Many Bears fans got giddy over quarterback Caleb Hanie's 2010 NFC Championship Game performance against the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and thought he could be a quality backup QB for the team.
There was even conjecture about his worthiness over Jay Cutler.
But I wasn't buying it.
While Hanie had some measure of success in that NFC Championship Game, he played mostly against a prevent defense and still threw two picks, including one that was returned for a TD.
This year, when Cutler went down again with a second straight season-ending injury, Hanie stepped in and stunk up the field.
In his first game, he hit only half of his passes (18-for-36) with two TDs and three interceptions (a 56.9 rating) in a 25-20 loss to Oakland. He didn't even know how to spike the ball.
And it got worse from there.
Zero TDs and three picks (23.8 rating) in his next game against Kansas City.
Lovie Smith should have pulled the plug on Hanie after this horrific performance. The Bears were now in a two-game losing streak, dropped to 7-5, and (thanks to losses by other wild-card contenders) were barely clinging to the fifth playoff seed in the NFC. The Bears could not afford more losses.
But Smith kept the faith in Hanie.
The result? Another game with zero TDs (although zero picks this time) and only 115 yards and 79.9 rating in the following game, a loss to Denver. Marion Barber's errors (one mental, one fumble) diverted all the attention away from yet another dud QB performance. This third loss in a row now dropped the Bears out of the NFC Wild Card spots by one game.
In a legit must-win game, Smith started Hanie yet again, against Seattle. Hanie threw one TD and three more picks (33.3 rating) in a mind-numbing 38-14 loss. The Bears were all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Smith finally benched Hanie for the Packers game, but it was too late.