Monday Morning Quarterback: Bears-Broncos (12.11.11)
December 12th, 2011 - 8:56 am
Marion Barber fumbled away the ball, the game, and the small hope of making the playoffs this season.
How does one summon the strength to comment on the Bears’ heartbreaking, 13-10 loss to a mediocre Denver Broncos team? My words are coming from a heavy heart and they will be brief and direct.
The ultimate result doesn’t surprise me, I guess, considering I predicted a three-point loss for the Bears. Still, it doesn’t feel good to be right in this situation considering the Bears had the game in their grasp and they fumbled it away — literally.
The easy thing to do is blame Marion Barber — and rightfully so — for serving the win to Tim Tebow and the Broncos on a silver platter by making not one, but two critical mistakes. But he isn’t the only one to blame for the loss.
Sure, he could have, and should have, stayed in bounds when the Bears were trying to run out the clock in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter while protecting a three-point lead. But the Bears defense, which had played great for three and three-quarter quarters up until that point, didn’t have to allow Tebow to drive the Broncos offense into field goal range, did they?
In overtime, the Bears won the toss and elected to receive and Caleb Hanie, who had played awful for four quarters, completed a few passes and helped drive the Bears into field goal range for the potential game-winning field goal. Barber, however, had the ball stripped from him and the Broncos defense recovered, setting up a game-winning drive. But the Bears defense didn’t have to allow them to drive down the field once again, did they?
The fact is, the Bears offense played like crap for most of the game, the defense was lousy on the two most important drives, and Barber made two critical mistakes.
I’m not ready to line up Barber in front of the firing squad without his offensive teammates standing next to him. As for the defense, we’ll just shoot blanks at them.
Yeah, the meatball fans will line up to condemn him and say that the offense played just good enough to win the game and they had the victory within their grasp until Barber gave it away, but is that what everyone is going to be pinning their hopes on from this point forward? Being “just good enough?”
The fact is, the Bears are on the outside looking in at this point. With the loss to the Broncos and wins by the Lions and Falcons, the Bears are a game out of the playoff chase and they’re also tied with the Cowboys and Giants at 7-6. They have three games remaining and one is against the Packers, whom they have zero chance of beating.
I repeat, they have zero chance of beating the Green Bay Packers.
To even be considered for the playoffs, the Bears have to beat the Seahawks and Vikings, a tall task for a team that can barely move the football down the field and one that is 0-3 since Jay Cutler suffered a broken thumb.
The real question is, are the Bears even good enough to be in the playoffs? Do they deserve to be there? And does it make any sense whatsoever for Cutler or Matt Forte to rush back from their injuries?
It’s over. The season, the aging team’s window for a Super Bowl, and possibly the front office as we know it, if there is any truth to the NFL.com rumor that Jerry Angelo may retire at season’s end.
I know the third item on that list is refreshing for Bears fans to hear. The first two, however, are bitter pills to swallow.