Picks and Sacks; Familiar Story with Familiar Bears, Still Just A Pretender

So, Chicago, you think you’re a Super Bowl contender? So confident that you wished to wish the defending division champs, Super Bowl champions two years ago, and the team that went 15-1, “good luck” in their home opener?

Yeah, about that.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten that your offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL. It might even be one of the worst in all of Illinois, and let’s not kid ourselves, Illinois isn’t a hot bed for elite college football programs. Then again, I don’t know how you could have forgotten that, it’s been that way for a while now.

Bears quarterbacks were sacked 49 times last season. That number is even more outrageous considering the vaunted Bears defense recorded 33 in comparison. Only the Vikings were worse at protecting the passer last year. But, hey, that’s improvement. In 2010, nobody in the NFL did a worse job at keeping their quarterback upright than Chicago. Seriously, how do you allow 56 sacks in a single season? That’s 3.5 sacks allowed per game. I can’t even wrap my mind around how a team does that.

Or maybe Bears fans have forgotten who their quarterback is. They can’t possibly be surprised at a 28.7 rating, or four interception game where he’s sacked seven times, can they?

This was the 23rd multi-interception game of Cutler’s career. That’s one in every four starts. He’s only had 25 career games where he DID NOT throw an interception. So you can’t be possibly be surprised that he’s careless with the football. This is a guy with 50 fumbles and 91 interceptions in 80 career regular season games. Yeah, be very shocked that a guy who loses the football twice a game for his career has a tendency to make boneheaded plays.

The fact that the Bears have done nothing to help the offensive line only exasperates the situation. Not only do you have a quarterback who is careless with the football, you have an offensive line that forces him to be even more careless because he’s either throwing the ball within an instant of receiving the snap, or he’s throwing it while running for his life.

Do you know how many offensive linemen the Bears drafted this past April? If you guessed zero, you’d be correct.

Sure, everything looked wonderful with 428 yards and 41 points in week one, against Indianapolis. Green Bay isn’t Indianapolis. Neither is just about any other team in the league. Certainly not any of the playoff contenders the Bears aspire themselves to be among.

The Green Bay Packers offense was not itself, not close, and for the second straight week. It didn’t matter, this game hardly seemed in doubt. The Packers defense dominated. Or did it? The domination was certainly aided by the continued implosions by the Bears offense, no question.

In any event, that it was only a 23-10 loss is a minor miracle for the Bears. Were Green Bay’s offense even clicking at a B- level, the Bears probably drop this game 37-3. When you get outplayed in the way the Bears did by a team not playing it’s best, that should tell you something.

The 168 yards produced by the Bears offense Thursday night against the Packers is lower than their lowest output of 2011, and do you remember some of the people they had at quarterback last season? Caleb Hanie started four games. Caleb Hanie never threw for 2500 yards in college, or was a part of a winning team. Yet even with him at the helm, the Bears offense never produced a day like this.

Oh sure, the Bears gave Matt Forte the money he wants. But who’s going to block for him and help keep him healthy? Wait, what was that? He’s already hurt again this year?

Sure, they brought in Brandon Marshall and drafted Alshon Jeffrey, but who’s going to block for the quarterback to allow the quarterback to get them the football? And if they did block, is the quarterback going to get them the football, or the man covering them?

The Chicago Bears made plenty of big splashes during the off-season, but it’s the same old story. It does not matter who is catching the football, who is running it, or who is throwing it. If the offensive line doesn’t block, none of them can do anything.

The schedule alone is going to be enough to afford the Bears to likely stay in the playoff hunt, the number of good defenses this team will face this season is remarkably low. In fact, it’s arguable that they only have four or five more games left all season against challenging defenses, so they’ll be in the playoff race.

But with that will come a false sense of security that they’re doing things right in Chicago. In 2010 there was a trip to the NFC title game (unquestionably aided by a Seahawks home upset of a superior Saints team) that reassured them they were on the right track. Last year it was a solid start only for the year to be derailed by injuries.

Newsflash, you still turn the ball over too much, and you still can’t block anybody. That’s okay, keep getting by while feasting on weaker teams. You will remain a pretender Chicago. Trust me, the rest of the actual contenders in the NFC thank you.

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