Week 11: Bears season can’t end fast enough after latest collapse

Yesterday’s loss to the New York Giants was about as perfect an encapsulation of this year’s Bears season as one could get.

•A first half of promising football, featuring some of the best play-calling and execution we’ve seen all season, ultimately wasted by a second half of mind-numbing futility that saw the Giants score 13 unanswered points and steal the game.

•Dowell Loggains refusing to ride Jordan Howard (17 carries, 77 yards), despite him posting an even 6.0 yards/carry in the first half on 12 touches and the fact the Bears were never down by more than six points at any given time (so no excuses).

The fact that he had four drops in the passing game means that they’re passing the ball too much and not running it enough, in my opinion. Using his struggles in the passing game as a reason to give Jeremy Langford the opening series of the second half are part of why the Bears offense continues to have no identity ten games into the season.

•Jay Cutler giving us a taste of his talent (11-14 passing/126 yds/1 TD in first half), then promptly coming back to Earth (6-16 passing/126 yds/1 INT) with a game-sealing interception in which the Earth literally slipped out from under his feet.

Then again, why he felt the need to force that ball to Meredith there with 1:20 left in the game and an easy checkdown that could’ve stopped the clock as well escapes me…but I’ve given up trying to understand what Cutler does.

•The Bears losing just about every player we still care about to injury.

Zach Miller suffered a broken bone in his foot and is likely out for the rest of the season, joining the recently shut-down Kyle Long on IR. Naturally, the Bears’ had to lose one of their most substantial offensive threats after making the most of his opportunity to start this year.

Josh Sitton re-injured the right ankle that made him miss time earlier in the season and left the game in the third quarter, never to return.

And perhaps the most meaningful and terrifying of all was the neck injury to Leonard Floyd, who compressed his head and neck on a missed tackle attempt and stayed on the ground for nearly ten minutes before being carted off. Fortunately for him, the injury was far less severe than originally feared, and he was cleared to travel back to Chicago with the team last night.

Here’s the injury if you missed it:

Still, it’s a sore blow to what was shaping into a rousing success of a rookie season for Floyd, who battled through early inconsistency to post 4.5 sacks over his last four games and adding a run stuff to his stat line yesterday. While it’s possible he only misses a few weeks with this injury, it might be prudent to take care with their rookie prized rookie.

For what it’s worth, though, I feel far better about Leonard Floyd being on this team going forward than I did when he was first drafted.

The funny thing is, despite this unabated dumpster fire, the Bears are just barely bad enough at 2-8 to have a top-3 pick right now in next year’s draft. And they still have a date with the San Francisco 49ers (currently with the #2 pick) for a battle of badness two weeks from now that could shake up the draft order.

Yes, I’m looking forward to the draft. Anything to keep me from looking at the on-field product at this point.

Of course, thinking about the draft and which dynamic QB prospect (ex: DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky) or dynamic defensive prospect (ex: Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers) the Bears have a shot at brings me back to another nagging question: who’s going to be coaching them next season?

Dowell Loggains had better not still be the offensive coordinator of this team on January 2, or I may spontaneously combust.

And truthfully, though John Fox is even more likely to get a pass due to the ridiculous injury issues of this team, he doesn’t deserve it. The Bears clearly don’t buy into whatever message he presents to them anymore, and they continue to prove under his leadership that they’re not ready to win games.

Repeatedly blowing 4th quarter leads (against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Giants) drives that home.

Also, where’s Ryan Pace right now? And what is he on the hook for this season? Is it fair to blame him at all for the health issues of his draft picks, given the time and attention he said the Bears would invest in injury-prevention methods (via Mark Potash of the Sun-Times)?

Or how much free reign does he really have within this organization to do as he sees fit? Is he nothing more than a glorified scout while Fox has most of the real influence? Is there going to be a struggle for control this offseason given how this campaign has gone, and could the young general manager be in line to seize more power for himself to shape the roster and govern the future of the Bears?

In many ways, we’re just talking about the same points over and over again now when it comes to this franchise. The once-proud Chicago Bears have become dysfunction personified, playing just well enough now to lose and not having the capability to get past their limitations both on and off the field.

At least when the season’s over, there will be fun things to discuss regarding the Bears. Right now, talking about them is exhausting. They’ve basically become a broken record, and yesterday was just the eighth time the disc skipped.

Khari Thompson

I'm currently a graduate student studying biology at the University of Notre Dame that follows sports (especially the Bears and Bulls) less like a hobby and more like a second job. Also a fan of all things dinosaurs. And Tolkien. Twitter: @kdthompson5

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