With the NFC North division title and a playoff berth on the line Sunday night in Philadelphia, the Chicago Bears looked like a team with nothing to play for as they were blitzed 54-11 by the Eagles, who interestingly enough, didn't have anything to play for.
Whether the Eagles won or lost, they still had to beat the Cowboys in Dallas next Sunday to reach the postseason. The Bears, on the other hand, needed a win in Philly to clinch the division and a playoff berth, thanks to losses earlier in the day by both Detroit and Green Bay.
If you watched the game, you would have thought that the scenarios were reversed as the Eagles pasted the Bears in every phase.
So as it stands now, the winner of the Bears/Packers game on Sunday will win the division and head to the playoffs, for what that's worth. The fact that the Bears are still one win from the playoffs is both astonishing and sad at the same time—both for the Bears and for the division.
Whichever team wins on Sunday, they'll be lucky to get past the first round of the playoffs. The NFC North is the division that nobody wants to win and to be honest, the NFL is probably wishing it didn't have to take a team from that division because the teams are that bad.
As I sat and watched—or tried to watch—the Bears game on Sunday night, the one thing that came to mind was the clip below from the movie Vegas Vacation. Cousin Eddie summed up my feelings with one statement.
It was one of the worst performances in recent memory for the Bears and unfortunately one of several horrible performances by the defense this season. The Eagles amassed 514 yards of total offense, including 289 on the ground as they just simply did whatever they wanted to. They Bears not only let LeSean McCoy run for 133 yards, but backup Bryce Brown also ran for 115 yards. I'm sure if they would have given third string running back Chris Polk enough carries, he could have surpassed 100 yards as well.
In fact, after Sunday night the Bears have now allowed at least one 100-yard rusher in 10 games this season, which is a new franchise high (or low).
In addition, quarterback Nick Foles had only four incomplete passes (21-for-25) on the day and threw for 230 yards and two TDs as the Bears generated absolutely no pass rush whatsoever. It really was as if nobody was on the field against the Eagles offense and the numbers reflect that.
According to the Chicago Tribune's Dan Wiederer, Bears coach Marc Trestman said after the game, "We were ready to play this game and we played a terrible football game. I'm not going to use any word other than that. We were terrible in all three phases...We'll throw this tape in the trash can."
Good idea, Marc, but with that logic the Bears are probably missing defensive game film from almost every game this season. And, yes, none of the phases were good on Sunday night, but make no mistake, this one was all on the defense.
As much as some fans want to point the finger at Jay Cutler, he is not the reason they lost this game. He really didn't play all that bad (20-for-35, 222 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) considering his offensive line didn't really show up for this game. All the clamoring by fans to replace Cutler with Josh McCown was completely misguided. It didn't matter if they had McCown, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady behind center, they weren't winning this game when their defense surrendered 47 points.
And I will add that Devin Hester and the special teams didn't help the cause either, but again the defense was just abysmal to the point where it didn't matter what else happened.
The reality is this. The Bears offense has had a breakout season, although it wasn't great Sunday night. It looks to be headed in the right direction with Trestman leading the way, but general manager Phil Emery has a lot of work to do to resurrect what was once the strength of this franchise. The Bears have had injuries, but the truth is that they just need better talent at several defensive positions and until they get that, they will struggle to be a better-than-average team.
So while Sunday's game against the Packers will provide some temporary excitement, the result is ultimately meaningless as neither team will likely have a long stay in the playoffs.
For those of you that are Chicago baseball fans, you have about seven weeks until spring training begins for the White Sox and Cubs, so you have that to hold on to.
For those that are Blackhawks fans, you certainly have plenty to be happy about while watching the best franchise currently playing in Chicago.
Bulls fans, well, you'll have to wait for the draft in June for any excitement.
And for those like myself that enjoy college basketball, things are just getting started.
However, for those of you that just have the Bears, it looks like you'll have a lot of free time soon.