THE MORNING AFTER: This is rebuilding, Bears fans

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SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 27: Punt returner Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks returns a punt for a long gain against the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on September 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Richard Sherman

SEATTLE – If you dare look at the stats, there is one that best fits of the state of one of the NFL’s oldest franchises.

It’s not just one measurement  like total yardage (146), passing yardage (48) or trips to the red zone (0). Yes, those were numbers for the Bears on Sunday when they made the trip to Centurylink Field.

But there’s a comparison of two statistics that proves just how low the Bears sit among the other 31 teams in the NFL, particularly their opponents on Sunday.

Jimmy Clausen completed just nine of his 17 passes on the afternoon. Pat O’Donnell punted ten times. That’s 10-9 if you are keeping track at home, with the kicks beating the pass completions on Sunday.

If two previous weeks of football didn’t show it to pro football fans holding out hope for John Fox’s first Chicago team, just look at that statistic.

Folks, welcome to rebuilding.

It’s here and it’s real and it’s going to take a while. The best is yet to come because the low point is now.

There are so many reasons it reached this place. Bad drafts and mismanagement plagued the franchise long before John Fox ran his group onto the field on Sunday afternoon into a waiting blue and green buzz saw waiting on the other side. Not that their opponents cared.

An angry Seattle team-the defending NFC Champions-came in  0-2 on the season with one of their best defenders returning to the lineup. Maybe that’s why fans were just hoping not to have over 50 points put up on them like New England did to Jacksonville just a few hours before.

Welcome to rebuilding. Moral victories take the place of more traditional expectations.

That’s why an extremely conservative six-point deficit at halftime was incredible to many fans on social media. The Bears didn’t just get one sack, they got two (both the first of the season) and a goal line stand forced three points instead of seven. Stuff like that could make a fake punt (no, it was Seattle’s return team that faked out the Bears coverage, allowing Richard Sherman to return the kick 64 yards to set up a field goal) not seem so bad.

The average vibes didn’t last for long.

For a second-straight week the Bears kickoff team not only allowed a 100-plus yard return for a score but failed to lay a hand on Tyler Lockett as he raced to the endzone for the touchdown. Thirteen point lead. With Jimmy Clausen that was insurmountable as his five second half drives netted one first down and a meager 16 total plays.

Welcome to rebuilding.

A 26-0 defeat might be a relief. The history books will show it as just a bad day, not a historic blowout. Just like the last time the team got shut out in the season finale in 2002. That was against the soon-to-be Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in Champaign when Henry Burris, like Clausen, was ineffective in a 15-0 loss at Memorial Stadium.

It also continues the notion that this will be a long and difficult season for a team that right now lacks the weapons to give teams more than a decent effort. Even if Jay Cutler and Alsh Jeffery return to the lineup soon, this is looking like the 3-13 teams Sports Illustrated predicted before the season.

Maybe Matt Forte had it right after the game when he was asked about starting a season 0-3.

“I’m not really concerned about what our record is right now,” said Forte, who ground out 74 rushing yards and kept playing despite back pain in the second half. “I just want to continue having everyone play as hard as they can out there.

“We’re still figuring out if some guys really want to do that.”

Be patient, Matt. It could take a while to solve that riddle of the 2015 season. Now what seemed like the best chance to win a game, a Week 4 contest with the Raiders, seems like less of a sure thing. Oakland is rejuvenated with a new quarterback and coach and is 2-1 on the young season. Early odd have them as the favorite at Soldier Field next Sunday.

Welcome to rebuilding. The best is yet to come but get a chair. The wait could be a bit.



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