By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – There’s an age-old rule in the game of football, where a season is often put on the line during four quarters of fight. When it’s all over, take 24 hours and revel in the glory or sulk in the defeat.
We’ll find out Sunday at Soldier Field whether the Bears have moved on from their disappointing loss last week to the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers – or if one game will determine the results of the rest
“You’ve got to just kind of circle the wagons,” Bears guard Kyle Long said. “That’s kind of the spot we’ve been in the last few years, unfortunately.”
Now at 3-6, the Bears licked their wounds at a subdued Halas Hall on Monday, reviewing their many mistakes from a winnable game against the division rival. Then, they said it was all put to rest. Seven more games remain on the Bears’ slate, starting with the Lions (5-4) on Sunday.
These contests that lie ahead could determine whether John Fox is fit to remain as the Bears’ head coach, though one can also wonder whether the outcomes will even matter in that decision. General manager Ryan Pace may have already made up his mind on finding a replacement that best suits rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
Fox will almost certainly lose his job if the next seven games turn into a death march for the Bears. Meanwhile, the local sports sections and plenty of fans are calling for a change.
“I don’t care about those people,” Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. “I don’t care about their opinion or what they want. I know what I got in this locker room. I know what we have upstairs. That’s what we’re doing going forward.”
At the least, Hicks and his Bears teammates can have a say in the matter by showing their best fight ahead.
In New York, Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch this week put out an official team statement backing second-year head coach Ben McAdoo amid the outward appearance of his team entirely quitting. The Giants surrendered 51 points to the Rams and lost to the previously-winless 49ers in consecutive weeks. McAdoo spent Friday pleading for fans to come out and watch, but he must wonder whether his team will show up, too.
Lance Briggs, the former Bears linebacker great, recently said that the veteran voice of Fox carries too much respect in the locker room to be tuned out. He was part of a team that dismissed the words of Fox’s predecessor, Marc Trestman, back in 2014 in a season that hampered the organization for several years.
The Bears would walk a dangerous road if the effort were to drop. This is a team in key stages of a rebuilding and still waiting for the results. Unlike the veteran-laden Giants, the Bears have a young roster of players trying to prove their place in the league. A poor effort could pose a setback for the entire rebuild.
Winning against the Lions would lift the spirits around Halas Hall, which had a somber feel all during the week. Those games against the Packers mean a great deal to the Bears organization. The losses tend to linger, but the players have no choice but to move on.
Win or loss, Sunday could shape what’s next for the beleaguered Bears.