These aren't your dad's Bears. Wait, your dad owned bears? What. The. Hell. You must be from Ohio.
The Bears of Chicago are a different breed. They defend their cubs (oh crap, I just got that) and are a storied franchise that has gone to the playoffs less times than the Seattle Seahawks have over the last twenty years. Wait, no, that can't be right.
Five... carry the one... divide by Lance Briggs...
No, it is true! And I need to "carry ones" in order to count. Me math no good but I english well.
Since 1991, the Bears have made the playoffs six times and the Hawks have made it seven. In this century, it's Bears 4, Hawks 6. We knew that Seattle had a nice run in the 2000's, but it's surprising that as much as their publicized and as often as they're on national television, Chicago has struggled to maintain an elite level of play since their dominant run in the eighties. Much like Steve Guttenberg or cocaine.
Unfortunately, much of their recent success has come at our demise. Most recently in last years playoffs and then in 2006 on a heartbreaking overtime loss in the divisional round. That game came after the Tony Romo game, and Rex Grossman threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian in the second quarter proving once-and-for-all that he's a piece of shit that only does good work against the Seahawks.
I'm fairly certain that Grossman's only three career wins have come against Seattle. Seriously Rex? Have you ever heard of fire? It's not dangerous and it actually feels pretty amazing if you douse yourself in gasoline and light it. No, really, try it. It's like an orgasm. I'll be waiting.
But I digress. (Looks in dictionary to confirm correct usage of 'digress')
Yes, I digress. Grossman is no longer a Bear. Now Jay Cutler is leading the te- What? Seriously? For how long?? HAHAHAHAHAHA! What the hell is a "Hanie"!?
What the Hawks will really have to worry about is Matt Fort-- What? Come on, now. Now, you're just messing with me. That can't really be happening. So who is the running back now? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
"These aren't your dad's Bears?" Dude, these aren't even the Bears from Thanksgiving 2011.
So we win right? Seahawks are hot and the Bears are all not, having lost three in a row while Seattle is crushing it on a national stage, becoming "America's Team." Well, if you think that's the case, I'm surprised that you found Field Gulls after only having been a fan for a few weeks! Welcome! Here's a helpful tip on the Seahawks, they rarely do what they're supposed to!
And though it feels like we're "supposed to" because the teams seem to be going in opposite directions, the Hawks are still the underdog in this game. The Bears defense is still good enough to shutdown a Seahawks offense. The Bears are still at home. The Bears can still sense blood. (Ewwwwww...)
Chicago still has a better shot to make the playoffs than Seattle and will be hungry to win this game. We have to do our best to not feed the Bears and keep 'em away from our picky-nick basket. In preparation for all of that, here's eight things you may or may not know about daaaaaaa Bears.
Da Bears Have Da Worst QB?
While I'm still unsure of what a "Hanie" is, scientific science has helped me determine that he is not a quarterback. Out of 52 quarterbacks to attempt over 20 passes this season, Caleb Hanie's 48.6 QB rating ranks 50th, ahead of only Kyle Boller (31.1) and Luke McCown (39.0)
He is 41 of 79 (51.9%) for 502 yards (167 yards per game,) 2 TD and 6 INT. He has made 3 starts and been sacked 15 times for a loss of 99 yards. He's been sacked as many times as Matt Hasselbeck. Jay Cutler was sacked a lot as a starter, but he went down 2.3 times per game but that's less than half as often as Hanie.
So where did they find this guy? I DON'T KNOW!
Hanie is so obscure that his Wikipedia page just jumps straight to his professional career. All Wiki knows is that he went to Colorado State and that Jay Cutler has a broken thumb. For an NFL "QB" that's pretty remarkable.
If you want to get to know a lot more about Caleb Hanie, with inside information about how he became a Bear, read this...
Sorry, I mean, read THIS. Don't take my word for it, I had to go to his Wikipedia page.
What I've linked to is an article from the National Football Post written by Greg Gabriel, former Director of College Scouting for Chicago. In it, Gabriel explains how Hanie became a Bear ("Going into the draft we know we wanted to either draft or sign as a free agent a young developmental quarterback.") Who is competition was for that spot (Josh Johnson and Nick Hill. The Bears stopped scouting Johnson after a poor combine.) And why Hanie will (would) succeed.
