Maybe Scrooge was right.
The only thing more depressing than getting pummeled mercilessly by the Packers in Green Bay is having it done on Christmas. On national TV. Wearing a new sweater. And nothing else.
It was all over but the post-mortem for the Chicago Bears even before the Christmas massacre at Lambeau but the 35-21 nutcracker officially eliminates the Bears from playoff contention and allows all Chicagoans to spend the rest of winter giving love to the Bulls, Blackhawks and the ghost of John Belushi.
Starring under center this week for the Bears was Josh McCown who just a few weeks ago was coaching high school which is what Lovie Smith might be doing next fall. McCown fared better than his predecessor, Caleb Hanie, largely because the Bears committed to running the ball even though they were also once again without Matt Forte and Marion Barber. Kahlil Bell got the call and responded with 121 yards on 23 carries which makes Chicago supporters wonder why he wasn’t given much of a chance to be Forte’s caddy to begin with. Maybe we never needed Barber.
McCown went 19/28 for 242 yards, was picked off twice and tossed a meaningless touchdown so late in the game that Lambeau parking lot bratwursts were already half price. But putting McCown on the same field as Aaron Rodgers is like putting Ernest Borgnine on a Victoria’s Secret dating site. Rodgers shredded the Bears defense going 21/29 for 283 yards, no interceptions, a career-best five touchdowns and six votes for Christmas King.
There was some hope for the Bears at various points in this one just like there was some hope at Jonah Hill’s house for a VD-free Hanukkah. But every time the Bears got close it was like the kid who finally finds a good hiding spot in the darkened basement during hide-and-seek and then farts.
Six weeks ago looking forward to this matchup was like getting ready to unwrap a really big present under the Christmas tree: You didn’t know what you were going to get and the bigger the box could mean the greater the disappointment but whatever happened, it was going to be worth talking about. Instead, with no Jay Cutler or Forte and the Bears coming off four straight losses and the Packers no longer in pursuit of perfection this one was about as fun as flirting with a member of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Watching the Bears secondary against the Packers receiving corps makes Baby Jesus cry.
The Bears have now done something no NFL team has probably even attempted before: losing to the same team four times in one calendar year. That’s right, last season’s regular season finale was in January and it was that loss to the Packers that allowed the Pack to sneak into the playoffs where they promptly jacked the Bears a few weeks later in the NFC title game in Chicago. The Bears then fell to the Packers at Soldier Field again this September and now this, the Christmas Crapathon.
The Bears now get to ring in the New Year in Minnesota, which is sort of like losing your virginity to some knotty pine. The Bears-Vikings New Year’s Day game won’t have Cutler, Forte, Adrian Peterson or any TV viewers. Once the ugliness on turf is over the Bears will, instead of getting ready for the playoffs, prepare for an offseason in which they have to seriously consider firing their head coach, GM, offensive coordinator and traveling secretary.
The Bears need to make changes. They need to draft better and get pissed off that the NFL’s charter franchise has not been the league’s best since 1985 and has only won two championships since 1946.
The Bears have a long, long way to go before they’re an organization anywhere near the Packers, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens or Google. But they owe it to us to try. It’s the least they can do after ruining Christmas, crapping on Kwanzaa and giving Cris Collinsworth more excuses to talk.