In a must-win game coming out of the bye week, the Bears found themselves trailing 42-0 at halftime and on the wrong end of an eventual 55-14 scoreline. It was a blowout defeat that not only ranks among the worst in franchise history but also one that all but ends Chicago's 2014 season and rightfully places head coach Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker on the path toward the unemployment line.
"We broke down in all three phases," Trestman told reporters postgame. "Bottom line is, we weren't good enough in all three phases. We saw no ascending play after the bye."
A team performance this bad remains hard to fathom.
The Bears exited the bye week at a disappointing 3-5, desperately needing a win over the Packers to keep a once-promising season alive.
Urgency and emotion should have come as a prepackaged deal for a group of grown men playing at the NFL level. Instead, the Bears appeared to use the off week to enter hibernation mode and prep offseason plans, as the performance mirrored a team that has mostly given up on a lost season.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for the Bears.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six first-half touchdowns and probably could have thrown for seven or eight had he played more than a couple series in the second half. He made playing the most difficult position in professional sports look like a game of high school seven-on-seven.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had three more turnovers, including a bad interception early that helped spawn the rout and another that all but sealed the game. Former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers essentially put a dagger into Chicago's season with a strip-sack and recovery of the volatile quarterback in the second quarter with the Packers up five touchdowns.
Packers receiver Jordy Nelson caught two long touchdown passes that lacked a Bears defender within five yards of the initial reception. Chicago might as well have been playing without a safety for most of the first half.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy rumbled 56 yards for a score off a screen pass that was so poorly defended that the average buzzed fan sitting in the Lambeau Field stands probably could have found the end zone. Lacy was escorted stress-free across the field for six points.
The Bears finished the contest with 11 penalties for 163 yards, the franchise's most penalty yards since 1951, according to NFL on ESPN:
The beating wasn't over at 42-0, the second largest half-time deficit in NFL history.
After waving the white flag by running on third-and-long to open the second half, the Bears had the ensuing punt karmically blocked by Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin. He didn't simply block the punt with his hands—he was so deep into the backfield that he actually deflected the punt attempt with his foot as he leaped into the air.
Cutler's final turnover—an interception that ricocheted off guard Kyle Long's helmet on a screen attempt—was returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Packers cornerback Casey Hayward.
A Randall Cobb fumble inside the 10-yard line and two late touchdowns—one from receiver Brandon Marshall on an effort play and another via Chris Williams' kickoff return for a score—kept the final from being as historically lopsided as it could have been.
Amazingly, the 55-14 score said almost nothing about the victorious Packers and everything about the dead-in-the-water Bears.
Nearly constant rumblings about Trestman's tenuous hold of the locker room have clouded the last few weeks at Halas Hall. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported during the bye that the Bears were starting to tune out the second-year coach, calling the situation a "crisis" and labeling the locker room's health "toxic."
The Bears spun a different story, claiming throughout the current three-game winless streak that support from the locker room was still there and confidence remained in Trestman's ability to lead the team. A week of self-scouting and pride-searching should have provided a result that backed those claims.
Instead, the Bears took the field in Green Bay and looked exactly like a team in crisis. Flat, emotionless play aptly describes the actions of a team tuning out the head coach. And the end product between the white lines was nothing short of toxic.
"Based on what I saw this week, I was confounded by what I saw tonight," Trestman said, basically replaying the same sound bite—that the Bears are practicing well but not playing well—he's used repeatedly this season.
The Bears franchise is not typically one to make a rash, in-season firing of a head coach. Trestman will almost certainly get the final seven games of 2014 to prove he belongs past this season. But a loss like Sunday's might end up being the beginning of the end for the former CFL coach.
Over 25 games in Chicago, Trestman is just 11-14 overall. Among those 14 losses are seven by 13 or more points and three losses in which the Bears allowed 50 or more points.
The Bears were 10-6 the season before he took over. Chicago missed the postseason after losing at home to Green Bay in Week 17 last year and will now need a football miracle to sneak into the NFC playoffs in 2014.
Tucker, an assistant coach trying to lead a defense lacking personnel, remains the odds-on favorite to be the first to fall on the sword. He's an easy scapegoat, especially after watching his defense present absolutely zero problems for Rodgers and the Packers. Spanning a little over six quarters, Rodgers threw 10 touchdowns and led the Packers to 83 points against Tucker and the Bears.
A week before the bye, Tucker's defense was shredded to similar bits by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Trestman told NBC's Michelle Tafoya at halftime that the Bears were "a bad football team." That description is about the only thing Trestman has gotten right over the last month or so.
The Bears in 2014 are all but done. Now at 3-6, Chicago would likely need to win out over the final seven games to qualify for postseason football. Yet thinking about a seven-game win streak is foolhardy for a team that should be more worried about simply playing competitively over the final two months of the season. Over just the last two games, the Bears have been outscored 106-37.
Blowouts in the NFL don't get much easier than Green Bay's Sunday night. And the 41-point win came in the de facto Super Bowl for the Bears, a rivalry game that held the life of a season and the job security of so many in its hands.
Chicago's offseason now begins in November. Changes could be on the way once the real offseason arrives.
*All quotes taken from live postgame press conferences.
Zach Kruse covers the NFC North for Bleacher Report.