TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Olin Kreutz #57 of the Chicago Bears get ready to snap the ball against the Buffalo Bills at Rogers Centre on November 7, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Olin Kreutz
The Bears are 5-3. If that were offered to you at the beginning of the season, you would have wolfed it down like a hot slice of Lou Malnati's. But have you ever had less confidence in a 5-3 team? The Bears could only manage 283 yards of offense against a winless Buffalo team that had to play a home game on the road.
This victory is only the latest link in a damning chain of evidence that says the Bears are one of those teams that plays to the level of its competition. Look at the scores and you see just one convincing win, against the Panthers no less. Hell, you could roll out the '85 Bears, slap pads on 'em and they'd still whip the Panthers. Other than that, every game has been too close.
Ultimately, a win is a win. But shouldn't a legitimate playoff team take a squad of scrubs and pop their heads back like so many Pez dispensers? Look no further than Green Bay, who took Dallas and ripped their spines out, "Mortal Kombat" style, in front of a national audience. The Packers look like a team hitting its stride. The Bears look like they're still trying to work out the kinks.
When the Packers finished with the Cowboys, Jerry Jones wept out quotes like, "There are a lot of people here who are certainly going to suffer and suffer consequences." Then there's, "I can't put my finger on it because I don't have enough fingers."
Were the equally terrible Bills demoralized by the Bears? Listen to wide receiver Steve Johnson after the game: "I’ll lose a million games with these guys because there’s no quit in this team – no quit at all."
There is quit in the Cowboys. Here's Wade Phillips: "We looked like a bad team that had bad coaching." Any other pep talks, Coach? "They whipped us every way that you could whipped someone."
The difference is that when teams lose to the Bears, they have hope. They see that they were close. One additional bounce of the ball and they'd be on the other side of the win column. But the Packers are hitting their stride. And they're laying the wood to people. That's what you need to do to be a champion. You need to strike fear into your opponents. You need to psyche them out.
Nobody fears the Bears, except maybe their fans.
Still, we're 5-3. Let's savor that. Because the next eight games could be a bloodbath.