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Bears Mon Nov 10 2008

Chicago Bears: Average Blows

How I envy the Detroit Lions and their fans.

Say what you will about being 0-9, in complete disarray and basically sucking to high heave, at least you know who you are, to paraphrase Dennis Green). There's no quibbling about potential and inconsistent play and whether Player A should be starting over Player B or what kind of impact the loss of Player C will have. You suck and that's that.

Which brings us to the Bears and their maddeningly frustrating mediocrity.

Had they been completely horrible this season, we would be applauding their effort at staying within striking distance of the now 9-0 Tennessee Titans for much of their game Sunday at Soldier Field. Tied 7-7 at halftime, only down by 7 after three quarters. Holding the Titan rushing offense to 20 measly yards. Impressive stuff.

But they're not horrible, a bitter but easier pill to swallow than mediocrity. They're full of "if they onlys" and "why didn't theys" and debate over one or two plays that would have made all the difference in the world.

The bad stuff stuck out like a disgruntled Republican at the Obama victory rally. The Bear defense? Check the expiration date on that one: that Cover Two is looking a little ripe. Kerry Collins was as awesome as Bootsy Collins as he "funked" up the Bear secondary with 298 yard and two TDs. His best game before that? A 199 yard/no touchdown effort against Minnesota.

The Bear defense, fixated on the run, let Collins dink them to death as he hit short pass all over the field to keep the Titans on the march. He averaged seven yards per pass but managed to hit Brandon Jones for a 25 yard gain in the fourth quarter.

The Bears' special teams didn't help the team any either as Devin Hester's performance as a kick returner (or lack thereof) continue to make you wonder if a urine test is in order, and even punter Robbie Gould even screwed up in unexpected ways.

As for Rex Grossman, well...he was as mediocre as the rest of the team, which isn't a good thing. Running for one touchdown and passing for another? Good Rex. Throwing an interception and missing Devin Hester as he streaked wide open down the center of the field? Bad Rex. If you had told me a year ago that I'd be sitting there lamenting the absence of Kyle Orton, I'd have called you crazy. That being said, I'm getting my "Caleb Haine Fan Club" t-shirt ready.

The Bears are still tied for first in the NFC North with Minnesota at 5-4, and hopefully they can hang on to that spot when they face Green Bay next week in Minnesota. The Packers have lost two games in a row and Bears have won six of the last eight games against Green Bay since Lovie Smith took over and all four contests in Lambeau Field.

But should they lose, they fall to 5-5. Mediocrity. It's enough to make you unsure whether to laugh or cry.

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