December 15, 2014
Saints 31, Bears 15: The Unholy Season
The Chicago Bears handed out aprons to the first 40,000 loyal souls who walked into Soldier Field on Monday night and they were quickly put to good use catching tears and other fluids flying around a frustrated stadium as the Bears were damned by the New Orleans Saints, 31-15 in another nationally televised kick in the crotch.
It started ugly, stayed ugly and ended ugly, emblematic of an intolerable season that now has the Bears at 5-9 and questioning their choices, their path, their pride and their religion.
The Bears took the opening kick and committed a penalty. Their first play from scrimmage was a two-yard run, followed by an incomplete pass and then a Jay Cutler interception, the first of what would eventually be three on this cold, rainy night that made even Santa Claus a doubter.
The Bears did manage to get the ball back two plays later by forcing a fumble but refused to take advantage of this rare bit of good fortune and instead responded with a weak five-play drive that included a curious incomplete Cutler deep pass on 3rd and 1 and, well, we were really glad we had those aprons.
The Saints, an NFC South powerhouse at 6-8, are not very good either and, like the Bears, couldn’t do much early on as the first quarter of this contest looked less like an NFL game than a shoving match between a bunch of fat guys in a yard full of reindeer droppings.
Alas, New Orleans’ badness was not as bad as Chicago’s and Drew Brees and his fleur de leaf helmeted pals put up 14 points in the second quarter to lead 14-0 at halftime and if it hadn’t been for a spectacular fireworks show, and those awesome aprons, probably many more fans would have left an already sorry crowd that had about 11,000 no-shows at kickoff.
There were actually a lot of Saints fans in Chicago for this game, which proves that people will follow football anywhere, even if it’s bad December football.
The Bears were outgained 443-278 on the night and those numbers would have been far, far worse if it wasn’t for a couple of Bears touchdowns on garbage-time drives in the fourth quarter by which time our hot chocolate was cold, our aprons were soiled and our souls, in tatters since the Green Bay game five weeks ago, were in need of serious spiritual reconstruction if not an outright exorcism.
The Saints committed three penalties for 25 yards. The Bears were flagged nine times for 74 yards.
The Bears turned the ball over three times, the Saints just once.
Drew Brees averaged nine yards per pass attempt; Jay Cutler averaged four.
Brees was sacked twice by the Bears; Cutler bit the turf seven times.
Thank God for those aprons.
The Bears have dropped three straight games giving up an average of 35 points per game and, for the season, are surrendering an average of 29 points per contest, worst in the NFL.
Chicago’s offense through 14 games is scoring at a pace of 21.6 points per contest, 19th best. This, from a team that was expected to have the best offense Chicago has ever seen. The Bears have seen a lot of great offense this year, wearing the other jerseys.
When it was all (officially) over on Monday night we the few, the proud, the cold, the downtrodden, trudged out of Soldier Field into the dark, misty, wintry air and perhaps the most troubling thing was that no one seemed surprised, or even disappointed. Those reactions were all used up against the Panthers, Patriots, Packers and Lions.
At this point, Bears fans are just tired, with no one even heard firing back at the “Who Dat?” chants from New Orleans fans echoing into the cold December night.
Instead, we clutched our aprons and checked our phones for the Bulls score.
They lost, too.