"These Bears Just Not Right"
The Bears locker room felt like a morgue. Their loss in the Lion's Den left them lifeless, stunned and soul-searching. Roy Williams sat with his head in his hands. Devin Hester just stared into his locker.
The Bears know what everyone else knows even if they're not saying it: this team isn't going to go any farther than last year with this roster.
By itself that wouldn't be a problem for a team with low expectations or in re-building mode. The problem is the Bears believed this was the team that would get them back to the promised land and teams are huffing and puffing and blowing their house down.
"We played like $h!t," Brian Urlacher said.
"We need to find our identity," added Tim Jennings.
Its not like they Bears are being blown out. Their defense goes from looking like it has teeth to long-in-the-tooth on the next play. Jay Cutler had a 99 passer rating and almost 250 yards. Matt Forte had over 100 yards rushing and over 5 yards a carry.
But 14 penalties including 9 false starts and big plays given up on D were the key. Its not just that this team is undisciplined and unfocused, they're over-matched. While the Packers and the Lions have loaded up on talent the Bears continue to believe their system is what will take them there. But the players though don't seem to believe it now.
Roy Williams sounded a lot like T.O. when I asked if the offense should have taken more shots downfield.
"We just go with the plays that are called," Williams said with a clenched smile.
"Mike Martz gets the big bucks. If he calls a play its because he sees something."
The Lions were daring the Bears to throw deep and only a few times did they connect downfield. The 77-yard touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson reminded fans what the Bears are truly lacking--a legitimate downfield threat.
Devin Hester is the best return man in the history of the game. But his second half drop on a deep ball from Cutler confirmed it. They won't win with just him stretching defenses.
The Bears may still make the playoffs. They had a slow start last year. But after coming together at the end of last season they should be farther along than they are.
Their talent level may be comparable to their division-wining team last season. The problem is everyone else-it seems-is better.