Chicago Sun-Times

Bears playoff hopes fade as Hanie falters again

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When they finally do the autopsy on the Bears' 2012 season, it won't take long to find the cause of death: Jay Cutler's broken thumb four week ago and Caleb Hanie's inability to simply steer the Bears to victory against medicore competition.

Hanie had another dreadful outing that put the blame squarely in the laps of all those who had a hand in making him the No. 2 quarterback behind Cutler. He was 10-for-23 for 111 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions -- two of which were returned for touchdowns.

''First off, we're disappointed in our team and how we played the last four weeks,'' coach Lovie Smith said when asked about Hanie's performance. ''Of course, Caleb is a large part of that. It's hard when you don't get more production form the quarterback position. And Caleb's been our guy -- great opportunity, but we haven't played as well as we need to.''

''I came out today and felt really confident,'' Hanie said. ''You just have to critique yourself not on did you win or did you lose, but what you're doing on every single play. When I feel like I'm getting better, I feel confident.''

The Bears' fourth straight loss dropped them to 7-7 with two weeks to play. The Bears' playoff hopes are still alive, but there chances are only slightly better than Sam Hurd's chances of winning another Ed Block Courage Award.

The Bears have to beat the Packers in Green Bay on Sunday night and the Vikings in Minneapolis on Jan. 1, while the Falcons (at New Orleans, vs. Tampa Bay) or the Lions (vs. San Diego, at Green Bay) have to lose twice, while the Seahawks (vs. San Francisco, at Arizona) lose once.

Hanie had a tough break early. He connected with Johnny Knox on a 17-yard gain to convert a third-and-six play. But Knox fumbled and suffered a back injury trying to retrieve the ball. He left the field on a spinal board and will have surgery to stabilize a vetebra, but is expected to still be able to return to the Bears next season.

Hanie threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to running back Kahlil Bell for a 14-7 lead. But he made two big mistakes. With the scored tied at 14, he was under pressure from a blitzing linebacker and tried to hit tight end Kellen Davis, but instead threw the ball directly to defensive end Red Bryant, who caught the ball at the Bears 20 and had a clear path to the end zone to give the Seahawks a 21-14 lead.

''[It] was just a bootleg and two guys came off the edge,'' Hanie said. ''I tried to get rid of it. The guy [linebacker K.J. Wright] got a little more of me than I anticipated and I forced a throw right to the defensive [end]. Some unfortunate luck there.''

Hanie struggled through the rest of the game -- he was sacked three times in the fourth quarter -- and ended his difficult day with an interception that cornerback Brandon Browner returned 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Seahawks a 38-14 lead with 5:00 to play. Josh McCown replaced Hanie after that.

''I was just trying to make something happen there at the end,'' Hanie said. ''Felt like the game was a little out of hand. I don't know how much time was left, five minutes, four minutes. They brought pressure, we adjusted to it. I missed the throw a little high.''

''I missed the throw a little high'' might be a fitting epitaph for Hanie's 2012 season. His passer rating of 33.3 wasn't even the worst of his four starts in place of Cutler. He had a 23.8 rating against the Chiefs two weeks ago, also at Soldier Field.

Asked about Hanie's decision making, Smith said, ''Pressing, whatever you want to call it, we're just not getting the job done. It all falls on the quarterback, but we as an offense have not made enough plays and he's part of that. Right now we're disappointed with everything. To single out Caleb, is probably unfair.''

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I disagree Hanie did not falter, he was totally consistant with everything we have seen him do. So really the article should read "Hanie continues to suck" What you have not seen Hanie throw a pick six to a fat DT before? Oh I think we have seen that before.
How about that line? Or the defense who totally cashed it in after the half. Or the fact that Pete Carrol just took 3 former and the current head coach of the Bears to the woodshed. They got out coached big time by team just loaded with bad players and that is also banged up. They had more O-Line guys out than the Bears did.

That is called getting schooled, that was ugly.

Bad team? Stop acting like you're good, you should know what a bad team is and that was the losing team today! Arrogant Bear fan. Seahawks are a good team and the Bears are "loaded with bad players". If the Bears locker room is anything like its arrogant fans I can see why you are the bad team. Stop actin like you're better

Time to clean house & I think most Bear fans would agree and be willing to endure the rebuilding. They are clearly not a very good team, coached by a total knucklehead who is too smug and arrogant to admit his failures and look to a differnet direction. Is it me or was Tim Jennings ridiculous yesterday?

As expected, Angelo gets a pass (for the most part) in the papers today. Yes, there's a few sentences here and there about "depth" problems, or "why did we wait so long to see if Hanie could play", etc.

It's almost like the writers in this town have never watched a professional football game in their lives.

Every single story this morning should be about Angelo's shortcomings in drafting, free agent signings, player development, getting rid of productive players, etc.

Please, please, please, stop writing stories about the players shortcomings - it is not their fault. The majority of the players on the Bears do not belong in the NFL and would be cut by virtually all of the remaining teams. It is not their fault that they are on the Bears - Angelo is the one who was just stupid enough to sign them.

Aside from Hanie's dreadful display of quarterbacking, Lovie Smith was the one who got schooled. Talk about being totally outcoached. They should show him the door as well.

That was one of the most pathetic efforts by the Bears coaches and many players that I have ever seen.

It is time to get rid of Lovie, Angelo, Phillips and Martz at a minimum. How about changing some defensive philosophy and become more aggressive, the least blitzing team in the NFL is also ranked very low in many defensive categories.

