AL HAMNIK: Bears stand accused of giving away a playoff berth

2013-12-30T17:45:00Z 2013-12-30T19:48:46Z AL HAMNIK: Bears stand accused of giving away a playoff berthAl Hamnik Times Columnist
December 30, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

Hear ye, hear ye. The court of honorable Judge Joe Fan is now in session.

Will the defendant in this case, the Chicago Bears, please rise and hear the charges leveled against you after Sunday's 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Relax. Have some coffee. This could take a while.

* To Adam Podlesh, who punted four times for a net yardage of 29.3. GUILTY as charged. Be prepared to clean out your locker — for good.

* To defensive end Shea McClellin, who was flagged for roughing up quarterback Aaron Rodgers by flopping on him after he was sacked. That led to a Packers field goal. GUILTY as charged.

"I don't think that he's a dirty player, or that it was a dirty play at all," Rodgers said afterward.

Dirty, no. Stupid, yes. The verdict stands.

* To linebacker James Anderson, who was closest to Rodgers' second-quarter fumble as teammates watched the bouncing ball and failed to react until Packer Jarrett Boykin picked it up and scored. GUILTY as charged.

"One of the craziest plays I've ever been a part of," Rodgers said.

"We all thought it was a dead ball," Anderson said. "We need to make sure we hear the whistle. I thought I did."

And you still didn't move. What were you waiting for, permission?

* To wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, king of the jump ball highlight, who fumbled late in the second quarter to set up another Packers field goal. You were targeted eight times but caught only three. GUILTY as charged.

* To cornerback Tim Jennings, who got faked out of his cleats on Jordy Nelson's 34-yard sideline reception in the fourth quarter that led to an Eddie Lacy TD run. GUILTY as charged.

"I had a hand on him. I should've made the tackle," Jennings said.

* To 6-foot-7, 290-pound blitzing defensive end Julius Peppers, who had four tackles Sunday, you were taken out of the game-winning play by 6-foot fullback John Kuhn on Rodgers' TD bomb. GUILTY as charged.

"We have a lot of trust in John," Rodgers said. "John actually provided some protection calls from time to time. In his intelligence and great reaction, he just came across and cut Julius.

"John Kuhn is a big time football player."

Peppers used to be, as well, but the over-paid veteran earned $9.9 million this season and had only 46.5 tackles in 16 games.

* To wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who talks a good game and usually backs it up, you dropped a Jay Cutler pass at the Green Bay 45 with 16 seconds remaining on second-and-10. Straight out dropped it. GUILTY as charged.

* To free safety Chris Conte, who left an all-alone Randall Cobb on his clinching 48-yard TD catch over a distant cornerback Zack Bowman in what both defenders called a "miscommunication." GUILTY as charged.

"We blitzed everybody. We need to make a play in the back end. We can't allow that," Jennings said.

* And, finally, to the defense as a whole for allowing the Packers to convert three fourth-down plays during their 15-play, 87-yard, 5-minute and 46-second game-winning drive. GUILTY as charged.

Sentencing will have to wait.

With 28 free agents, many will lose jobs they didn't deserve and only then will justice be served.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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