This is the day Lovie and Jerry got fired. They just don’t know it yet. The Bears’ record (4-3) still looks OK, but the arrow points down on Chicago and its embattled coach and general manager after six turnovers in the second half of Sunday’s 17-14 loss to Washington.
This is the day Lovie and Jerry got fired.
They just don’t know it yet.
The Bears’ record (4-3) still looks OK, but the arrow points down on Chicago and its embattled coach and general manager after six turnovers in the second half of Sunday’s 17-14 loss to Washington.
“It was a must win,” cornerback Charles Tillman said. “We’re still in first place in the division, but you don’t want to just hang on to it; you want to break away from the pack. Right now, we’re still in the pack.”
What truly cements the fate of Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo is how the Bears lost.
Some Bears, catching the eternal optimism of Lovie and Jerry, see six turnovers as a sign of greatness to come.
“We’re better than our record,” defensive end Israel Idonije said. “If a team came in here and ran up and down the field on us and we had no answer for what they were doing and we were just physically dominated, I’d say it’s going to be a long season. But that’s not the case. We’re giving these wins away?”
Idonije doesn’t mourn those six turnovers because “you can’t dwell on mistakes. You’ve got to come up with solutions. Clean it up and get after it. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Well, what are those solutions?
“If I knew, we would have done it two weeks ago,” said $91.5 million defensive end Julius Peppers. “It’s the same story every week: We’re playing good in spurts, but it’s not all coming together at once. When that happens – if that happens, who knows when it will – then we can feel good about the direction this thing is going in.”
The direction is a circle. Lovie’s and Jerry’s teams keep chasing their tail. How are the Bears going to change when they show no willingness to change?
Trading for Jay Cutler was supposed to be Angelo’s claim to fame. Cutler threw four interceptions Sunday and lost a fumble at the 1. He threw all four interceptions in the second half to the same player, Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
“There’s no reason to shy away from him,” Cutler said.
Not even after he returned the second pick 92 yards for the winning touchdown?
“If we had to play them tomorrow, I’d still go after him every time if we could.”
Does that sound like a team that learns from its mistakes?
Have 31 sacks taught Angelo to draft offensive linemen?
Has Lovie Smith learned when to throw the challenge flag? Sunday, he threw one when Earl Bennett caught a 48-yard pass to the 1, hoping to get a touchdown instead of first-and-goal. But he didn’t challenge on the next play when Cutler might have scored before losing a fumble.
“Considered it quickly,” Smith said of challenging the fumble.
But he didn’t.
“Normally, if it’s a critical play like that, we will challenge.”
Not this day, including the first interception, when even Hall thought the ball moved as he hit the ground. “I was hoping they wouldn’t challenge it,” Hall said
D.J. Moore, who returned one interception for Chicago’s first touchdown and had a second pick-six erased by a delay of game penalty, said he’s never seen a game like this one. “Except when I played Madden a couple of times.”
Stick around. Lovie’s Bears do this more than you’d think. They were outgained 144 yards to minus-5 in the first quarter, yet led at halftime, then turned the ball over six times to lose.
“That’s us stopping ourselves,” center Olin Kreutz said.
Shouldn’t Lovie and Jerry have stopped that by now?
“We’re not where we want to be, I know that much,” linebacker Brian Urlacher said. “You want to get better as the season goes along, and I don’t know if we’re doing that right now. We’re making too many mistakes on both sides of the ball and not progressing as we should.
“Every guy looks in the mirror after a game like this. Or they should.”
If Lovie Smith looks in the mirror, he’ll see a dead coach walking. And a dead GM walking by his side.
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at: 815-987-1383 or email@example.com.