CINCINNATI--Where do you start after a game like this?
The New York papers have been hammering the Brooke Hundley-n-Steve Phillips affair all week ... and this debacle was that kind of ugly. This was the worst Bears' game I've witnessed in nine seasons, eclipsing the 49-7 season-opening loss at San Francisco ijn 2003 because there were no expectations for that team.
"I had forgot about the ('03 opener in San Francisco), I thought that was the only time it had happened,'' tight end Desmond Clark said.
Well, Dez, I apologize for bringing it back in your memory.
"This is a far better team than that team back in '03,'' he said. "This is probably even more embarrassing because as much talent as we have on this team, we shouldn't lose like this."
The Bears were bad all the way around in today's stunning 45-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. They were awful on defense, never got started on offense and couldn't make any kind of difference whatsoever on special teams. They were outplayed, unprepared and run over.
One person compared it to the 37-3 loss the Bears suffered at Green Bay last November but that's apples to oranges. The offense played with quarterback Kyle Orton coming off a serious ankle injury. The defense had the wrong gameplan--it planned to stop Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant overran the Bears.
Expectations are different for this Bears' team. Jay Cutler is at quarterback and the offense is supposed to be able to keep them in games. The expectations are this is a playoff team. Instead, the Bears are 3-3 and they've lost two straight. They have the gift of all gifts with the Cleveland Browns coming to Soldier Field next week. The only thing easier might be if the league moved up the date with the St. Louis Rams. I watched the very end of the Arizona-New York Giants game from the hotel tonight, and all of a sudden that visit from the Cardinals on Nov. 8 looks like one tough matchup. Go ahead and circle that ballgame as the one that might decide whether or not the Bears do anything this season.
"[Fans] don't have to adjust their expectations,'' Cutler said. "Everyone in the NFL wants to win the Super Bowl. We have those expectations. We still think we have a good football team, and we still think we can make a run.''
Here are 10 random thoughts/nuggets coming out of this horror show:
1. Chad Ochocinco has the play to back up his formidable Twitter account. That was a clinic he displayed vs. Charles Tillman, who had played so well in the previous six weeks vs. Roddy White and Calvin Johnson. Ochocinco is a sideshow like no other in the NFL, but he runs terrific routes and he makes plays. For all the buildup he gave his samba tribute to Ronaldinho, I was disappointed. Could he have toned down the celebration out of respect for the Bears? That's my only guess.
2. Speaking of Ochocinco, did you catch linebacker Lance Briggs trying to cover him across the middle of the field on that one play early in the second quarter that went for a 14-yard gain? Hey, Briggs has terrific lateral range and covers backs and tight ends well, but Ochocinco? No mas.
3. Cedric Benson's start to the season isn't a fluke. He ran hard for a career-high 189 yards and he had 200 on his mind, why else did he keep subbing back into the game as the final minutes ticked off the clock? Here's what I can't understand--does anyone believe the Bears when they say they knew he was this talented back, this guy that has proven he can be a workhorse back in the NFL?
"I saw the same thing I saw when he was with us,'' offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "He's a good football player that runs hard.''
Come on. If the Bears believed this was who Benson was, they would have waited for the wheels of justice to turn in Texas, for Benson to be acquitted on his two booze-related arrests. The fact is the Bears believed strongly that Benson was not guilty in the Lake Travis arrest. Neither case even went to trial. They dumped Benson after spending $13.8 million on him because they didn't believe he was a top running back. Period.
UPDATED: Rotowire reports that Benson was carrying the ball at the end of the game because Bernard Scott and Jeremi Johnson both suffered minor injuries.