7:55 PM CST, December 11, 2011
It's not Tim Tebow.
It's not divine intervention.
It's stupid and bad play by the Bears.
Marion Barber was the worst offender of both stupid and bad. He wasn't alone -- the defense, the coaches, the embarrassing quarterback and receivers deserve to be smacked -- but Barber was the worst.
First, Barber ran out of bounds to stop the clock with less than two minutes to go. If Barber wasn't so mind-numbingly stupid, then the Bears would've killed Denver's hope and the growing belief that Tebow was born in a manger.
But no. Barber stopped the clock. The Broncos got the ball back and kicked the game-tying field goal, their 10th point in the last 2:08 of regulation.
But that was nothing compared to Barber's horrific choke in overtime, fumbling inside the Denver 40, well within Robbie Gould's range at altitude. The Broncos recovered and eventually kicked another field goal. Ballgame. Season.
Oh, it might not officially be the end of the Bears' season, but they stink right now and they're getting worse.
The Bears took the field knowing their wild-card competition in Detroit and Atlanta had won. Now the teams over which the Bears had tiebreakers are in playoff spots instead of the choking, embarrassing Bears.
This isn't just Barber's fault. No, it's the coaches' fault, the general manager's fault, the quarterback's fault, and the defense's fault.
Yeah, you heard me, the defense's fault. That unit takes a good deal of blame for this choke. Whether it's the chicken decision by the coaches or the players' failure at the end, but their silly prevent defense prevented nothing except a Bears win.
They let a quarterback who's actually a tight end look like a quarterback. Tebow killed the Bears down the stretch after looking like Cade McNown for three quarters. Tebow killed the Bears because the controlled pass rush all game wasn't backed up by tight coverage. Bears defensive backs challenged almost nothing at the end. Even a thrower as bad as Tebow can play catch, and he did.
But you know what's worse than the Broncos' fake quarterback?
The Bears' fake quarterback, that's what.
Caleb Hanie can't play in this league. Neither can his receivers. Bears playoff hopes ride on a bunch of players who can't play in the NFL. That's some scouting by the general manager, huh? We all can only pray there's truth to the story about Jerry Angelo's likely retirement. He has been exposed more than ever at the most excruciating time.
Hanie and his receivers were bad on Sunday. Bad again. Bad as usual. They have combined to help kill the Bears the last three weeks, all losses since Jay Cutler went down. Connect the dots.
Without Cutler, the Bears can't afford mistakes. But all they seem to do is make mistakes. Hanie overthrowing wide-open receivers. Receivers flat dropping gimmes. The Bears' failure to convert something like 16 straight third downs going back to the entire game before.
These Bears make some of the worst errors at some of the worst times. That kind of stupidity from a veteran running back is unacceptable. I don't know how you let him on the team plane home.
That kind of pathetic quarterback murders hope. I don't know how he's on a roster. I don't know how a lot of players are on that roster.
I don't know how the head coach can say he saw progress in his fake quarterback. I don't know how the head coach can say his team wasn't playing a prevent defense when his defensive backs seemed to be 20 yards away from being 10 yards off the ball.
But it kind of sums up these Bears in this death spiral. Bad offense and dumb decisions make for a lethal combination.
And no postseason.
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