You could say that the poor performance of the Chicago Bears was due to missing Jay Cutler, or you could say that the San Francisco 49ers defense is just too good. You just can't deny that the Bears still lack the offense to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender.
The reason is simple: It's not in the skill players, where the Bears are fairly stacked. It's not in the quarterback, as Jay Cutler has shown flashes of leading this team well. It's the offensive line—pure and simple.
Jay Cutler couldn't have played any better than Jason Campbell did behind Chicago's offensive line on this Monday night. They were dominated at the line of scrimmage by a defense that was hungry to prove that they were the best in the league but have been dominated at the line of scrimmage all season long.
Matt Forte and Michael Bush have put up stellar numbers throughout the season, but that's a major miracle and a testament to their skill set and talent. Most other running backs in the NFL would have a hard time even getting back to the line of scrimmage with a line that can get bulldozed so easily that a Tonka truck can do it.
This was Chicago's second straight game against an elite defense. In both games, the offensive line was manhandled with ease. Defenders are able to get into the backfield quicker than a Black Friday stampede at Wal-Mart gets to the electronics section.
This is the only reason for Chicago's offensive woes, but a large reason as well. The Bears have had problems with their line for the last four years, yet the only time in that period when they used a first-round pick on a lineman was in 2011 when they drafted right tackle Gabe Carimi out of Wisconsin.
Carimi was out most of last year with a knee injury, but this season he has struggled to protect Cutler and Campbell while attempting to adjust from left tackle to right tackle.
The quarterback can not get the ball to his receivers if he doesn't have time to throw, and to spout the oft-mentioned cliche, football games are won in the trenches.
While Chicago's defense was manhandled by the 49ers as well, that was an aberration that will likely correct itself in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings. Everyone has a bad game, and for the Bears defense, it was unfortunate that this happened to be the one.
But Chicago's offense is a huge concern going forward, and the offensive line is the main culprit. Their weaknesses make them perhaps the most vulnerable of the potential NFC playoff teams.
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