AL HAMNIK: The Bears' con game destined to end soon

2013-12-23T17:00:00Z 2013-12-28T19:56:04Z AL HAMNIK: The Bears' con game destined to end soonAl Hamnik Times Columnist
December 23, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

The Bears are who we thought they were.

Pretty good, but nothing that makes you run through the house, giving high-fives to everyone but the dog.

Their souped-up offense can still be slowed down or stymied by an innovative defensive coordinator.

Their defense can't stop rain with an umbrella.

Their special teams are anything but, while Devin Hester is ridiculous -- ridiculously bad.

That the Bears are 8-7 and must beat Green Bay this Sunday to ensure a playoff berth is no surprise in a league overrun by parity.

The teams they've managed to beat are a combined 54-64-2. Those they've lost to are 40-49-1 overall.

Of Chicago's 15 opponents, only the Bengals, Ravens, Cowboys, Saints and Eagles have winning records.

Sunday afternoon's rematch with the Packers, I fear, could be the season finale if Aaron Rodgers returns to the lineup and is winging footballs around Soldier Field.

That 54-11 pasting by the Eagles has to shake the confidence of Bears fans, not to mention the players.

Philly led 21-0 before Chicago had a first down and Monday morning quarterbacks were equally quick to claim the team had quit at that point.

"There is no excuse for what happened or what we didn't do," Matt Forte told reporters after his nine carries for 29 yards and whiffing on several blocks.

"Nobody played well across the board. We need to execute better and we will win."

Funny thing. We get that 'execute better' speech after every Bears loss and occasional win.

Hester returned six kickoffs for 143 yards Sunday but his early fumble set up a Philly touchdown. How long has it been since his last return TD? I've lost count.

"Guys have to step up and play," he said, ironically.

And this, from defensive end Julius Peppers: "First off, you have to give credit to them for coming out and bringing it to us. Then, on our end, it was just a poor performance all around."

The Eagles averaged 8.2 yards per play, rushed for 289 yards, punted only twice and sacked Jay Cutler five times.

Peppers' contribution as a highly paid impact player: two tackles.

"We have to have a short memory with this. We have another chance (Sunday) and that is what we must focus on," Peppers said.

That focus should've been on the Eagles, after Green Bay and Detroit lost earlier in the day, and the NFC North title was Chicago's to claim outright with a win.

"You can beat yourself up and get in a funk or you can forget about the game," said tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowler.

"To get into the playoffs, we need to play better."

Stop the presses! Call CNN and Diane Sawyer!

The Bears need to play BETTER, not WORSE.

They talk about the importance of having short memories and moving on to the next game.

They give kudos to the winning team, saying it did nothing they hadn't planned well for or didn't expect.

Their tiring routine never changes, after 60 some quarters of real-time football.

The Bears are who we thought they were.

Even a win Sunday won't do much to change that.

It'll be one and done in the playoffs and then they can focus completely on cleaning out their lockers.

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

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