THE MORNING AFTER: A perfect fall day spoiled

Bears Report

CHICAGO – Could you have asked for anything more on a day like this on the Sunday before Thanksgiving?

The sun was shining, the temperature was reaching 50 degrees, and the Bears didn’t have to face one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in all of football. Many were going to venture to Soldier Field to watch even if it was in the mid-30s with freezing drizzle, but to have such a beautiful backdrop made it seem like the perfect day.

With Lamar Jackson out of the lineup for the Ravens, it seemed the perfect time for the Bears to pull off a surprise victory over the AFC North division leaders and end a four-game losing streak. Who knows, maybe with a seventh playoff seed and a very average bottom of the NFC, they could try to have this year be more than something that a development year.

But no one knows how to spoil a good fall afternoon of late than the Bears, and once again, they didn’t disappoint.

A missed field goal on the opening drive foretold the afternoon that was ahead for the team that would include an injury to starter Justin Fields, some very questionable time out calls in the fourth quarter, and, of course, the last defensive series.

Tyler Huntley, not Lamar Jackson, managed to beat a Bears’ defense that kept him out of the endzone most of the day to lead a 72-yard drive for the go-ahead score. Ravens 16, Bears 13, and a fifth-straight defeat for the Bears that clouds this beautiful day.

“It’s sickening because of the fashion we just lost and especially I was on the field when it happened,” said outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who was one of the players of the game with a career-high 3 1/2 sacks. “So it’s sickening.”

He’s not alone in his assessment of how things played out at Soldier Field as another championship-less season continues to slip away at the lakefront. What’s sad is that it appeared to be a day in which the Bears would breakthrough for a somewhat thrilling victory.

Despite some issues before the play, Andy Dalton and Marquise Goodwin pulled off the perfect 4th-and-6 deep pass for the touchdown to give the Bears the lead. But it just couldn’t be that simple, as a pass interference penalty then Huntley’s impressive throw on the run to Sammy Watkins for 29 yards got all that positivity back in just 1:19 of game time.

But in reality, finishing it off would have only covered up more issues with the team that continue to exist throughout the season. Communications issues along with burning three fourth quarter timeouts when they really didn’t have to have Matt Nagy’s seat even hotter as the Bears record falls to 3-7 on the season and 19-24 since the NFC North title of 2018.

Basic breakdowns have led to embarrassing moments that have taken the team from a potential Super Bowl contender after Nagy’s first season to one that appears headed for a major retooling. It looked as if 2021 would be the year to do so, but a backdoor playoff appearance kept things in place for at least one more season.

It’s looking less and less like that will happen as the Bears limp to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day game on Sunday. Facing a winless Lions team would help Chicago fans at least have a little something to feel good about on the holiday after watching yet another victory slip away on a perfect fall Sunday that was spoiled again.

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