Jay Cutler suffered a concussion and didn't return in the loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night and backup Jason Campbell could only muster a field goal in relief. However the biggest exposure for the Bears in this game may didn't come from the QB position, rather the offensive coordinator.
Mike Tice is learning on the job and he's not progressing from week to week. At one point in the game the Bears faced a critical 3rd down and three deep in their own territory. They needed a 1st down to keep from going three and out and giving the Texans the ball back in excellent field position. Rather than run the ball or even run the double slant that worked so well in the closing minutes of the Carolina game, the Bears took a shot down the field to Devin Hester. The play a sort of back shoulder fade required Hester to come back to and go up for the ball. The defender had his hand up in between Hester's arms and the ball was not caught.
The Bears punt it away at that point and the Texans march down the field for the only touchdown of the game. With the Bears defense exhausted from the Texans holding the ball for over 17 minutes of the first half Arian Foster and Justin Forsett put together their best effort of the night. Foster ripped off a 21 yarder and Forsett followed with a 25 yard run that led to the score.
Later in the game with the Bears facing a 3rd down and 10 the Bears did the completely opposite as Jason Campbell threw a quick pass three yard pass to Brandon Marshall. Three yards when you need 10 and no first down for the Bears at another critical point in the game.
Other problems the Bears faced on offense that put them in the hole, false start penalties on 2nd down from both Gabe Carimi and Chilo Rachal that killed drives.
Add to it two horrible throws that led to interceptions from Jay Cutler, both into double coverage and two fumbles and the Bears were sunk. Kellen Davis was rocked in the chest by Daniel Manning forcing a fumble and Michael Bush fumbled the ball away after getting big yards on 4th and 1.
The Bears' offense also struggled with dropped passes with Kellen Davis dropping one, Brandon Marshall dropping two including a sure fire touchdown from Cutler. Marshall has dropped two touchdown passes on the season leading to a never ending string of questions about his consistency. Marshall has been fantastic and has had no help from Hester or Bennett, but he has to stop dropping passes in key situations.
Alshon Jeffery cannot get back quickly enough to help out this offense. The Bears offense wasn't much better with Jeffery, but Jeffery is light years better than Earl Bennett and Devin Hester. Hester is in the last year of his contract and will not, nor should he finish out his career in a Chicago Bears uniform. Hester has earned his money as a return man, but is now looking mortal late in his career. He not only looks a step slower but all too often goes east and west when he should be going north and south costing the Bears crucial yards.
Earl Bennett is a complete waste of money and was the final debacle from the Jerry Angelo era when he was given a completely undeserved contract extension. Bennett can't get open to save his life and should receive his walking papers or be pushed further down the depth chart. If he wants to stay on the roster beyond 2012 he should take a significant pay cut.
Lastly after sticking up for and defending Kellen Davis over the last two season I have come to a conclusion. Davis has played his final season in a Bears uniform and the Bears need an obvious upgrade at the position. He runs routes and gains separation like a tin man in need of oil.
We can now say for certain what this Chicago Bears offense is, a very bad offense that is led by a completely inept offensive coordinator. Mike Tice has no business calling plays and the man beneath has equal ineptitude as a play caller. Jeremy Bates' relationship with Cutler has led to a regression from the quarterback that could very well prevent Cutler from becoming even a decent QB option at this point.
No, the season is not over and doom and gloom talk about the Bears missing the playoffs is completely unfounded. However you can be certain that the 2012 Chicago Bears are a 10-6 type of team that will be bounced in the first round of the playoffs.