AL HAMNIK: The Bears' have blown their cover in the NFC

2012-11-20T18:15:00Z 2012-11-24T16:42:03Z AL HAMNIK: The Bears' have blown their cover in the NFCAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 20, 2012 6:15 pm  • 

The Bears are computer dating with photo shop.

The fancy SUV that burns gas just backing out of the garage.

Beware. It's easy to be deceived and left feeling like a fool when you're blinded by the glare.

With all their added offensive firepower and a healthy Jay Cutler, you wanted to believe the Bears were Super Bowl worthy, even after an earlier loss to the Packers.

But two more knockout punches by NFC contenders Houston and San Francisco, in consecutive games, have revealed the sorry truth: The Bears are simply an above average team in a league soaked in parity.

It is their lone reason for optimism; the fact anything can and usually does happen on any given Sunday.

The O-line reeks, as we've known for too long.

Cutler can't stay healthy.

Devin Hester can return his bust to Canton, Ohio.

Coordinator Mike Tice can't direct an offense out of a burning building.

The defense looks great kicking around tomato cans like the Colts, Rams, Cowboys, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers and Titans — who are a combined 25-44-1.

But against heavyweights, they've had a glass jaw.

"We have to leave this game as quick as we possibly can because we didn't do anything," Bears coach Lovie Smith said in his post-game eulogy. "There's really nothing good to talk about."

Of course, Smith had to soften the blow by adding it's only one loss and the Bears are still 7-3.

That could change quickly if they lose to Minnesota on Sunday, which would give them a three-game skid.

On his weekly radio show Monday, the concussed Cutler said he expects to play against the Vikings but he hasn't exactly knocked it out of the park this season, either.

In the team's losses to Green Bay, Houston and San Francisco, Bears' quarterbacks passed for — are you ready? — a combined 367 yards, two touchdowns, eight interceptions and were sacked 13 times.

Super Bowl worthy? You can't be serious.

"It's embarrassing any time we lose, especially to lose and get dominated like that," Brian Urlacher said. "But there's always next game."

In their three NFC losses, the Bears scored a total of 23 points. Most contenders get that in the first half.

Now come the Vikings, ready to pillage Soldier Field and banish the Bears and their fans into the Land of Mediocrity.

"I have to be better. We all have to be better," said Brandon Marshall, the Bears' lone offensive weapon this season.

These aren't last year's Vikings. They have a winning record, a new attitude, and two guys who thrive on playing the Bears.

Adrian Peterson has averaged 103 yards rushing in his eight meetings with the Bears.

Defensive end Jared Allen has 13 sacks in his eight games against Chicago.

It'll take more than salt for this skidding to stop.

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

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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