Bears Bengals Football

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky runs in a touchdown in the second half Sunday against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

Frank Victores, Associated Press

I'm not the guy who stands in bread lines and asks for toast — with marmalade.

I won't rain on your parade. I'll leave that to the Weather Channel.

But let's be real. Sunday's 33-7 rout of the listless Bengals made Bears' fans click their heels. OK, now return to earth.

A deserving win, but nothing more.

The Bengals were without seven starters, including five on defense. They quit midway through the third quarter, as their stadium began to empty out.

Saturday, the Bears play at Detroit, which is fighting for a playoff spot. Then they have the winless Browns in Chicago before mercifully ending the season at Minnesota.

Looks like a 1-2 finish, maybe 0-3.

This much we do know: with a new head coach and a few tweaks here and there, next season could be quite interesting.

Mitchell Trubisky is proving to be your franchise quarterback.

Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are a formidable 1-2 punch at running back.

The wide receiver position is a giant S.O.S.

The offensive line needs healthy bodies, beginning with surgery for guard Kyle Long to mend a busted hand, sore ankle and torn labrum in his shoulder.

The kicking game, with newly-added Mike Nugent, needs consistency. He's the third kicker brought in this season.

The defensive front seven needs depth and must stay healthy. The secondary holds promise with its quickness and athleticism, but is still learning.

Now for the coaching. John Fox, judging by his postgame comments these past few weeks, knows he's out the door soon.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL has averaged 6.8 head coaching changes per season since 2000.

"What's been frustrating for me and the coaches is that a lot of us have had our day in the sun," Fox told reporters Sunday. "But to see these young guys work hard and not reap the benefits ... when you don't experience the end result that's a 'W', it's hard to put much stock into that."

The Bears snapped a five-game losing streak but Fox is still 13-32 as their coach. Losing six games by eight points or less doesn't matter. Well-coached, disciplined teams find ways to win those games.

"It's not easy on us. It's not easy on you all," Fox said. "I've been a part of the winning side where you (media) guys sit. Losing isn't easy on anyone.

"Again, you don't let your sword down and you just keep swinging."

Bears players like Fox and gave good effort most games, but he and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did little to develop their skills and put them in position to win.

Too often this season, their offensive attack was restricted, held back, until Sunday when it busted out like a jail break against the awful Bengals.

Is that enough to build on? Let's wait until the end.

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

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