Yes, it was just one game, and yes, it was just the first game of the season. But the aftermath might just have signaled the spiraling of hopes for the Chicago Bears. The fan's expectations were dashed after the first game loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Jay Cutler, the great quarterback hope, looked merely pedestrian in his regular season debut with the orange and black. His passes were lazy, his decision making was slow, and his composure was unprofessional. Not what you'd expect out of a professional quarterback of a team predicted by many to be the class of the NFC North.
Under duress for most of the game, Cutler made several poor and costly decisions. Three first half interceptions – that total should have been at five interceptions if the Packer defenders could have caught the other errant balls he threw.
In defense of Cutler, it wasn't JUST his fault. Where are all those wonderful receivers that I kept hearing about? Yes, if one throws directly to a receiver when he is standing still, one better see good hands. But, a receiver is paid not just to catch passes, he needs to run crisp routes. Routes that have been pre-planned. And you keep running those routes until a whistle blows ending that play.
Time after time the receivers cut off their routes or completely stopped running their routes. The result: at best it was an incompletion, but four times it ended in an interception. That's the fault of inexperienced receivers and poor coaching.
The coaches. Coaches are supposed to get the team ready for a contest. Coaches are supposed to make a game plan that utilizes the strengths and offsets the weaknesses of a team. But really, a fake punt? Down at that spot on the field! At that time of the game!
Time out mismanagement. Challenges that should have been thought out before being asked for. Play calls that were out in left field. Under utilization of Matt Forte and the run game.
Finally, the co-captain of the team, Brian Urlacher, is done for the season. Although the defense ran very well without his presence, they are going to miss his leadership and his calls on the field. Urlacher’s replacement, Hunter Hillenmeyer, is going to get a baptism by fire from the rest of the offensive coordinators and quarterbacks that he will face.
Add in injuries to linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee), backup cornerback Trumaine McBride (knee), and tight end Desmond Clark (back), and you can feel the slide happen.
So, for those Bears pundits that predicted a place at the top of the NFC North, it’s going to be more like a seat at the bottom with perennial doormat Detroit. So much for all the preseason aspirations of an NFC North title – there's hope you can salvage a respectable record.