This just in -- these are not your 2006 Chicago Bears. Actually, that's been rather obvious far too often for far too long in 2007. Still, there were thoughts that they could finish on a roll and make things interesting in the season's second half.
This just in -- these are not your 2006 Chicago Bears.
Actually, that's been rather obvious far too often for far too long in 2007. Still, there were thoughts as recently as 11:59 a.m. Sunday that they could finish on a roll and make things interesting in the season's second half -- enough to possibly return to the Super Bowl in the weak-sister NFC.
That, of course, included what many perceived to be an automatic win over Detroit on Sunday, one that would get Chicago to 4-4 heading into its bye week.
Instead, the Lions completed a season sweep with a 16-7 knockout punch that hurt.
"A whole lot," said Bears guard Fred Miller.
Chicago has reached its break at 3-5, not finding much encouragement with any mathematical formula for the second half.
Defensive end Alex Brown, interjecting a dozen "I don't knows" answering questions afterward in a somber locker room, concluded:
"That's not the old Detroit Lions, and we're just not the Bears we were last year or the last couple years."
He said the Bears don't feel like a 3-5 team, and that it's hard to believe.
"Because we have so much talent, so many guys who can play from last year," he said. "It's not last year, and that's not going to help us. We've got to think of something."
There's time to do that with the bye giving them two weeks to prepare for a Nov. 11 road game at Oakland. Time will tell if that's enough time to find a team that can go at least 6-2 the rest of the way.
It might take more than 9-7. They're 1-3 in the NFC North, with two teams to overcome in 5-1 Green Bay (going into tonight's game at Denver) and 5-2 Detroit.
To think of the number of people who laughed at Lions quarterback Jon Kitna for saying Detroit would win 10 games this season. The Lions look better prepared for a playoff push, while the Bears look better prepared to push up daisies.
If the Bears were a racehorse, euthanasia would be discussed. There appears to be too many shortcomings on both sides of the ball for a team to miraculously come out of its bye week ready to play rock steady.
To this point, there have been some fun times. Devin Hester returning anything he could get his hands on, and Brian Griese's uplifting comeback efforts against Green Bay and Philadelphia.
Now, the Bears are starting to resemble last year's Los Angeles Lakers. They weren't that good, but you felt compelled to watch to see if Kobe Bryant would get 50 points on a given night. With the Bears, you still feel the need to watch to see if Hester will score a touchdown -- and how.
That's not what Bears fans wanted this season to come down to with half of it remaining.
Same with the players and coaches.
"It's disappointing to be at the halfway point of our season with a 3-5 record. There is no other way to put it except for that," head coach Lovie Smith said.
The players found ways.
"We have to come back with the attitude that the season is not lost, that we have a chance to turn the season around," Griese said.
"You stay positive by winning," Brown said, "and we're not doing that. I hear people saying the bye week comes at the perfect moment. I hope it's true this time."
The ha-ha response here would be to say at least the Bears can't lose next weekend, but we won't resort to that.
The Bears are two-time defending division champs and Super Bowl qualifiers last year. They've shown how to win in the past, and cling to the belief they can rediscover how over the next 14 days.
"I guess that's when you just have to take a look in the mirror and turn things around 180 degrees and see what happens," Miller said. "Because evidently what we're doing now is not working, and we've got to find a way to come back from this."
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.