Perhaps this loss to the Minnesota Vikings is endemic of Lovie Smith's career as a Chicago Bears head coach. The defense played well, but gave up just enough to lose the game. The offense showed promise, but never put up enough points to win the football game.
In this loss the full ugliness of Smith's tenure was on display with the defense giving up over 100 yards in the first quarter to Adrian Peterson. The defense eventually played better, but the offense was not good enough to score points in key situations. The offensive line at times protected Jay Cutler, but ultimately failed in helping the Bears run the football.
Before you could blink it was 14-0 Minnesota after a Jay Cutler interception was returned inside Bears territory where Peterson punched it in for his second touchdown of the quarter. The lethargic effort in the first quarter put the Bears in a hole they could not pull themselves out of based on dropped passes and poor play calling.
Questions have to be answered after this game, and after this season. Why in so many third and one situations have the Bears put Cutler in the shot gun and telegraphed that they were throwing the football? Earlier in the season the Bears faced a third and one and didn't run the football to pick up the first down. The exact same scenario faced the Bears in this game against the Vikings, in a critical juncture of the game. Third and one the Bears need a first down, Cutler is in the shot gun and overthrows his receiver. Bears come up empty and have to punt it away.
That type of play calling lost the Bears two games if not more this season. Momentum is everything in the NFL and the Bears gave momentum back to the Vikings. There was absolutely no reason the Bears should not have put up over 30 points in this game. Instead they struggled to put up 14 points.
Why was the defense so unmotivated on the first drive of the game? First carry Adrian Peters runs for 51 yards, Vikings march 80 yards for a touchdown. Bears are overwhelmed from the start and down 7-0.
From there the offense was fighting an uphill battle, but not an unwinnable fight, for normal offenses. For the Chicago Bears offense it was too much to ask for this team to overcome a quick 14-point deficit.
What has become clear is that Devin Hester should no longer play for the Bears after this season. Same goes for Kellen Davis, he should no longer play after this season. The Bears needs weapons and blockers on offense, a complete overhaul is in order.
The question is, is Phil Emery the man to rebuild this franchise? Can you rebuild this franchise around Jay Cutler while rebuilding the defense?
Emery is not without fault on this teams' failures this season. Look no further than the failure to improve the offensive line, look no further than the failures in the draft.
A lot has to happen for this team to be competitive for a potential Super Bowl championship, more than Bears fans may be able to stomach or have patience for over the next three years.