The Caleb Hanie era to begin for Bears.
Well it all seemed too good to be true. A team that has never had a good quarterback finally has one and now this happens. The Bears the past five weeks have looked as good as they have since 1985. Recent years they've had some success making the playoffs and even a Super Bowl, but in all those seasons they seemed to have as much luck on their side as they did skill. This year they have also shown skill.
After a somewhat slow start, the Bears have finally put together an impressive run and have been outright beating teams. Over that stretch they are averaging about 32 points a game. Yes the defense has played well and forced turnovers and we all know about Devin Hester and the Special Teams. What makes this season special has been the offense.
Most of the praise this season has been given to Matt Forte and the Bears running back deserves all of it. He has been one of the best running backs in all of football this season and the Bears have needed him in just about every game. The guy that deserves a lot of the credit this season has been Jay Cutler.
With very few weapons besides Forte, Cutler has made the most of a below average receiving corp and not much of an offensive line to play like an all pro. When we last saw Cutler before this season, he was being labeled a "softy", or not a team player, or weak. Fans were seen burning his jersey in the parking lot after not coming back into the NFC Championship game with a knee injury. He was being blasted by fellow NFL players for not finishing the game, and talk radio was dominated by upset fans who wanted Cutler out and would like to see Caleb Hanie get a shot. Well to all you Hanie fans out there. You finally got what you wanted.
Jay Cutler reportedly broke the thumb on his throwing hand against the Chargers Sunday and will most likely be out until the playoffs at the earliest. That is if they can even make the playoffs. Hanie is an unproven backup who's main playing time has been in the pre-season. The Bears will probably need at least three more wins, possibly four, to be a wildcard team. With Cutler that wouldn't be a problem. With Hanie we don't know. Expect teams to stack the box to eliminate Matt Forte, which makes Hanie much more important.
As a Bears fan I am just sick at the news of Cutler's injury. The Bears have looked unstopable and with a favorable schedule ahead, a long playoff run seemed very possible. Now what looked like 11-5 or 12-4 has all the look of 8-8 or 9-7. Whatever you do Jerry Angelo please don't bring back Todd Collins or call Brett Favre. It's time to live or die with Caleb Hanie.
Injuries are part of the game of football and all teams go through them. It just hurts that much more when it's the leader of your offense and the man who was looked at to lead the Bears back to a playoff run.