GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 02: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball after making a catch against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Ultimately? No harm, no foul.
So we lost to the Packers. Big deal. It was a boring game with no playoff implications for the Bears. We could have benched everyone and the outcome would have been the same. But there were some trouble signs the team will need to work on to prepare itself for the postseason.
1. That Darn O-Line! It was a problem when the season began and it seemed to be a problem Sunday as well. The Packers blitzed repeatedly and it paid off in six sacks. Six! Totally unacceptable.
Here's how we fix it: In practice, put the offensive linemen's grandmothers under center, one at a time. Then, unleash a blitz from Peppers, Urlacher & Co. After three seconds, blow a whistle to stop the blitz. But if the line can't hold up for at least three seconds, somebody's grandmomma is going to get flattened.
2. Time Out Trouble! Playoff teams need to manage the clock far better than the Bears did yesterday. It seemed they called "time" at moments of panic. One of those ill-fated time outs (Times out? Whatever.) negated a monster play and the next snap led to a turnover. It's time to get on the same page and manage the game.
Here's how we fix it: Put Lovie Smith's mom in a giant tank. Whenever a time out is used, water floods a third of the tank. The tank is only drained at halftime and at the end of the game. So if Lovie burns all three time outs with five minutes left in a half, his mom will have to hold her breath that long. Sorry, Lovie. Don't scare your mom. Be judicious with those time outs.
3. Execute Already! While the D looked sharp, the Bears offense seemed to move in slow motion. Bad throws, lackluster attempts at catches, just five converted third downs all game, only 117 passing yards. This is not playoff-caliber offense. Remember how the Patriots came to Soldier Field and ran all over the field? That's playoff intensity. We've seen this Bears offense mix things up and weave down the field. But yesterday, it looked like a bad preseason contest. Can't have that.
Here's how we fix it: Drop a ball and send Kathy Bates down on the field to hobble you, "Misery"-style. For every interception, we take a finger. For every third down not converted, we force the entire offense to sit through last year's "Clash of the Titans" remake. And that's just cruel.
Thankfully, this loss won't mean anything in the long run. But great teams show killer instinct at crunch time. We'll find out if the Bears have that in less than two weeks.