Chicago Bears' 2012 Season Disappointing Regardless of Playoff Berth

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Chicago Bears' 2012 Season Disappointing Regardless of Playoff Berth
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The Chicago Bears (9-6) finally got a win on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive, albeit against the struggling Arizona Cardinals on the road.

Now they have to take care of business and defeat the Detroit Lions (4-11) at Ford Field this Sunday. After that, they'll have to root for their most hated rivals in Green Bay (11-4) as they visit the Minnesota Vikings (9-6).

But whether or not the Bears sneak into the playoffs this year, this season has been very disappointing considering the expectations the fans and media gave Chicago at the beginning of the season.

Many believed the Bears could be a favorite to make it to Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans, including ESPN's Madden simulation that predicted the Bears would face the New England Patriots in the championship game.

Through Week 9, Chicago looked to be one of, if not the most, dominant teams in the NFC with a 7-1 start to the season.

Then the Bears lost at home against the Houston Texans (12-3) by a low score of 13-6. The Bears then lost at San Francisco (10-4-1) without quarterback Jay Cutler leading the offense.

After a win at home against Minnesota, the Bears lost their next three games hosting Seattle (10-5), at Minnesota (9-6) and against Green Bay (11-4) at home.

In all of their losses, the Bears offense was inconsistent on their offensive production. A lot of blame goes on the offensive line being as poor as we've seen in the last three years.

While the front office for Chicago has gone and picked up key signings in wide receiver Brandon Marshall and running back Michael Bush, management still seems to ignore the white elephant that is the line.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears Gabe Carimi (72) has been a disappointment on the offensive line since he was drafted last year.
But you can't blame all of the offensive struggles on the big men. When you look at Chicago's offensive numbers, the Bears are the 29th-ranked passing offense in the league.

With the offseason move to bring in Marshall, it almost doesn't make sense. But there hasn't been another key receiver to help give Cutler another option in the passing lanes.

Marshall has 113 catches for 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories. He also has 179 targets, which is the most by more than 100 over running back Matt Forte's 58 targets.

While it's good to have the tailback as part of your passing game, I think some of the problems behind the offensive struggles are that there has not been a true second option for Cutler to throw to.

Rookie Alshon Jeffery has suffered some injuries this season, but I haven't seen the Devin Hester experiment work after the last three years. Earl Bennett is not stepping up like I had once hoped.

This would have been a good time to get Johnny Knox back from his injury last season, but the road to recovery from the spine injury he suffered last season in a December loss to Seattle has been arduous.

The offensive issues have been masked during the 7-1 run by the dominant play of the defense. But in recent weeks, we've seen cornerback Tim Jennings and linebacker Brian Urlacher go down with injuries of their own.

The defense showed their lack of depth when they weren't able to stop the one-dimensional offense that was Minnesota's rushing attack in the 21-14 loss two weeks ago.

Regardless of whether Chicago makes the playoffs, this year's Bears did not turn out the way many expected, partly due to nothing being done with the offensive line.

One would hope that is addressed after the season's end, because some of the current Bears defensive stars may only have a few more years left in the tank.

The time for guys like Urlacher to win a championship is running out.

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