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Tuesday, September 28

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Bears Mon Dec 19 2011

Playoff Hopes Dim As Bears Lose 4th Straight

Thumbnail image for bears.gifThe most telling play of the Bears' 38-14 loss to Seattle on Sunday happened in the fourth quarter with just over five minutes remaining, when Pete Carroll decided to go for it on fourth-and-7 from Chicago's 30-yard line, leading by 17 points.

He basically said, "You know what? Rather than kick a field goal and risk the chance of Devin Hester returning a kick for a touchdown, we'll let Caleb Hanie beat us if we don't get the first."

The Bears took over after Tarvaris Jackson missed a wide-open receiver, but on the next snap, Hanie threw a pick-six to Brandon Browner. The game was now 100% over.

Hanie really struggled, passing 10-of-23 for only 111 yards, and finished with a 33.3 QB rating. Even worse, he threw two picks for touchdowns.

Hanie was terribly inaccurate, overthrowing receivers and flat-out missing guys. Bad decisions plagued the day, such as his first interception return, when he tried to dump the ball off before getting sacked. Instead, he threw it right into the chest of defensive tackle Red Bryant, who walked the ball into the end zone.

Although Hanie was able to make a few short passes to receivers who were open underneath the Seattle coverage, anything deep was questionable. Basically, he really didn't try anything over 20 yards; one of his deep balls was intercepted in the Seattle end zone. Also, he completed only six passes to his wide receivers; the other four completions were short throws to Kahlil Bell (except Hanie's only TD, a 25-yard pass to Bell).

Chicago did not get much at all from its offense. Somehow, Bell rushed for 65 yards on 15 carries, but mainly he was doing a lot of juking and dancing for four-yard gains. The Bears' line gave up four sacks, and Hanie was pressured nearly every snap. The enduring image of this game (and of the last four) is Hanie rolling out with defenders chasing him because the protection broke down.

In the past, Chicago has been able to get little from its offense and still win because of its fantastic defense (Remember the "Rex is our quarterback" saga from 2006?). Now, those are days are gone.

Sure, the 2011 Bears defense is pretty good. They were able to score a touchdown -- Julius Peppers forced a fumble in the end zone, which Israel Idonije recovered. But they are not the beast they were a few years ago; Jackson connected with 10 different Seahawks for 227 yards and a touchdown. The former maligned Vikings quarterback looked great, hitting wide open receivers all afternoon.

As everyone can already guess, the Bears are in big trouble. They take a trip to Lambeau Field on Christmas Day to play the 13-1 Packers. If that wasn't bad enough, now Seattle holds the tiebreaker, and Atlanta and Detroit, both 9-5, are two games better than Chicago at 7-7.

It's going to take a miracle for the Bears to make the postseason. They need to win out, hope Detroit and Atlanta lose both of their games... and hope for a myriad of other things to work out in their favor.

Before the game, FOX's Jay Glazer reported that Jay Cutler may be ready to come back as soon as next week.

It may be too late, though.

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