I found that last part the most interesting. The article was written after Cutler was injured this season, before Hanie made a start and has since gone 0-3.
"The Bears are in position to be a Wild Card playoff team with at worst a 3-3 record in the final six games. The schedule is in Chicago’s favor, playing three games against AFC West clubs and Seattle in the next four games."
That's all the Bears had to do, take 2 of 3 from the AFC West and beat the crappy Seahawks. Well, they just got beat by the Raiders, Chiefs, and Broncos, so they better get working on that "3-3 record" starting with Seattle.
But read the article. It's an interesting take on how teams go about finding developmental QB's and players that they never plan on drafting, but badly want to sign. It will also be interesting to see his follow-up, "How My Scouting Went Terribly, Horribly Wrong."
Barbershop 3: Talk to the Hand
Some Bears fans will defend Hanie and place the blame instead on the shoulders of Marion Barber. That's probably fair, because Hanie's shoulders are weak and brittle and Barber is a brickhouse. He's mighty, mighty, lettin' the ball fall out.
Did Chicago lose to Tim Tebow last week or did they lose to Barber and Matt Prater? Can't we just blame everybody and move on?
Barber was signed in the off-season after a six year career in Dallas that saw him make the Pro Bowl as a backup and then slowly fall out of favor after he took on a bigger role. He's never been particularly spectacular anywhere else besides the goal line and nobody in Chicago wanted him to be anything more than a backup to Matt Forte. Probably including Barber, because he apparently doesn't like the spotlight.
Since fumbling the game away in overtime to Denver, he has refused to speak to the media and faces a $10k fine if he doesn't say something by tomorrow. It's good to know that free speech (or lack of speech) is still alive and well in this country.
I don't mind if Barber wants to let his fumbles speak for themselves. They'd probably say "PROTECT ME MARION! NOOOOO!!!!!!!"
EVERYBODY WATCH OUT, ITS A MIKE MARTZ OFFENSE!!! HERE IT COMES OH NOOOO!! OH NOOO!!!! OH... Wait... Wait... No, it's cool. It's cool everybody. Go back to the party, turns out it was no big deal.
Seahawks fans (that's probably you!) will remember Martz as the offensive coordinator/head coach of the St. Louis Rams, perhaps the greatest offense of all time from 1999-2001. Martz was in his first year as OC in 1999, his first job ever in the NFL as an OC, and was an immediate sensation because of the "Greatest Show on Turf."
I can't explain how a person with such little experience in that position on that level becomes a legend, but he did, and we've been seeing him ride that wave of 1999 ever since.
Truthfully, his stint as a head coach for the Rams wasn't all bad.
He was 53-32, went to the playoffs four times in five years, and went to a Super Bowl. It was all just a little too underwhelming for a team that was the most exciting in football to just be "meh" and after Martz took medical leave in 2005, he was fired after the season, ending years of apparent conflict with the front office.
This allowed him to go back to being the best offensive coordinator in the NFL:
2006 Detroit Lions: 21st in scoring, 22nd in yards
2007 Detroit Lions: 16th in scoring, 19th in yards
2008 San Francisco 49ers: 23rd in scoring, 13th in yards
2009: No Job
2010 Chicago Bears: 4th in scoring! 9th in yards!
2011 Chicago Bears: 9th in scoring, 20th in yards
The truth of the matter? None of those teams had a whole lot of talent until Matt Forte became one of the best running backs in the NFL and the Bears were 2nd in the league in rushing yards last season. You need to have talent to be a great offensive coordinator. Martz didn't make five Rams offensive players into Hall of Famers, five Rams Hall of Famers helped make Martz a top offensive coordinator. Not that Martz is a bad coach, but it's not a name you fear just because he's Mike Martz.
With Cutler and Forte, they're a pretty good offense. Without, Cutler, they've scored 33 points in their last three games and now Forte is out too.
But then again... Caleb Hanie is as experienced and well-known as Kurt Warner was... oh.. my... God... watch out for this!!!
Bears WR Sam Hurd Won't Play, Arrested on Federal Drug Charges for Attempting to Buy and Distribute KILOS of Cocaine. Here's a Picture of Him:
You know I love a good history lesson when doing these posts, and the '85 Bears are considered to be one of the greatest teams of all-time. I just don't have the time to really get into it today so here's bulletpoints:
- Five Pro Bowlers and three Hall of Famers on defense, and that doesn't even include William Perry. A player who would become the most famous perhaps, but never made a Pro Bowl. Several other players on the defense would go onto Pro Bowls later, or had been to Pro Bowls before. This didn't even include two of the top defensive players on the team, Al Harris and Todd Bell, because of contract disputes that caused them to miss the season.
