3-5 Chicago Bears disappointing or overachieving?
CHICAGO — In many if not most situations, expectations are impossible to exceed.
As Bears players and coaches were hanging “Gone Fishing” signs on their lockers and taking off for their long four-day weekend to wrap up the first half of the 2017 season, it was left to a handful of us ink-stained wretches to try and put a period at the end of the first half stories and begin to anticipate what might happen over the final eight weeks of the season.
Where did you think the Bears would be after the first eight games?
Coming home from Green Bay five weeks ago on a Thursday night after an embarrassing 35-14 beatdown by the Packers, the Bears were calling an early halt to the Mike Glennon experiment, preparing to throw their prized rookie quarterback to the wolves and most of Bears Nation feared it was staring down the barrel of another 3-13 season.
Come on, admit it now, what were you thinking?
And then a very strange thing happened. A defense that Aaron Rodgers had caused to bear a striking resemblance to Swiss cheese turned vicious, and with minimal assistance from Mitch Trubisky — but also to his credit minimal mistakes — the Bears beat the 4-4 Ravens, stomped the 5-3 Panthers and played the 6-2 Vikings and 5-2 Saints pretty close to standoffs.
At 3-5 and with Trubisky growing a bit every week, a new toy at wideout in Dontrelle Inman and the hope that Markus Wheaton, Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, Hroniss Grasu, Nick Kwiatkoski and Sherrick McManis — sadly there don’t appear to be any other reinforcements coming this year – can get healthy, fans and more importantly the players and coaches are expecting a lot more.
John Fox stopped by the media room to say he hoped we’d all had a good Halloween, wish us a nice four-day break and tell us what he believed the club’s goals were for the second half of the season.
“I think we’re kind of where we are, but to start the season and to start every season that I’ve been here it’s to win our division.
“One thing about when you do that, you’re guaranteed a spot in the tournament. So that’s still the goal.
“You know right now we’re kind of a one game at a time, one break at a time type of mentality so, as these guys go away and refresh and regroup a little bit, kind of like a halftime break, you know they’ll start thinking about the Green Bay Packers.”
Those Packers have lost two straight since losing Aaron Rodgers for the season, and if they get knocked off at home this Monday night by the Lions, the Bears could actually be the favorite when the Pack comes to town a week from Sunday.
Either way they’ll have a shot, and the week after that the Lions come here and they’ve lost three straight and four of five going into Green Bay Monday night.
Actually, guys, with the Eagles, 49ers, Bengals, Lions again, Browns and Vikings the rest of the way out, the only really daunting task left on the schedule appears to be Philly.
These Bears aren’t going to run the table or go 7-1 beating everybody but the Eagles. They just don’t have enough offense, Trubisky will have some growing pains and there most likely are a few 10-9 and 12-10 yawners in our future that could go either way.
But the total on these Bears in Vegas at the start of the season was 5 ½ wins, and more than a few wise guys are going to spank the house and go to the bank on that one.
At the start of the season, I actually had these guys at 6-10 or 7-9, 8-8 if everything went right.
Between injuries, suspension and the struggles of Glennon, not close to everything has gone right.
But now I’m thinking wins over the Packers, 49ers, Bengals, Browns and a split with the Lions gets them to 8-8. How can they meet my expectations if I keep asking for more?