After Sunday’s baffling, embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, reports surfaced of shouting from the Bears locker room. Of fingers pointed, fans griped at, and voices raised.
The confusing thing to me is that people are acting like that’s a bad thing. That it’s unwarranted. Because you know what? They should be mad. I’m mad.
Ever year, I get excited in the months leading up to the season. Every year, they make just enough moves to make it look like they’ve solved their problems. And every year, every Goddamn year, this doomed, underperforming shitpile of a team finds a new way to be just good enough to get my hopes up.
So yes, boys, point fingers. There’s blame enough to go around, because damn near every one of you fucked up on Sunday. Just put Ratliff, Willie and Forte in the other room and let it all out.
One of the deepest, most talented offenses in the league used that impressive depth and talent to just kind of… fuck around behind the line of scrimmage a little bit. As Kyle so succinctly put it, Trestman got so scared of the Fins’ pass rush that he didn’t even make them pass rush.
Matt Forte had two carries in the first half. That’s un-fucking-acceptable. Marc tried to say that it was mostly because they only ran 18 plays in the first half, as though 1) those two things couldn’t possibly be related and 2) a run-to-pass ratio of 1:8 is the sign of a perfectly normal gameplan.
The fish rots from the head, as they say for some reason; and in this case Marc is the start of all of this. The game is won and lost by players, sure. But when you call a screen that relies on Josh Morgan’s blocking on every second down, you’re not really putting your players in a position to win. Your players shouldn’t have to dig a victory out of the dirt because you’re scared of Cameron Wake.
Mel Tucker called his patented “Don’t Interfere With Them In Any Way” defense, in which the defensive backs just kind of stand three to five yards away from every receiver and then halfheartedly tackle them once they’ve caught the ball. Someone once told Mel “don’t give up the big play,” and he apparently took that to mean “give up literally every small and medium play.”
Ryan Tannehill—a man who, for all I say about him getting a raw deal in the media, is still Ryan Fucking Tannehill—got off to the hottest start of any QB in the league this year. A week ago, this defense held the #3 scoring offense in the league to 13 points, and against the Dolphins they might as well not even have been there.
Mel has improved so much this season, despite a couple rocky ones. He called aggressive, active defenses in several games this season and the worst you could say about him as that there were a couple bland ones in there. And then this happened. Whatever strange Scarecrow toxin got into Marc got into Mel, too, and he called Lovie’s “7-point Prevent” literally the entire game.
I don’t even know what to say about the coaching in this turdburger, honestly. I know a lot of noise is made about “armchair quarterbacking” and “Monday Morning Coaches,” but Jesus fucking Christ. I really think I could’ve called a better game than that.
Not that the players get off that easy. With the exception of Matt Forte, every player on the offense looked slow, sloppy and bad. The line couldn’t keep Cutler clean for the two seconds it would take for a receiver to actually make it to a first down. And I don’t want to hear that Miami’s pass rush is really good. I know they’re good, it’s still your fucking job to not let them hit the quarterback. When you don’t do it, we get to be mad at you.
Jay himself was uninspiring in the extreme. He was clearly rattled by the pressure, delivering a number of balls high or behind the target, including one that was so far back it was ruled a fumble. The interception was… confusing to say the least, but three miscommunication-based interceptions in four games means it’s not just the receivers fucking up.
I think the pick was far less damaging than the six drives that ended in punts in the first half, but HE TREW A PICK, so he might as well go in the garbage can now I guess. I’m trying to be moderate about this one, because it was really far from the worst thing that happened on Sunday. I could give a shit about the fumble, that’s just gonna happen when you’re trying to throw footballs and the guy whose job it is to prevent large men from hurting you is facedown in the dirt looking for cool bugs so he can gross out girls.
The receivers were called on to play screens all day, which sucks, but God damn did they do a terrible job of it. The blocking, evasiveness, and sheer physical advantage we’ve grown accustomed to were nowhere to be found. Instead, we got these slow-moving zombie versions of everyone.
The defensive line actually didn’t do a horrible job, mostly thanks to Jeremiah Ratliff celebrating his now-healthy brain by murdering several men. They could’ve done a better job against the run I guess; but when you’re asking four men to do the work of an entire defense, something is going to slip through. That something being a thirty-yard QB run on 4th and 1 is not great, though.
The linebackers were certainly on the field. What they were doing there is anybody’s guess, but they were there.
And last but not least, the secondary. Sure, if Mel calls for soft zones you give soft zones. But you still have to cover the guys in those zones. I didn’t see one Dolphins receiver catch a pass with a Bear anywhere near him all day. The tenacity and power they displayed against much larger, better receivers a week ago was replaced with an incredible respect for the personal space of Dolphins pass-catchers.
I know Kyle already covered the nuts and bolts of it in the recap, but I just need to say negative words about this team right now. Year in and year out I put up with this bullshit. I invest every Sunday morning in a losing enterprise, and then I have to go out in public like I didn’t just experience yet another heartbreak at the hands of a group of men groping a rubber ovoid. I defend them far past the point of reason.
And they repay me, year after year, by achieving way less than they should. I don’t even care if they’re bad. I’d rather be bad than underperform. I can take a bad team; I’m a Cubs fan. But this team should be good at football. All the pieces are there, and we’ve seen them all perform.
So what the fuck is wrong with them? There’s just got to be something broken at the heart of this franchise. Some monkey curse or Satanic pact or something that explains the fact that they haven’t managed to contend for a Super Bowl in 40 years—including the year they went to a Goddamn Super Bowl.
Year after year, I write a column about how wrong and stupid Rick Morrissey is for predicting this team to go 8-8. I write thousands of words—and speak thousands more—about how good this team can be. But you know what? They never are.
Every time I’ve talked about how asinine the Sun-Times’ latest reason for doubting this team is, I’m the one who ends up being wrong. Telander thought Jay Cutler’s diabetes was triggered by a sack once, but I’ve predicted the Bears to make a deep playoff push for three straight years; so who’s really the stupid one here?
I know I’ve spoken before about good, engaging writers who are broken by the sheer number of times they’ve tried to give this team the benefit of the doubt and gotten nothing but heartbreak in return. And while I’m sure I’ll be right back to expecting the world of this team next year, I think I’m finally in a place where I get it.
The Bears are bad. I’ve never said that before in my life. The Chicago Bears, as an organization that is ostensibly responsible for fielding a team that wins football games, are just not good at their jobs. And it’s not just this season, or this front office. For all that everyone wants to talk about how “AT LEAST LORVIE PUT A TUFF TEAM ON DA GRIDIRON” right now, those teams never won shit either.
So, various reporters I’ve called stupid, glue-sniffing animals over the years… you were right. Jay Cutler hasn’t taken the steps he needs to take. The Bears aren’t a team on the rise. Phil Emery can’t fix all of a team’s woes in a draft. Marc Trestman was bounced around the NFL and eventually exiled to Canada for super valid reasons. You may have still been wrong or stupid sometimes, but I can hardly say I’m any better anymore.
So I’m sorry to all of you. I’m still going to rip your articles up on principle (and because the first time this team sniffs victory I’ll disavow ever having said any of this despite it being posted online). But maybe I’ll stick to the ones about how the Bears should draft Manti Te’o or how Brandon Marshall is a ticking time bomb. Maybe I’ll just leave the general negativity alone. You’ve earned it. We all have.
Except for Steve Rosenbloom. Fuck Steve Rosenbloom.