Cheer up, Bears fans. I said cheer up!

Daylight saving time ended this weekend, which leaves us bracing for four months of early sunsets.

The Bears are also entering their own traditional period of darkness, which this year involves a groin injury to Jay Cutler and a still-aging and still-injured defense that despite a bye week is still old and still hurt. We understand that periods of bone-deep malaise are a part of any Bears season.

Last year gave us the Jason Campbell Monday night game in San Francisco, when a porous Bears offensive line coughed up five and a half sacks to an out-of-his-mind Aldon Smith, and as a result the offense managed a meek 143 total yards as poor Campbell suffered visibly from PTSD symptoms.

The year before we had a run of six Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown starts that turned a promising 7-3 season into a ragged 8-8 team. The year before that we had Hanie starting in the playoffs.

I'm not suggesting there's a curse of some kind or that Cutler is some porcelain doll, as some of the more churlish Bears fans have suggested. I'm merely pointing out that Bears fans, through years of exposure, know and recognize when a dense fog of brutally ugly football is about to descend on our city.

We are like old-timers in rocking chairs with balky knees that tell us when it's about to rain. Except the metaphorical "rain" of unwatchable Bears football arrives in Chicago a lot more like sunset than a complicated atmospheric fluctuation. You could almost set your watch to it.

But there is hope, Bears fans. The team just had an extra week to rest their aching bones. Their record still stands at 4-3, firmly in the hunt for an NFC wild card spot. The team is traveling to Lambeau this week to play a Packers team that is suddenly as thin at wide receiver as the Bears are at defensive back.

And with the way the injuries are stacking up, even if this squad has enough losses hung on them to collapse the season, the new coaching staff and front office should at least get a long, functional look at players from the abysses of the depth chart.

Worst-case scenario, we'll get them next year when the sun comes back. You've got to keep a positive attitude when times get tough. If there's anything the Bears have taught us, it's that, like clockwork, we might not have a choice.

RedEye special contributor Ben Johnson is a comedian at iO Theater in Chicago.

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