Did you feel it? That last Jay Cutler pick meant the end of the Bears' meager last-minute comeback Thursday night, but it was also something more: It was the veritable end of the Bears' season.
Oh, sure, Chicago isn't mathematically eliminated from postseason play. But after their third ugly loss in four weeks -- the only win in that time coming against the discombobulated Browns -- would anyone bet on the Bears to make the playoffs? And if they did somehow squeak in, would anyone really think them capable of a Super Bowl run? No, and no. Teams that lose games like Thursday night's don't belong in the playoffs. Simple as that.
That's the consensus in the Chicago media today, anyway. Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey writes that despite the protestations of Lovie Smith and Greg Olsen, this is not a good Bears team, and that next year's team isn't shaping up all too well, either. Leave it to Morrissey to make us feel even worse this morning.
Meanwhile, the Tribune's David Haugh puts the blame squarely on Jay Cutler's slumped shoulders. Cutler apologized for his poor play and for letting the defense down, but Haugh writes that apologies aren't enough from a franchise quarterback. Cutler needs to start playing better, like, yesterday.
The Sun-Times' Neil Hayes agrees that this time, the Bears' o-line can't be blamed. They protected Cutler well for large portions of the game. Instead, it was Cutler's mistakes, and not his hurried environment, to blame for the five-interception mess. Mike Mulligan would like the Bears to hire some sort of psychiatric counselor, and we're pretty sure he's joking.
Windy City Gridiron saw a different o-line than Hayes, arguing that the Bears offensive line is not merely mediocre, but one of the worst in the NFL. And Da Bears Blog has a final condemnation for Lovie Smith: Moving Devin Hester to wideout ruined him. If only this were the worst of the Bears' current problems.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. He is the editor of Yahoo! Sports's college basketball blog The Dagger and a contributor to Inside The Hall. Follow him at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com, or on Twitter.