RedEye

Is Seattle the game we start Lovie's firing countdown?

Will we look back at the Bears’ embarrassing home loss to the road-pathetic Seahawks and identify it as the game that marked the beginning of Lovie Smith’s end as coach?

Smith is under contract for next season and Sunday’s galling overtime debacle might turn out to be just a bad week if the Bears regroup to finish the season big.

But if not, I don’t think it’s a reach to see the Seattle game as the time Smith moved contract extension to wait a minute.

Smith took the blame for not having his team ready, as well as for a game-turning decision. I believe Smith made the right decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches. The collapse at the end is the bigger problem. The collapse at the end is one of the worst things for a defensive-minded coach such as Smith.

The Bears allowed a 12-play, 97-yard go-ahead drive to a kid quarterback running a college offense late in the fourth quarter. Next drive, Seattle rookie Russell Wilson did it again on another 12-play drive, this time moving 80 yards before throwing the winning touchdown.

Smith’s defense looked unprepared for Wilson's read-option and then failed to adjust. Julius Peppers indicated as much after the game, seemingly indicting Smith. Whatever, nobody figured out anything, and they had 24 plays to do it. Players looked physically and mentally dead by the end.

The Bears lost for the third time in the last four games, a spiral that now includes losing to a bad team along with the failure to beat a good opponent. If they can’t beat good teams and now can’t beat bad teams, then the Bears had better hope they get Illinois in the playoffs.

If, you know, they even get there.

Smith’s football team also lost control of first place in the NFC North on Sunday. The Packers hold the top spot by virtue of beating the Bears -- by virtue of always beating the Bears.

Scary thing is, this deterioration could continue when you consider the Bears’ confluence of looking old and slow on defense, playing inconsistently on both sides of the ball, and getting injured all over the place.

Look, nobody thought they could stink they way they did down the stretch last season. Even without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, real football teams should beat Tyler Palko and Tim Tebow. The Bears didn’t. Smith’s Bears didn’t. Smith’s Bears choked a playoff spot.

That cost Jerry Angelo his job. But not Smith. Bears wonks ordered the new general manager to retain the coach.

But presuming Phil Emery has the authority Bears wonks allege that he has, the GM faces a real decision if Smith’s football team misses the playoffs.

Smith’s football teams will have missed the playoffs for an inexcusable fifth time in six seasons. Smith’s football teams will have won one playoff game since the 2006 postseason. Smith’s football teams also will have failed to win the Super Bowl, which is the big goal Smith himself cited when he took the job nine seasons ago.

On Monday, a day after watching his team choke live and presumably after watching video of it, Smith said he didn’t know why his defensive ends lost outside contain that allowed Wilson to destroy the Bears.

So, to recap, the Bears weren’t ready for Wilson’s read-option, didn’t adjust successfully during the game, and still couldn’t figure it out a day later. Indeed, there’s a great chance that we’ll come back to this game and its fallout as the time the Bears decided they needed a coach who can resolve at least one of those things.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

  • State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    A man was shot multiple times while traveling in a minivan on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway on Friday morning, authorities said.

  • Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    It may sound like an urban legend: Music festival-goers bury bottles of booze in Chicago parks, plot a GPS location for the goods and uncover them days later when the festival comes alive.

  • Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    The Emanuel administration on Friday will propose an experiment at O'Hare International Airport to rotate the runways used late at night, possibly on a weekly basis, to spread out jet noise, the city's aviation chief told the Chicago Tribune.

  • Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Along Chicago's lakefront at Fullerton Avenue Beach, cranes rolled along a causeway that only a few months ago was part of the lake itself. Every day this summer, roughly 40 construction workers are filling in Lake Michigan with dredged material and gravel, which will eventually add up to 5.8 acres...

  • Doughnut panic

    Doughnut panic

    I'm not ashamed to admit that for the past several years, I have mapped my walk to work around which doughnut shop I'd like an excuse to stop at on the way. There's nothing like the thought of a crunchy, craggy old fashioned doughnut or the sweet, yeasty chew of a classic glazed doughnut to help...

Comments
Loading
68°