4:59 PM CST, December 2, 2012
This might not be a full-blown disaster, but you can see it from here.
The Chicago Bears let a rookie quarterback on one of the worst road teams in the league go 97 yards on 12 plays late in the fourth quarter to blow what should’ve been an easy home win.
But wait. It got worse. After a Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall miracle that helped the Bears get to overtime, the defense died.
The defense that is supposed to be the best part of the team gave up another inexcusable 12-play drive to a rookie quarterback on one of the worst road teams in the league, this one in overtime, this one covering 80 yards, this one giving the Seahawks a 23-17 win.
Players got tired -- tired of not catching Russell Wilson, who ran a college-like read-option that pantsed Lovie Smith’s defense.
Smith took the blame for not having his team ready to beat a team that almost everybody beats at home. Smith also took the blame for the decision to go for it on fourth-and-inches instead of taking the field goal in the first half.
Smith called that the play of the game. Smith was wrong, but then, he was wrong a lot on Sunday.
Truth is, there were 24 “plays of the game,’’ the ones that Wilson engineered on those last two stunning Seattle possessions.
A 97-yard drive at home? An 80-yard drive right after that in overtime? First place teams don’t allow that to happen. Super Bowl teams don’t allow that to happen.
The Bears allowed that to happen.
The Bears' defense looked old and bad, then turned flat-out miserable on the winning drive when Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings left because of injuries. Old, bad and hurt is no way to get into the playoffs.
I’m not giving the offense a pass, either. It wasn’t as guilty as the defense, but it blew some big chances that would’ve eliminated any late drama.
The team that gets off the bus running couldn’t get two feet on fourth down at the Seattle 15 early in the second quarter. I don’t care who’s on the Bears offensive line -- those guys ought to be able to fall forward for a yard.
Next series, Earl Bennett dropped what looked like a touchdown, and then the Bears defense let Seattle’s rookie quarterback drive 94 yards for a score.
So, instead of a taking perhaps a 21-point lead, the Bears were tied at 7 late in the first half against the kind of road team you send a limo for.
I almost forgot about that long drive in the first half. The supposedly mighty Bears defense, then, was killed on three drives of at least 80 yards. What the . . .?
The Bears defense is built to prevent such things. It is coached to stop such misery. It is geared to create mistakes.
Instead, the Bears made all the important mistakes.
The defense couldn’t handle Wilson’s running, couldn't create the lifeblood that is takeaways, and couldn’t tackle, especially on Golden Tate’s go-ahead score at the end of regulation. Major Wright, Kelvin Hayden and Shea McClellin, take a bow.
The Bears have lost three of their last four. They have lost control of first place in the NFC North. They still hold a playoff spot, but they do not look like a playoff team.
This might not have been a full-blown disaster, but you can see it from here.
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