The 2012 NFL season started off with high expectations for the Chicago Bears. The team acquired their number one receiver fans had dreamed of for years, their quarterback and running back both were healthy after suffering season ending injuries and the thoughts of a Super Bowl run in Chicago stirred through many fans heads.
It ended in a completely different matter however.
After starting the season 7-1, the Bears went 3-5 in their last 8 games to miss the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six seasons. That untimely lead to the firing of head coach Lovie Smith and a potential roster overhaul in the off season.
Although the Bears failed to make the playoffs and many consider it a failed season, there was still some good to be found this year. Here are my top 6 memories from this past season.
6. The Bears dominate in Big ‘D’
Early in the season the Bears showed flashes of being an offensive threat to opposing defenses. Despite a disastrous loss to the Packers in week two, the Bears entered their Monday Night showdown in Dallas with a 2-1 record. They would leave Dallas with a 3-1 record and a dominating performance against the Cowboys.
If it wasn’t for the Bears dominating performance, this game might be most remembered by Jon Grudens weird intro to the game, where he compared Tony Romo & Jay Cutler to past Wild West heroes. Check out the odd intro here.
The Bears jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter which was highlighted by a Charles Tillman interception return for a touchdown. A quick Tony Romo touchdown pass to Miles Austin cut the Bears lead to 10-7 at halftime.
It was all-Chicago after that. The Bears got two touchdown passes from Jay Cutler to go with a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown from Lance Briggs to cap off the 34-18 win in Dallas. Romo was also picked off five times by the Bears defense.The Bears looked impressive on both sides of the ball and had fans all over the league thinking Chicago was for real.
Oh yeah, this game also left us with a rare Jay Cutler-Mike Tice happy moment.
5. The Bears route the Titans in Tennessee
From the very first play of the game, the Bears dominated. Charles Tillman forced a fumble on the first play of the game, one of his NFL record four forced fumbles in the game. After that it was all Chicago.
The Bears scored defensive touchdowns on a blocked punt and a Brian Urlacher 46 yard interception return.
In all the Bears forced five turnovers, Jay Cutler threw for three touchdowns (all to Brandon Marshall) and the Bears cruised to a 51-20 win in Nashville.
4. The Bears inconsistent offensive line
Looking back at the 2012 season one major factor that lead to this teams fall had to be the offensive line play. Week after week the Bears offensive line struggled and it seemed to get worse as the season went on.
The Bears went through several offensive line rotations but couldn’t find one that worked.
The inconsistency of the Bears offensive line hurt this potential high powered offense. Whether it was drives killed by sacks, holding penalties or false starts, the frustration mounted for Bears fans.
One thing that needs to be a must fix this off-season is the offensive line. Without protection for Cutler, it could be another disaster for the Bears.
3. “The Push”
Flashback to week two of the 2012 NFL season. On NFL Networks Thursday Night Football, an incident occurred on the Bears sideline that would be talked about for weeks.
During the game, the Packers defense was dominating the Bears offensive line. I’m talking about complete domination.
After a sack given up by J’Marcus Webb to Clay Matthews, Cutler walked over to the sidelines when the drive ended and gave Webb a little push. Webb seemed to laugh it off. The media on the other hand? Well they had a field day with it.
The Bears went on to lose 23-10 and the media would talk about the incident for weeks to come. Cutler eventually apologized and the Bears tried to fix their offensive line, but it continued to be a problem all season long.
2. The Bears acquire Brandon Marshall/Marshall breaks records
On March 13th, 2012 the Chicago Bears finally got their man. The Bears sent two third round picks, one in 2012 and one in 2013, for Brandon Marshall. The Bears had finally acquired their number one receiver fans had dreamed to see in this offense for a long time. Marshall was anything but a disappointment for the Bears.
Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler reunited their Denver chemistry in Chicago and gave fans excitement for a potentially high powered offense.
Although the Bears didn’t exceed fans expectations, they did however prove that a number one receiver poses a huge threat for opposing defenses in the future.
hen you think of the Chicago Bears receivers over the years, no one big name stands out. The records aren’t really impressive either.
That has all changed this season however. In just his first year in Chicago, Brandon Marshall has earned his spot on top of two Bears single season receiving records.
Marshall owns the records for most receptions in a season (118) and receiving yards (1,508). He fell just two touchdowns short of the Bears single season record for touchdowns as well.
1. The Bears fire Lovie Smith
After starting the season 7-1, the Chicago Bears failed to make the playoffs. Sure there was plenty of blame to go around. The offense struggled, coaching was horrendous down the stretch, and the overall play from the team wasn’t where it should be.
This all lead to the firing of coach Lovie Smith. The Bears needed help from the Packers on the final week of the season to sneak into the playoffs. A position they shouldn’t have been in.
While it had the feel of a choke job, many fans could see it coming.
On December 31st, the Bears announced the firing of Lovie Smith. The Smith era in Chicago was finally over and could be seen a mile away. The reaction overwhelmed some players like Devin Hester who threatened to retire. For fans many saw it coming. Others claimed they were ‘shocked’. Whatever the feeling was, it had to happen.
As the Bears head into 2013 their first step will be to hire a head coach to lead them to the promise land. Who will he be? Will he be offensive minded or defensive minded? What’s the future of the current roster?
Stay tuned folks.