THE WORST KIND OF TEASE

Bears B sucker k fans f into i be­liev­ing bli i i in them, h then in­evitably dash their spir­its

Chicago Sun-Times - - LEADINGOFF - RICK TELANDER Fol­low me on Twit­ter @rick­te­lander. Email: rte­lander@suntimes.com

Ithink the most painful thing about fol­low­ing the Bears is the ut­ter un­pre­dictabil­ity of their for­tunes.

Of course, that comes with the caveat that the tra­jec­tory of the fran­chise since its Su­per Bowl XX cham­pi­onship more than three decades ago has been steadily down­ward.

But the Bears’ loss Sun­day to the Pack­ers ripped at some­thing fun­da­men­tal in all of us. Specif­i­cally, it was a game they should have/ could have/ needed to win. For us.

The Bears were fa­vored, they were at home, they had a bye week to pre­pare and heal and the Pack­ers were com­ing off a short week.

I think ev­ery so- called foot­ball ex­pert in our city, ex­cept con­trar­ian Rick ‘‘ Even a Blind Hog Will Find an Acorn Now and Then’’ Mor­ris­sey, picked the Bears to win.

And why not? Star Pack­ers quar­ter­back Aaron Rodgers was out with a bro­ken col­lar­bone. Con­fused young Brett Hund­ley was play­ing in his place. The Bears’ de­fense was look­ing solid.

Every­one knew this game could kick- start a so- so Bears sea­son into over­drive. In­deed, a vic­tory would mark the Bears’ third tri­umph in four games.

Oops. All of us, ex­cept Mor­ris­sey, shot down in full bloom. The pain came from dashed hopes — re­al­is­tic hopes, it seemed.

It was rem­i­nis­cent in its lead bal­loon de­pres­sion of the feel­ing af­ter the Bears’ sea­son opener against the Fal­cons. Trail­ing 23- 17 with sec­onds left in that game, the Bears had a first down at the Fal­cons’ 5. A joy­ous come­back vic­tory was nearly in hand.

Oh, brother, a vic­tory would have jus­ti­fied the gazil­lion dol­lars

spent on free- agent quar­ter­back Mike Glen­non, John Fox’s re­turn as coach and the fans’ flick­er­ing hope that things would get bet­ter.

Then Josh Bel­lamy and Jor­dan Howard dropped likely touch­down passes, and ev­ery­thing fell apart on fourth down. Sorry, fans, just an­other dag­ger to the heart.

So, as a psy­cho­log­i­cal de­fense, peo­ple stopped be­liev­ing.

Then the Bears abruptly beat the Ravens on the road in over­time and de­mol­ished star quar­ter­back Cam New­ton and the Pan­thers at Soldier Field, and hope rekin­dled.

Then the Pack­ers pulled the Bears’ pants down in a game that was just plain stupid. A near Bears touch­down turned into a Pack­ers touch­back, mean­ing a py­lon is as crit­i­cal to Bears fail­ure as ac­tual game ig­no­rance.

Rookie wa­ter bug Tarik Co­hen barely played against the Pack­ers. Re­mem­ber how he was the Bears’ lead­ing rusher and re­ceiver against the Fal­cons? No? Nei­ther, ap­par­ently, does the Bears’ coach­ing staff.

A let­down like this one brings cries for fir­ing of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dowell Log­gains, Fox, pres­i­dent Ted Phillips and chair­man Ge­orge McCaskey and maybe even melt­ing the Halas Hall statue of Ge­orge Halas into pig iron.

It’s just ter­ri­ble to be teased like this, with the only depend­able thing be­ing the in­evitable slide to fail­ure.

We have been teased with the health sta­tus of guard Kyle Long. He’s ready to play. He’s not ready. He’s run­ning. He’s not run­ning. He played one down against the Pack­ers and is suf­fer­ing from in­juries that might or might not heal.

And don’t even men­tion the prom­ise at wide re­ceiver. Re­mem­ber first- round pick Kevin White? Gone af­ter one half of the first game. And 2016 star Cam Mered­ith? Didn’t make it out of the pre­sea­son.

Maybe that stuff’s no­body’s fault. But what about the fact that Hund­ley, start­ing only his third NFL game, ate up the Bears’ de­fense? And he was miss­ing as many of­fen­sive weapons as Bears rookie Mitch Tru­bisky.

Which brings one more party un­der the grilling lamp. What if Hund­ley re­mains a qual­ity quar­ter­back even af­ter Rodgers re­turns? Bears gen­eral man­ager Ryan Pace will look kind of silly ( in­ept? dumb? ill- pre­pared?) if he has to ex­plain why he moved up to take Tru­bisky with the sec­ond pick in the draft when the Pack­ers’ backup quar­ter­back is as good, if not bet­ter.

Which brings up the big­gest doubt of all: Maybe the Bears are such a half- se­ri­ous, fun­da­men­tally flawed or­ga­ni­za­tion that what­ever they touch turns to dung.

That’s what end­less teas­ing will lead to. The ful­fill­ment of one’s worst fears.

| ASH­LEE REZIN/ SUN- TIMES

Rookie quar­ter­back Mitch Tru­bisky walks off the field af­ter the Bears’ 23- 16 home loss Sun­day to the Pack­ers, who won with­out in­jured Aaron Rodgers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.