In a lopsided game coming off their bye week, the Chicago Bears’ 36-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has sealed their fate.
There is no logical explanation for what happened in what should have been a winnable game. The Chicago Bears have the tools in wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and a hungry defense. Well, at least it appeared that way against the Minnesota Vikings prior to the Bears’ bye week. It was the best game quarterback Jay Cutler played in a long time. The players were charged up and couldn’t wait to play with their captain back at the helm.
However, it was great for a moment, then reality set in. A reminder of the Bears very own quarterback curse. Fans will remember Good Rex-Bad Rex (Grossman) who took them to the Super Bowl, only to break their hearts losing against the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.
Cutler’s four turnovers and numerous incompletions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday were consistent to how he has played for most of his career. But after a stellar return from a six-week absence, how could a quarterback collapse in epic fashion so quickly?
One contributing factor could be that he had too much time off. After being off for six weeks, Cutler plays in one game and instead of keeping the hype and drive going, the bye week came at the worse time. This caused him to lose his rhythm. When a team starts to get a momentum, one break in the action can throw everything back out of sorts.
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Since their last Super Bowl appearance, the Bears have had several opportunities to win their division, but to no avail. For the past several years the Bears have had nothing but poor performance from top to bottom. The firing of Marc Trestman and hiring of John Fox was supposed to fix that. At first, it appeared that help was on the way. Then Adam Gase jumped ship for his own head coaching job in Miami and the Bears had no real plan going forward.
Think about it. In what way did the Bears office really think Dowell Loggains could fill Adam Gase’s shoes? Loggains was hired as a quarterback coach for a reason. And if allowed to stay at that position, he could have corrected Cutler’s turnover issues. However, Loggains does not have time for that as he tries to scheme an entire offense towards wins. And what’s worse is that Fox doesn’t seem to get it.
There have been several head coaches this season who have opted to fire their offensive coordinators, such as the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams are now winning games due to that decision. But not the Bears. Fox has continued to allow this season to hit the fan and spread the odor of a losing record to create a stench in Chicago. Maybe the McCasky’s need to fire Foxy and promote Vic Fangio as interim head coach. Either way, something’s got to give if the Bears are going to finish the season with dignity.
Not even benching Cutler would help. No one can speak for Cutler but Cutler. He is the only one who knows why he came in after the bye worse for wear. However, he did appear to be favoring his throwing arm, which is not a good thing. However, the only other healthy, “viable” option they have at quarterback is Matt Barkley. Even if he gives his all, that’s not doing the Bears any favors given his severe limitations.
But let’s not forget the additional blow to this team: the performance of Alshon Jeffery and his lack of urgency in making plays. He has dropped numerous balls that in previous seasons, were easy catches. And now, with a PED suspension, he will most likely be playing somewhere else next season. But the nail in the coffin are the weekly injuries that have riddled this team to its core.
The Bears will need to do another house-cleaning after this season is over. They will have to hire another head coach, offensive coordinator and most likely draft a quarterback.
In truth, the Bears are capable of winning games the remainder of the season and finish with a 7-9 record. But the players have exhausted all attempts of believing in their quarterback to take them to the promise land. There is no confidence in Fox or Loggains in coaching this team. But as Fox challenged them this week to dig deep, maybe they will find a way to save their season. Frankly, the Bears need more than a spark. They need a miracle.