Pack it up, boys and girls, that was the season. Playoff hopes may have died last week against Miami, but yesterday was the Bears' last chance to convince me that there was going to be anything good to take away from this year. There's no more "Well, they could go on a winning streak," no more "work out their issues and finish strong."
This was the game to convince me not to just toss this season in the trash. A road game against a strong opponent, something the Bears had been inexplicably good at to this point in the season. Instead they gave up 51 points and managed to score just one touchdown while they actually had a chance to stay in it. Sure, they ended up putting up 23 points (which is still terrible); but once it's 45-7 I doubt they're really trying super hard to stop you from putting a couple away in garbage time.
I'm not gonna do good, bad, ugly because that's Kyle's thing, and almost everyone would be "ugly" anyway.
Matt Forte, as he always does, found a way to excel. If I have to pick only one thing to hate the Bears for right now, it's the fact that this is more than likely the last year we'll get of Prime Forte and they repay him for his service by letting him have a great day in a 30-point loss.
I guess Marty B caught six of his seven targets for 95 yards and a TD, so I'll give him most of a pass. You did what you could, Marty.
Everyone else—literally everyone else—might as well not have shown up. Brandon Marshall sat out a 4th-and-10 for reasons he refused to explain, and then told a reporter who asked him about it that the whole question was "whack, bro." It might be, Brandon, but so is bailing on your team on 4th and 10. He finished the day with a whopping 3 receptions for 35 yards, despite his team-high 10 targets. Alshon caught one of the aforementioned garbage-time touchdowns, but was otherwise quiet.
The defense produced no turnovers and just one quarterback hit, a garbage-time sack of Patriots backup QB Janeane Garofalo. And then Lamarr Houston injured himself celebrating said pointless quarterback hit. He's having his knee MRI today, which I can only assume will reveal his knee is just gone. Bang-up job, Lamarr.
Kyle Fuller started for some reason, despite his broken hand and hip pointer, and quickly came out of the game. Thanks for risking the health of your only promising young defensive player in a game where you gave up fifty-one fucking points. Probably worth it.
So that'll just about do it for the 2014 Chicago Bears. They go into the bye two games south of .500, which means they'd have to win seven of their last eight to even have a chance of making the playoffs. They will not win seven of those eight. The way they've looked this year I would be surprised if they win four of those eight. Games against Tampa and Minnesota mean they shouldn't be first-overall-pick bad; but they haven't shown anything in the last five weeks that gives me a glimmer of hope against the Packers, Saints, Cowboys or Lions.
I don't know what we're going to do. It seems pointless to write a recap every week that says "Bears still bad." We can only really Hatecast one time before it becomes sad. They're having a normal presser today, so to my knowledge nobody has been fired or moved or whatever so far; if they're just in a holding pattern of being really bad, the next nine weeks are going to be delightful.
I don't know who you punish for a systemic failure to do anything on the field. It seems hasty to fire a coach after only his second season, but clearly whatever's happening out there is more than just players making mistakes. You don't go from the second-best offense in football to... this... overnight without a breakdown somewhere higher up the chain. You don't have top performers fall silent for weeks at a time because "everybody has bad days."
I'm not on the Fire Trestman train yet, but how far away can we really be at this point? You can axe Mel Tucker, but even a decent defense can't turn 21 points per game into a contender. You can trim the roster fat, but—as we have said so many times before—who do you even replace? And more importantly, with whom do you replace them?
It's baffling to me that there are people who can watch how utterly shitty this team is in every way and come away with just "Cutler sucks," but let's explore it for a second. You chop or trade Jay Cutler. Who in fuck's name do you give his job? Who's just waiting out there that can turn this star-crossed circus of failure into a juggernaut?
There's not really a lot you can do talent-wise with this offense. Every non-Garza person out there except for Jordan Mills has earned the right to more than one bad season. We've seen every one of them perform at a Pro Bowl level. The defense is another story, but it's not like the offense is playing any better.
So I guess it has to be Marc. Year three shouldn't be guaranteed when you're talking about a guy who was bounced out of the NFL years ago because he couldn't get a head coaching gig from people who were afraid that exactly this thing would happen. I'd argue that year three shouldn't ever be guaranteed. If you bring a guy in to fix your team and your team gets worse, you shouldn't be obligated to just sit on him for five years in the name of fairness.
So I'm not saying Marc Trestman should be fired today. But I'm definitely saying that, come January, it might not be a bad idea to consider it. The whole point was that he was going to give this team the offensive push it needed to become a contender before the offense ages out. If he can't do that, we might as well just bring in somebody to hold down the fort while we rebuild.
We get a reprieve from this hell unending thanks to the bye. I'm sure Kyle will write something, though I've no idea what. I guess we'll see if they can figure some things out and at least look like they're trying against Green Bay, but at this point I'm in "watch it until the three-possession mark and then go play video games" territory. Speaking of which, the new Civilization is really fun and you guys should play it with me. It never crushes my hopes and dreams and leaves me embarrassed to be wearing a Jay Cutler t-shirt at the store.