The Chicago Bears have spent October making their harshest critics and most vocal doomsayers look amazingly prescient. To start the month, they broke an NFL record for the most sacks given up in one half (nine), and to end it Jay Cutler helped DeAngelo Hall tie the record for most interceptions (four). In the last two weeks, the Bears offense has squandered literally dozens of chances to take the lead in what were easily winnable games. The coaching staff has combined baffling play-calling and infuriating in-game decisions to make gift victories to the Seahawks and then the Redskins, neither of whom played well enough to beat an even moderately competent team. The Bears seem to add a new, unexpected element of ineptitude each week in the month of October.
After a 3-0 start in September, the Bears have gone 1-3 this month, defeating only the dreadful Carolina Panthers. A Chicago team that had some fans believing they could go all the way now seems doubtful to even make the playoffs, even in an NFC North whose competitiveness had been sorely over-estimated. This team is sinking like a stone, tied to an anchor, chained to the Titanic. Who is to blame for this sudden descent?
That's right, Chicago fans, the Bears defense is the culprit. They've been giving you false hope, stringing you along, keeping scores close in games that were really blow-outs, making you think that opportunities to win existed in games where the offense could barely execute a huddle. Meanwhile, the coaches avoided logic as if it were poison oak.
Admittedly, this week they got a little help from a Washington offense that was nearly as incompetent as the Bears'. The Redskins' Brandon Banks dropped the opening kickoff, and for much of the first half, Washington's receivers followed suit. Anthony Armstrong let a TD pass bounce off his gloves and on the next play Chris Cooley couldn't find the handle at midfield, forcing the Redskins to punt. They fumbled and lost the ball, fumbled and recovered, even fumbled and batted it out of bounds. The Redskins didn't look like a team that particularly wanted to win.
But they did win, and they might have won big, instead of squeaking by with a three-point victory.
Only the Bears defense kept this game from becoming lopsided. D.J. Moore might have actually won it if his second interception of the day, an apparent touchdown, hadn't been called back on a fluky Washington delay of game penalty; it was just that kind of day. The Bears defense held the Redskins out of the end zone on seven drives that began at or near midfield. And at one point in the second half, with the ball on their own 13-yard line, they pushed the Redskins back until they were out of field goal range.
They held the Redskins offense to one score. Even the New York Giants, who absolutely nullified Chicago's offense, could only muster 17 points against the Bears defense. If the Bears offense could even somewhat limit the blown routes, whiffed blocking assignments, and other assorted miscues, and if the Bears coaching staff could wake up to the fact that a conservative, ball-control offense would allow the defense to propel them to victory in most games in this years NFL, this could be a very potent team.
But unless that happens, and there's no reason anymore to trust that it will? The Bears defense is just whispering sweet lies into fans' ears.