By Nick Shepkowski-

(WSCR) And just like that, the Bears sit at 7-5, and despite still being in a playoff spot, any real shot of contending in the NFC this year seems like a dream.  The offense was downright pathetic vs. Kansas City, with the injury to Matt Forte’s knee only further complicating matters.

The defense only played poor on two possessions, both of which resulted in Kansas City points.  A week ago, it was understandable to remain optimistic about the Bears chances going forward, despite obvious issues.  This week, it’s impossible.

More Coverage:
Bernstein: The Horror, The Horror
Hoge’s Notebook: Hail Mary Dooms Bears
Shepkowski: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Bears-Chiefs
Photos: Chiefs 10, Bears 3
Forte Suffers Knee Injury

The Good:

Julius Peppers – It has become an almost obvious inclusion to this category each week, but No. 90 had a monster game once again.  Sure, his stat line finishes with just four tackles, but Peppers was getting consistant pressure all day despite picking up double-teams a large portion of the time.  Peppers played well at defensive tackle as well, recording a tackle for loss.  As a result, the defensive line was able to take advantage of many man-on-man situations and make Tyler Palko’s life difficult.

Amobi Okoye/Henry Melton – Continuing with the praise of the defensive line, it was these two along with Stephen Paea who were taking away the running lanes, while also causing regular pressure on Palko.  Kansas City’s designed draws made the Bears defensive line look worse than they actually were at times, but overall it was a very strong outing from the Bears front four.

The Bad:

Johnny Knox – On his first reception of the game, Knox took a step back on a crossing pattern and ranhorizontal for far too long.  Instead of taking two steps upfield that would have resulted in a first down, Knox tried to outrun defensive backs to the edge and was caught.  Only to top things later, Knox made no effort to defend Caleb Hanie’s first interception on one of Hanie’s few decent throws of the afternoon.

Special Teams – Devin Hester had one solid punt return for 44 yards but was a non-factor after that with his most notable play outside that being a muff that nearly resulted in a turnover.  Robbie Gould missing a usually automatic 41-yard field did no favors for a team that struggled mightily offensively.  Kansas City had their own issues in special teams but a category that normally goes in favor of the Bears did not on Sunday.

Lance Louis – We loved how he prevented an interception return for a touchdown a week ago but Lance had a tough go vs. Kansas City.  On the possession where Robbie Gould eventually missed a field goal, it was Louis being beaten badly twice in a row to make the kick more difficult because of the sacks he allowed.  For an offensive line that had seemingly been improving, Sunday was a major setback with Lance Louis looking nothing like the guy he had been in recent weeks.  How bad was the Bears offensive line today?  KC had 13 sacks entering Sunday but left Chicago with 7 more.  That’s not all on the line but they weren’t helping things out much, either.

Matt Spaeth – Brought here to be a blocking tight end, it was Spaeth that made a very weak attempt at blocking Derrick Johnson when Matt Forte’s injury occurred.  If Spaeth finishes that block, then Forte doesn’t get hit the way he did and the outlook isn’t nearly as bleak as it seems right now.

Marion Barber Mishap:  The Kansas City Chiefs were in the giving mood, leaving Barber uncovered as he split out on the fourth and one play just inside the 5-yard line. Barber didn’t line up on the line of scrimmage, and the free touchdown wound up becoming just three points.  As bad as the Bears looked, they still somehow had chances to win but missing those chances did them in, and Barber’s blunder was a prime example of that.

The Ugly:

Roy Williams – Nice short arms on the one drive Caleb Hanie was able to put together.  Roy’s bad hands resulted in what should have been a touchdown into an interception, and the Bears didn’t sniff the endzone again.  Remember when he was going to catch around 80 balls this year?  He currently has 24, so I guess we can expect a monster finish to the year, right?  I’m not holding my breath.

Caleb Hanie – Although I don’t put Hanie’s interceptions on him today, he still looked like absolute garbage.  Hanie fails to step up in the pocket when it’s there, scrambles and allows himself to get hit when he can easily step out of bounds.  Hanie also struggled mightily in stepping into throws vs. KC and took seemingly forever to find open receivers on a far too regular basis.  To Hanie’s credit, he was able to lead what should have been the game-tying touchdown drive, only to have it given away by Roy Williams, but outside of that drive, Hanie was brutal.  Hanie’s final QB rating was a pathetic 23.8, the lowest by a Bears starting quarterback since… I’ll get back to you, this may take a while to find.

Third Downs –  0-for-11 on offense is unacceptable.  Some will blame play-calling, but the abilities and execution of plays should be looked at just as much.  KC converted just 6-of-20 third down themselves, but the majority were on the same two drives that happened to be the only times the Chiefs were able to score points.

With the way things are shaping up in the NFC, the Bears still somehow remain as the No. 5 seed in the playoffs if they were to start today.  The way the Bears played today, though, makes it hard to believe they’ll win enough games to make the playoffs, regardless of who their conference rivals still have on their remaining schedules.

Hanie has shown in back-to-back weeks that he’s not going to be the reason the Bears win any games.  Bears fans can just hope his ineptitude doesn’t cost them too many more.