- I'm sure they don't regret that.
- Went 15-1 in the regular season.
- Outscored opponents 91-10 in the postseason, including two shutouts. Beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl 46-10 and forced six turnovers while holding them to 7 rushing yards.
- Walter Payton.
- Super Bowl Shuffle.
- Polish Sausage.
Not That They Don't Have Good Players on Defense
Julius Peppers is still one of the best defensive ends in the game, bound to give fits to our backup lineman.
Lance Briggs has gone to six straight Pro Bowls.
Brian Urlacher (born in Pasco!) is a future Hall of Famer that surprisingly has only gone to one Pro Bowl since 2006. But he missed all of 2009 and returned to form last season and has 70 solo tackles, two fumble recoveries, and three interceptions this season. Urlacher was a defensive back in high school that had a tough decision to make between all of his scholarship offers: University of New Mexico or New Mexico State? A typical decision for a future Hall of Famer to make!
He wasn't offered any other D-I scholarships and spent two years mostly riding the pine under Dennis Franchione. After Franchione left for TCU, Urlacher finally got a chance to show what he could do, and was the first person inducted into the University of New Mexico's Wall of Fame... a wall that awkardly sat blank for decades.
He was drafted by the Bears, 9th overall, and the rest is history. Though at a certain time, all that history was present, and sometimes it was future, and then later on it would become past, but finally we are here now. No, now were here. Here... here... here... Remember five seconds ago before I decided to write all of this non-sense?! That was a good time.
The Bears also have some other good players, like Charles Tillman, Israel Idonije, and a guy named Henry Melton that has seven sacks. An underrated loss during this losing streak has also been safety Major Wright, which was also once planned to be a sequel to Major Payne.
Da Bears Playoff Hopes or Lack Thereof
If you're Harry Connick, Jr., then Hope Floats. But da Bears playoff hopes are sinking like a graph that displays the amount of dates I've had over the last 10 years.
When they were 7-3, I tweeted, "Bears are the team I'd least want to face in the playoffs" That's probably just an indication that I tweet too much, but also shows how awesome they looked at the time. They had won 6 of 7 games, beating the Eagles, Lions, and Chargers over their last three. Then we heard about Cutler's thumb.
Now at 7-6, they've moved outside of the Wild Card, but their dreams aren't dashed.
Their remaining games are Seattle, @Green Bay, @Minnesota. I don't think that the Packers are going to lay down because they've wrapped up the #1 seed by next week, but it's potentially a winnable game for Chicago. Meaning that if they beat Seattle, they could wind up 10-6, or 9-7 at worst.
Detroit's remaining schedule is @Oakland, San Diego, @Green Bay. They also have to win at Lambeau, and also have to win @Oak and then try to beat the Chargers in December, the only month San Diego ever decides to play in.
Atlanta is a game up on both of them and finish against Jacksonville, @New Orleans, Tampa Bay. I think they'll finish no worse than 10-6 and are uncatchable.
Dallas finishes @Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, @New York Giants.
Giants finish with Washington, @New York Jets, Dallas.
Both of those teams are 7-6, one of them will definitely go 9-7 at best because they play each other, but I think one will go 8-8 and the other will win the division.
Meaning that Chicago can win out, go 10-6, and force the Lions to win their last three games, and last I checked the Lions are still the Lions. Detroit is my 2nd favorite NFC team, (after Tampa Bay of course!) but have you seen them lately? Matthew Stafford needs to get his contract re-negotiated to remove the part where it says "Must throw two interceptions in the first quarter of every game."
On the other hand, there are the Seahawks playoff hopes. They aren't as good as Chicago's, but a win would leap them above the Bears and probably eliminate Chicago's hope. Holy crap, wasn't there a medical show called Chicago Hope or something? I should have used that earlier. Too late to change it now. Stupid un-editable typing. I can never go back and change anything. I promise. Butts. See, I can't go back and edit that. Now my article just ends with the word butts.
Follow me on twitter @casetines and lets talk about butts.