Morning Box Score: Bears Fall to Cards 41-21
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 9, 2009 4:00PM
Maybe the Bears aren't who we thought they are. While we thought this team was certainly among the top few in the NFC, they are proving to be mediocre at best. Playing against the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field on Sunday, the Bears got killed 41-21 by a team who entered the game with an identical 4-3 record.
The game got ugly right from the start, when Tommie Harris was ejected for punching prone Arizona guard Deuce Lutui in the face. The 15 yard penalty helped the Cards drive and score a touchdown on the game's opening possession. The Bears countered with a touchdown drive that covered 90 yards on just six plays, and had fans momentarily thinking we'd be witnessing a shootout. But, like Cincinnati did two weeks before, the Cards managed to find the end zone on each of their first four possessions and a field goal on the fifth, while keeping the Bears off the board for the rest of the half -- score at intermission was an ugly 31-7. While slightly better than the 31-3 deficit to the Bengals, the "Monsters of the Midway" have allowed more than 30 points in a half for the second time in three weeks after just five such games in nearly 90 seasons. With Urlacher already done for the year, Harris likely to face a league suspension, and shoulder injuries suffered by both Charles Tillman and Al Afalava, this defense doesn't look capable of turning things around anytime soon.
On offense, Jay Cutler and team were able to move the ball with some success -- at least through the air. Cutler threw for 369 yards on 29 of 47 passing, and found tight end Greg Olsen three times in the end zone for touchdowns. But his interception midway through the fourth quarter quickly turned into an Arizona TD and all but ended any hopes for a comeback. Because they were playing from so far behind, the Bears didn't have much opportunity to use their running game -- Matt Forte carried the ball only five times for 33 yards.
With the loss, the Bears fall to 4-4 on the season and we all now realize that this team is not going to the playoffs. Any high hopes after the Cutler acquisition have been tempered by an awful defense and sub-par offensive line. Head coach Lovie Smith took over the defensive play calling this year, but it's had little effect. The team is 22nd in the league in points allowed. The offense has had trouble running the ball all year and the team's inability to score in the red zone is astounding. As much as the McCaskey clan hates paying two coaches, they seriously need to consider firing Lovie Smith before his contract is up, and bring in a new head coach. Mike Holmgren, Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan are all available. Somebody at Halas Hall need to keep them on speed dial.
Nothing is likely to happen this week, however. The Bears have just three days to prepare for their next game as they face the San Francisco 49ers in San Fran on Thursday night.