I'm going to begin this screed by stating that Seattle is just as gray and cold as every hack comedian ever joked about it being. I spent five days freezing my ass off and my reward, while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight home, was to watch 3 quarters of that disaster yesterday. By the time I got to my connecting flight in Minneapolis a migraine had begun. I fully intended to do this recap last night, but my first move after getting out of the car was to vomit, swallow some ibuprofen, and slide into bed just after watching Al Michael's prematurely splooge over another AMAZIN FAVRE KUMBACK (ignoring of course his 3 interceptions, which, despite Jay's bad game, I'm still allowed to laugh at because Lord Favreicus now has 14 turnovers and a 68.0 rating, well below the 84.7 Jay's sporting even after yesterday's debacle) before the TD was overruled.
When I woke up this morning I hoped I'd feel better. Physically, I do, since I no longer want to drill a spike into my skull in order to let the pain demons out, but I still have no answers regarding yesterday's game.
Everything I said last week still applies. The Bears still stand in first place. Their two biggest rivals in the division are still sporting as many holes as they are. Aaron Rodgers actually has more interceptions than Jay this year. The Vikings suck. The NFC as a whole is still a fetid lagoon of shit, driven home by the fact that New Orleans can, over the course of three weeks, lose to the Cardinals and Browns thanks to 7 Drew Brees interceptions while pounding the Bucs (who are tied for the NFC South lead in the loss column) by 25 points. The Bears are still, as bad as this game feels, well within the playoff hunt.
Buuuut...Jesus Christ that hurt. Yesterday was the first time since he arrived that I truly felt that Jay Cutler was a liability at quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Now, unlike every mouth-breathing hilljack that likes to view Jay as the cause of all ills in Bears land, I don't think his first multi-interception game since last November really disqualifies him as a legitimate NFL quarterback. But you'd have to be an even more pathetic Jay Cutler apologist than I (and no such beast exists) to lay the blame for yesterday's loss on anyone but #6's shoulders. The Bears defense was not going to allow any points in that second half. It wasn't going to happen. Cutler could have taken a knee on every drive in the second half and won that game. When you lose a game like that, it fucking hurts and those ARE the kinds of games where you have to turn to the quarterback first when assessing the damage. Sorry, Jay. Don't let it happen again. There's more than enough time to dig yourself and your team out of this hole.
As for the rest of the team? Hester and Knox gave me some rather terrifying flashbacks to last year's rookie-like experience for both of them. Troy Aikman wanted to give them the blame for two of those four picks, and while I'd normally jump on the chance to exonerate Jay, it wasn't their fault that Jay threw it to DeAngelo Hall. Both were poor decisions, but they wouldn't have hurt as badly if Hester and Knox had come back and helped Jay out. He didn't give them the greatest chance, but they should have done more.
Matt Forte and Chester Taylor actually ran the ball well once Martz figured out how to move the ball in the short-passing game. I hope this plan of attack carries over. The quick hits killed the pass rush, opened holes for the running game and eventually opened things up for Mike's beloved deep ball. Martz actually called a pretty good game after the first quarter. Jay just can't do what he did. Forte's fumble was inexcusable, however, and I wish I knew why his hands have turned to stone after he was excellent protecting the ball his rookie year.
As for the defense? They're the only reason I'm still somewhat on the positive side of the ledger when assessing this team's playoff chances. They aren't a mirage. Troy Aikman made me LOL yesterday while saying that the Redskins defense wasn't as bad as their numbers because they've played quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo, then he stated that the Bears' defensive numbers were a mirage because everyone but the Lions and the Panthers have "moved the ball well" against them. Could that be because they played quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo, Troy? Also, holding the Lions to 168 yards of total offense is no laughable feat anymore. In their other 5 games against opponents who aren't the Bears the Lions have averaged 26.4 PPG and 371 yards of total offense. They're actually really good on that side of the ball, surprising as that may be. This defense absolutely dominated the Redskins yesterday, and it's tragic that their efforts were rewarded in such a way. If the Bears defense continues to allow just 14 PPG (which is what their opponents have scored if you take away the Dez Bryant punt return TD in Dallas and the Hall pick-six yesterday), they're going to be in every game the rest of the way. This offense is capable of moving the ball like they did in the 2nd and 3rd quarter with consistency. If they can find away not to fuck away every god damn opportunity in the red zone they can probably scrape out the 20 or 21 PPG they'll need to make the playoffs in this wasteland of a conference. That's still a big fucking if.