By Dan Bernstein
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) Everything about those four hours was awful.
The Bears’ 37-34 overtime loss to the Lions on Sunday blows, first of all, considering the difference between Chicago being 2-4 or 3-3 headed into its bye week. Whatever you think that may mean in the macro, we know it’s important to the Bears. Any number of chances were there, and they stayed there – left on the field to wither in the ground-up old tires underneath the Ford Field turf.
The Lions tried to use every bit of their supernatural Lions powers to give the Bears the game, from Matt Stafford barfing up a typical fourth-quarter interception to Detroit committing 10 penalties for 98 yards, with huge chunks of them letting Jay Cutler march down the field with 21 seconds left to set up the game-tying field goal that added an overtime period to an already excruciating afternoon. The Lions gave the ball back to the Bears on two muffed punts, too, seemingly begging to be put out of their misery and dropped to 0-6.
But John Fox’s team kept supplying impressive responses in this arms race of professional football incompetence, missing tackles and assignments, taking bad angles and penalties of their own. It wouldn’t be a Fox-coached game without clock-management questions, so we were left to wonder about his late-game use of timeouts yet again. And Cutler’s own end-zone pick is another to added to his own dubious list of them.
Not that it mattered. After sitting through that, I don’t think anything matters anymore. The oceans are rising, the universe is expanding, there could be a major earthquake sometime soon and maybe a comet or an asteroid or something. At this point, I can’t say I’d be against any of it, especially if it guarantees that Walt Coleman’s officiating crew is never on my television again.
The only person on the planet powerful enough to stop it anyway is Pernell McPhee, and he’d be too busy being held by five people while nothing is called.
And what’s a catch? I’m serious. What is a completed pass?
Based on the early, dueling interpretations of league experts and the instant dissemination of contrasting video to support opposite conclusions, all we know is that the process of catching the ball has to be completed except when it doesn’t, because a receiver can establish himself as a runner, sometimes without even having secured the ball.
I have established myself as confused, overwhelmed and slightly nauseated from all of it. It’s now like watching Groucho and Chico Marx negotiating a contract.
After further review, I also don’t know what a legal pick play is either. All I know is that the Patriots run picks constantly, sometimes in bunches near the goal line. There must be different rules at different times in different cities.
We also have to come to grips with the very real possibility that the Bears actually missed Shea McClellin at inside linebacker Sunday. We now confront the idea that we live in the kind of world where such a thing is possible.
Reality is never a bad thing, though, and this loss at least ends our irrational exuberance after consecutive, come-from-behind wins. This probably should have been another one, but it would have fomented outlandish assessments of a team that still has such a slim margin for error. In that way, it’s about right. At least we won’t have to watch that game again.
I’m going to do something more fun, like the dishes. Or perhaps welcome the zen of folding laundry, either of which is pretty much as meaningful as that all was.