Bears' Unraveling Continues
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 19, 2011 4:30PM
Watching the Bears of late has been like visiting a terminally ill family member. You feel obligated to do so, but you know it's going to be difficult. While there may be moments of optimism, deep down you know the final results are a foregone conclusion.
Such is the state of 2011 Chicago Bears' season. While it once looked promising when their record stood at 7-3, Sunday's ugly 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks dropped the bears to 7-7 and ends almost all hopes for the postseason.
The game began with the Bears losing yet another of their key offensive pieces for the season. Early in the first quarter, wide receiver Johnny Knox caught a Caleb Hanie pass and fumbled after taking a brutal hit that bent his body backward. Down on the field for about ten minutes, Knox was finally strapped to a body board before taken by ambulance to the hospital. The Seahawks converted the turnover into seven points after a penalty on a blocked field goal attempt gave Seattle another set of downs to punch it into the end zone. The Bears countered with a TD of their own when Julius Peppers stripped Tavares Jackson in the end zone and Israel Idonije pounced on the ball. In the second quarter, the Bears took a 14-7 lead when Caleb Hanie connected with Kahlil Bell for a 25-yard TD strike to cap a 10-play drive.
From that point on, the Seahawks dominated the game.
Seattle bounced back to score 31 unanswered points in the second half, including 14 in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Completions of 33 yards to Golden Tate and 43 yards to Ben Obomanu set up Marshawn Lynch's second touchdown of the day less than two minutes into the period. On the Bears' second play from scrimmage in the second half, Hanie's pass was batted, intercepted and run back 20 yards by defensive end Red Bryant. A 14-7 lead became a 21-14 deficit less than three minutes into the third. Seattle tacked on a field goal in the third quarter before adding two TDs in the final period. The first was set up by a punt return to the Bears' 29 yard line. The final points of the afternoon came on yet another pick-six, this time by Brandon Browner, who returned the ball 42 yards for the score.
On the afternoon, anie completed just 10 of 23 passes, plus the three completed to the other team. He threw for 111 yards and one TD, with a pitiful 33.3 QB rating before yielding the ball to Josh McCown late in the game. McCown managed to get picked off, too, despite just two pass attempts. With Knox lost early in the game, the Bears played with only 4 receivers available, which included the dinged up Devin Hester and the no-hands Roy Williams. Kahlil Bell became Hanie's favorite target, catching 5 passes for43 yards. Bell also got the bulk of the work on running plays, gaining 65 yards on 15 carries. A week after two boneheaded plays cost the Bears the game, Marion Barber got 11 carries.
With the loss — their fourth straight since Jay Cutler's injury — the Bears fall to .500 and can forget about the playoffs despite their promising 7-3 start. All they needed to do was go 3-3 during Cutler's absence, but Hanie is clearly not up to that task. He has thrown three interceptions in three of the four games since he took over. It's time for him to take a seat, and Bears fans can only wonder what might have been had the Bears been able to land Kyle Orton. Orton, along with Thomas Jones, led the Kansas City Chiefs to a surprising victory over the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers. Glad to see at least the 2006 Bears can beat the 2011 Packers.
We'll get to see how inept the 2011 edition of the Bears are against the Pack next weekend, when the two NFC North rivals face off at Lambau Field on Christmas night (7:20 p.m. NBC-TV, WBBM 780 AM/105.9FM).