AL HAMNIK: Bears and mediocrity becoming a hot item

2012-12-02T18:30:00Z 2012-12-03T20:01:25Z AL HAMNIK: Bears and mediocrity becoming a hot itemAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
December 02, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Were you watching? Do you believe now?

The Bears have fallen from promising to mediocre. No doubt about it.

If it's not the offense taking the day off, or the puffy-chested defense playing with the ferocity of Jello, then it's coach Lovie Smith standing statue-like on the sideline, waiting for the pigeons to land.

In Sunday's 23-17 comeback win by Seattle, it was all the above once again.

The Seahawks, led by a rookie quarterback, showed their resolve by driving 97 and 80 yards on their final two scores against the NFL's third-ranked defense.

I get so tired, after games like this, hearing Smith say there's still time to rebound and then guarantee his team will practice harder and do that.

I get so tired hearing Bears' players say they have to watch film of their mistakes, correct them, then get back on track.

I want them steaming mad. I want Smith to be half the coach, emotionally, of Seahawks' counterpart Pete Carroll who was acting like someone had just given him a hot foot.

Carroll was constantly jabbering with officials -- this game had way too many reviews and challenges. He was sprinting up and down the sidelines, embracing players after good plays, and teaching one-on-one in a fatherly manner after they messed up.

Meanwhile, there was Smith, looking like a park bench.

There was plenty of stuff to be angry about for Bears' fans.

Like the fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 15 with Chicago leading 7-0. Michael Bush carried for no gain, wasting a 73-yard drive.

"Some decisions I made early on hurt us. We should have taken the field goal," Smith eventually admitted. "It felt like we had momentum. I wanted to really try to knock them out and get them on their heels."

Momentum? It was 10-7 Seattle at the half. At 8:47 of the fourth quarter, Seattle had 267 total yards, the Bears 266.

With 1:55 remaining in regulation, the Seahawks had 315 yards, the Bears 300. The taffy pull continued.

There were more gaffes by the Bears, not to mention their lousy tackling, start to finish.

Take Seattle's 44-yard punt, with no one back for the Bears, that was downed at their 5.

Earl Bennett bobbled and dropped a sure touchdown pass in the red zone and later left with a concussion.

"I won't shy away from him. I know that. I'll keep coming back to him," Jay Cutler said.

Brian Urlacher, face of the franchise and beloved leader of the defense, had a horse-collar call on him while tackling Leon Washington. Yes, it was suspect. But it led to a field goal, giving Seattle its 10-7 lead.

Urlacher didn't stick around afterward to meet the press. He has a TV show to tape, you know.

On that fourth-quarter TD catch by Golden Tate, Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Craig Steltz and Kelvin Hayden were right there, but couldn't stop him.

And on the game-winning pass to Sidney Rice, Major Wright arrived late and delivered a brutal hit at the goal line that should result in a heavy fine.

"This is one of the harder losses to swallow," Wright said.

"It's not the end of the year," Hayden added. "We just need to find a way to bounce back and get ready for next week."

They'd better. Hear those footsteps? That's Green Bay.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

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