Can't the Bears make a halftime adjustment? The Bears are consistently worse after halftime, while good teams actually make corrections and adjustments like Seattle did with altering the d line play to block Hanie from rolling out to his right, which was somewhat effective in the first half for the Bears.

The team folded, they played with little heart after halftime, the coaches did not bring this team through the last four games which 3 of 4 were lost in many ways by poor coaching. At 7-3 and to lose to Oakland, KC, Denver and Seattle is a bad joke. The coaching staff with the exception of Tice and maybe Marinelli should be history.

I would be the last person to characterize Mike Martz as an offensive genius, as he hasn't managed to do anything with the ragged bunch of crap he has outside of Forte, Cutler, and Bennett, but he did get one thing right...Caleb Hanie is not an NFL-ready QB. 4 years in, 2 years in for Martz's offense, and he can't move the ball. He also can't manage to see 320 lb DTs very well...So on top of every other need we have, we need to rebuild the QB depth.

So that makes our offseason wish list:
DE - to complement Peppers and Izzy, as we have gotten nothing from the depth there
LB - we don't have any on the roster, and Briggs will be a distraction this offseason - need at least 2 new ones
CB - Jennings is awful, and Tillman is so beat up he can barely wrap up any more
S - I have been impressed with Steltz the last few weeks at strong safety, and Conte looks decent, but neither is making me feel confident about our pass coverage
RB-Bell is ok, Barber is decent, but Forte might hold out, or demand a trade, so we need to be prepared for that
WR - Bennett is the only one worth keeping right now. Knox may not play next year after that injury, and he wasn't great either way
QB - Enderle backing up Cutler? Sounds a lot like what we have now. We need to make sure we know what is behind Jay.

The good thing for us is that something like 40% of the free agent signings this past offseason were on 1 year deals, so there should be a lot of players available come March, and we have an extra third rounder this year, so we have a chance to make some splashes, provided Ruskell isn't the one coming off the diving board...

I believe the problem is at the top. I think Jerry Angelo has had enough time to make things happen. Start with the draft, Chicago fans have been slamed by draft day. first are drafts are flops then to save face they are afraid to draft at all and our draft days are like we shouldn't even tune in or get excited. Bears fans deserve a draft day and so does the Bears Team. He refuses to make a deal with the best running back in the NFL which is a terrible issue. If that young man broke a leg or got serriously hurt he would never make the payday he deserves. Now he shows he is loyal to the Bears and they will screw him with a franchise deal. If I were him I wouldn't even come back this season. He owes Jerry Angelo nothing. Jerry wont go out and get us a back up quarter back and we have to suffer on Sundays watching the mess. The last issue is our famous accused drug dealer. Jerry Angelo hired him payed him millions and he failed to discover he could possibly be one of the biggest flops in Bears history. Jerry Angelo should take the heat on that signing just as a CEO would if the hiring was made in the buisness world. He needs to go!

Ah Yo. Times are kinda tough in Chicago these days, you know I am a huge fan of Da Bears. People forget I named my dog Butkus, ah yo BUTKUS! I love my Philly but Eagles fans worry me just a little bit. Plus I am not so much on the dog fighting QB, the Stallion loves his dogs.

I been a little worried about the Da Bears and I think it's time for a classic Rocky motivational speech, ah you. This speech goes out to the players.

You ain't gonna believe this, but you used to be the most beautiful team ever. I'd watch you on tv and say to Adrian, Yo, Adrian this teams gonna be the best team in the world. This was back in 85. This teams gonna be better than any team you or I ever saw." And the Bears were wonderful. It was great just watching you Bears, every day was like a privilige. Then the time come for you to be a new team and take on the nfl, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're not a good team. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow, then you kept firing and hiring people and trying to become something your not.

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!

Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! I'm always gonna love da Bears no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my team and you're in my heart. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain't gonna be no team.

Nothing is going your way and the season may seem like it's over, but that don't mean you roll over and push up some daisies, like that last game. Now I know it's asking alought but what you guys did in that last game wasn't right. Cause if you're willing to go through all the battling you got to go through to get where you want to get, who's got the right to stop you? I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to someone, something... and you're told no, even after you paid your dues? Who's got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody! It's your right to listen to your gut, it ain't nobody's right to say no after you earned the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do!... You know, the older I get the more things I gotta leave behind, that's life. The only thing I'm asking you guys to leave on the table... is what's right. You may not win but that don't matter either, what matters is you finish what you started. You go the distance, Ah yo.

Rocky was never that long-winded.
This has been a miserable season for Bear fans and doubtless an even more miserable one for the Bear players. We all had high hopes only to see them broken a lot worse than Cutler's thumb. I feel for those players who worked so hard only to have the whole season go down the tubes. The only partially saving grace I can think of is admittedly unrealistic:seeing the Bears frustrate the Packers and pound on Rodgers the way Kansa City did.

Playoffs? (Que Jim Mora.) The Bears' playoff hopes ended when one of their incompetent receivers fell because he didn't know enough to keep his feet flat when he made a cut in order to keep his cleats in the ground, so he slipped and caused an interception that caused Jay Cutler to break his thumb. If anyone had any doubts about that, the Kansas City game should have cleared them up.

Jay Cutler was working miracles with no line or receivers, but there are probably only two or three other QBs who could've done that, if any (Rodgers showed he can do it without a line, but he's always had receivers). When you build a team around individual players instead of a system and those players get hurt, this is the result. See Indianapolis, for example.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on December 18, 2011 7:42 PM.

Angelo: Hurd arrest 'ultimate selfish act' of betrayal was the previous entry in this blog.

Spine surgeon says Johnny Knox should be fine for 2012 is the next entry in this blog.

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