By Jeff Joniak-
(CBS) In a span of five days, we’ve already witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly of a football season. It’s not unusual. This is typically the story in September around the league, where wide swings in emotion and performance cloud evaluations.
Week 1 is a crap shoot. No one knows what to expect. Week 2 is often just as surprising. Identity evolution requires a level of patience few have the stomach to accept. That’s the beauty of the NFL. It’s a book with 16 unique chapters.
In the Bears’ receivers room, that is exactly the approach taken by assistant coach Darryl Drake. Chapter one and two are written, but chapter three is a clean page.
The fresh start against the Rams a week from Sunday at Soldier Field will provide renewed focus on the good, with the hope that lessons learned from the bad and the ugly will channel growth and improvement.
Everything is magnified in September, even though December matters more. The hope is teams don’t play themselves out of contention. I don’t think that will happen with the Bears.
We can be discouraged by the jarring, momentary, derailment of expectations for a promising offense, but it’s wasted energy. Adversity is unrelenting. It’s coming, and there’s no way to stop it. How they collectively handle it will ultimately determine their destination for 2012.
That being said, what disturbs me is how the Bears lose games. In particular, how they lose them to the Packers. In nine of the last 10 meetings, the Bears were down at least two scores before they ever get in the endzone.
Clay Matthews Jr. is one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, yet his best career single game performance came Thursday night with 3.5 sacks.
Jay Cutler was sacked seven times and intercepted four times in one game. That hasn’t happened to a Bears quarterback since Bobby Douglas 41-years ago.
The 168 yards of total offense by the Bears is the fewest against the Packers in 37 years.
On fourth-and-26, the Packers executed a fake field goal to perfection ending in a 27-yard touchdown shovel pass from the holder Tim Masthay to reserve tight end Tom Crabtree. He scored untouched, when one hit would have turned the ball over to the Bears.
It’s concerning to look at the offensive issues the Bears develop against the Packers. In Cutler’s seven games against Green Bay his TD-to-INT ratio is 8-to-15 with 26 sacks.
On a broader scale, the Packers don’t lose NFC North home games, now 16-3 under head coach Mike McCarthy, best in the NFL since 2006.
In the division, McCarthy’s Packers have an 8-game winning streak. They play five of their final seven games in the NFC North.
All of a sudden no one is worried in Green Bay and everyone is worried in Chicago. A week ago, it was just the opposite.
That’s the NFL.
Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play voice of the Chicago Bears on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffJoniak.