin Hester has been hobbled and will be for the rest of the season. Forte’s primary backup Marion Barber has proven himself untrustworthy regarding football fundamentals.
The bleeding may not end in 2011. First-round draft pick Gabe Carimi‘s knee injury that originally was announced as a 2-4 week setback will require additional surgery. This puts his return for 2012 training camp in questionable territory. Tell me again how this injury is different from the dislocation 2002 first-rounder Marc Colombo suffered? An injury that caused the Bears to cut him in 2005, precisely when he signed with Dallas and became a five-year solid starter?
So now, following their first loss of the season, the Packers are looking human. With all of their weapons and a virtually assured 11-3 record, what a game we’d be in for on Christmas night. With Green Bay playing poor defense, if the Bears had any way to score points this might be a game.
But they don’t. So it won’t.