"I will destroy you and all you've ever loved! YAAAAAAAAY!"
I originally had every intention of keeping up that one-a-week pattern I've had in years past, but weird life schedules and the league's insistence on having Bears play at times when I have to be asleep because of my weird schedule have stood in the way of that more often than not. Fuck Monday Night games, Fuck Thursday night games, and I'm not gonna try to fake like I have some insight about what happened in a game I didn't watch, because no one gains anything from reading another soulless stat-based recap, which is I'm pretty sure is why Armchair Linebacker was started in the first place. That and mushrooms, probably. Also, let's face it: Things have been going really well for the Bears this year, and football fans writing about their team being awesome can only come off sounding like total assholes, and I have at least that much self-awareness that I'd know I was being an asshole while doing it. So if that's what you want, just imagine the rest of this being things like, "guys, (insert name, probably of a defensive player) is a BEAST! BEAR DOWN!" or whatever, and then don't ever come back.
And with me being a sports pessimist of almost pathological levels, I've had this weird feeling of unease ever since it started to become apparent that the Packers game wasn't going to repeat itself ten more times in a row. Like things probably aren't actually as good as the record suggests, and even if they are, it can all fall apart at any second. Like in 2006, when the Bears were briefly a team making the '72 Dolphins nervous until the Cardinals exposed Rex Grossman as a piece of shit, or last year, when the Bears were a semi-legit contender until Jay Cutler and Matt Forte were both struck down by the wrath of Zeus in consecutive weeks. And in reality, the question of whether things will all fall apart is always an if question, but in my brain that's been beaten into submission by twenty-plus years of the Bears always almost being good, but never completely, it's more of a question of when. Somehow, something's going to give, and instead of reveling in a 5-1 record, when I think about the Bears, it's always future visions of death and pain that may yet come to pass. Something is wrong with me, probably. But the warning signs and unexposed flaws are there. They're always there.
For starters, the Bears haven't really played anybody yet. The Bears have only played one team with a winning record so far, and that was the Packers, and the Bears lost that game. The Colts were bad enough to draft #1 overall last year, the Cowboys and Rams are pieces of shit, the Jaguars are huuuuuge pieces of shit, and the Lions seem to be having one of those "what the hell, I thought these guys were going to be contenders" downfalls that some team has every year. Of course the Bears beat up on the Colts, Rams, Cowboys, and Jaguars, because that's what you're supposed to do to those teams. Against a team with elements of a team that was supposed to be good and they barely escape with the win. Put them against an actual, fully-good team, and they lose. This is not what happens when a team is going to finish 15-1 with a Lombardi trophy. Starting in November, the Bears hit a six-game stretch that includes Houston, San Francisco, Green Bay and Minnesota twice. (And Tennessee, but who cares about them) If they can win at least four of those non-Tennessee games, then I might start getting excited. Until then, it's fear and lots of Tums.
And man, no one seems to notice this, but outside of The Glorious Brandon Marshall, the entire offense always looks like it's this close to becoming a complete shambles again. And you'd think that more people would be screaming about it because everyone hates Jay Cutler, but overall, the passing game really hasn't been there. Cutler has attached himself to Marshall like a goddamn remora riding a goddamn great white shark, and the end result is a whole bunch of stupid-assed throws in stupid-assed places, because the dude gets tunnel vision and sees no jersey number other than 15. So instead of this finally being the year a Bear QB finally smashes all the single-season team passing records, (that are mostly just maybe above average by most teams' standards) he's turned into a lower-tier QB who's lucky to have more touchdowns than interceptions, and if the team was 2-4 instead of 5-1 with the same performance, fat dudes with mustaches everywhere would be screaming for Jason Campbell to start, making it the first time in history that the Bears fan base has yearned for the white man to get his comeuppance. I've been the world's biggest Jay Cutler apologist for the last few years, but if he's going to have his worst year as a starter now that he finally has real receivers and no Mike Martz plotting his demise, it might be time to face the possibility that he's really not all that good.
So yeah, you've got a really good defense here that hasn't even played its best football yet, with Urlacher and the Uberklaw walking wounded out there, (Weird observation here - People keep comparing them to the 2006 team, but no one remembers that the '05 team still had Tommie Harris and Mike Brown healthy, and actually had a better defense overall. Just like no one knows that the 1986 team was actually better than the '85 Super Bowl team. TODD BELL WAS THE KEY.) and I suppose the running game hasn't been that bad. But between Jay Cutler's selective blindness, the fact that Alshon Jeffery and Johnny Knox (remember him?) are out means Devin Hester is thrust back into the awkward role as a starting wide receiver, and that fucking offensive line, this is a team that's one twisted ankle for Brandon Marshall away from going on a six-game losing streak at any second. So pardon me for not jumping with joy, spray painting the house navy blue and orange, and waving my genitals in the general direction of all the stupid goddamn Cowboys fans around here. Because we've been here before, and we know it can always fall apart, because aside from that one time when I was five years old, it always has fallen apart. Or maybe I just have some sort of brain disease, who knows.
Anyway, the Bears play the Panthers in a minute, and the Panthers are awful garbage, but for some reason, Charles Tillman is as bad at covering little tiny wide receivers like Steve Smith as he is at covering big, impossible-to-cover ones like Calvin Johnson, so it won't be a shutout. So, hell, I dunno, Bears 38, Panthers 17, and I'll get to watch this one on illegal internets for a change, so I might actually have things to say about it. I might not actually say them, but eh, what can you do.