Stewing Over Week 13 in the NFL: Tim Tebow >>>>>>> Caleb Hanie

I’m so depressed over the Bears this week that I’m not sure I’m going to make it through this column. I certainly don’t have the energy to talk about the Packers winning, the Texans beating the Falcons (even if that means the Bears are still “technically” in the playoff picture), and I might just have to let Burner and Kevin talk about Tebow. Lord knows (pun intended) we’re going to be talking all about him next week since that’s the Bears next game and they have to win it.

So let’s just get this one out of the way first:

Chiefs (5-7) def. Bears (7-5) 10-3

Dave: The big story here is not just that the Bears lost and looked terrible in doing so, it’s that Matt Forte left the game hurt. The early news is not good and it looks like he might be out for the rest of the season. The injuries that the Bears have been so lucky to avoid these last two years have officially caught up with them and a number of stupid plays as well as a successful Hail Mary (by the Chiefs) combined to be too much this week. With losses by the Giants, Cowboys, Lions, and Falcons the playoff picture didn’t shift at all but it’s seeming more and more unlikely that the Bears will not be able to win a couple more games and get a wild card spot. Hanie looked absolutely terrible and without a running game I think the Bears are toast.

So what are you guys take-aways from this game? Can the Bears put together enough to win a couple more games?

Burner: Because the Tebows were on Fox getting into a shoot out with the 2-9 Viking, this game wasn’t on in Denver. I don’t feel like I missed much. The last I heard about Forte’s knee was that it’s an MCL Sprain and he’ll be out for two to four weeks. If that diagnosis holds he could conceivably be back for the playoffs. Last week we were basically guaranteeing the Bears a wild card spot, citing the easy schedule and the unspectacular competence of Caleb Hanie. Now, after Forte’s injury, Hanie’s implosion, and a loss to the putrid Chiefs the playoffs seem much less likely. You don’t have to stretch your imagination much to see the Bears finishing out 1-3 and missing the playoffs with an 8-8 record. The Bears season likely hinges on next week’s match up against the Tebows. (LiveBlog, anyone?)

Kevin and I were texting back and forth on Sunday about possible free agent solutions to the Hanie problem. Kevin suggested McNabb, but I think this would be a mistake, he’s unfamiliar with Mike Martz’s system and the knock on him in Minnesota was that he didn’t really make any effort to learn their playbook. That brings me back to Marc Bulger, who, when in peak form, was a comparable QB to McNabb and has the added benefit of being familiar with the Martz system. Trouble is he seemed pretty set about retiring and might now be in game shape, that and the idea of him being the Bears QB makes Dave want to vomit. So what do you think of Jeff Garcia? I read he worked out for the Texans after Lienart went down. Or maybe John Kitna? He should be familiar with Martz from their time in Detroit.

Kevin: What a [expletive deleted] game. Does anything else need to be said here? Losing on a fluke, hail mary deflection? Are you [expletive deleted] kidding me? Also thanks Lovie Smith and Mike Martz. How did you get outcoached in this game? How did you not RUN THE [expletive deleted] BALL at all in the 4th quarter. You’re down all of 7 points against a team that could do NOTHING all day. WHY oh WHY are we passing the ball every single down? Last week I defended the play calling of Martz. Well this week he decided to [expletive deleted] me over by calling a terrible game down the stretch. Complaints are now valid.

It’s also pretty shocking (not really) that this Bears franchise never, ever has a quality back-up. We’ve been in this position before with this franchise, and you’d think after X number of decades they would figure it out. But nope. We’re stuck losing yet another potentially good season on a shitty QB.

And I’m witholding judgment on the Forte injury. Obviously, that sucks, but you know, Barber isn’t some slouch. I think Forte is over-rated nationally, though he is still very good and the Bears’ best option. Hopefully he’ll be back in a couple of weeks, but there’s nothing he could have done to win this game. He might have gotten two touches in the 2nd half the way Haine was playing.

Roy Williams, please pull a hammy. Do something so I never have to see you again.

Lastly, [expletive deleted] Devin Hester. I’m so tired of him refusing to call a fair catch at the 20-25. Instead he routinely lets the ball roll down to inside the 10. He did this at least 46 times yesterday and it’s absolutely [expletive deleted] infuriating. You’ve got a [expletive deleted] QB that can’t move the ball well, so why not ATTEMPT to make his life a tad bit easier by shortening the field about 20 yards. Nope. [expletive deleted] it, I’m Devin Hester.

Broncos (7-5) def. Vikings (2-10) 35-32

Dave: Tebow does it again. The Broncos were down late and they still came away with a victory. Tebow had two TD throws in the game too. I can’t believe that the Vikings (without Peterson) were somehow able to score 32 points. That makes no sense whatsoever but then again, the Broncos winning another game via a late comeback also is hard to fathom. So here we stand. Next week, it’s Bears vs. Tebow. My guess is the winner goes to the playoffs and the loser doesn’t, but maybe I’m just being dramatic. Fire away, what are your thoughts on Tebow?

Burner: Sigh. It was Tebow time again this week in the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome. I feel like the world has shifted and now I’m in the position that the Tebow supporters were once in, denying the evidence before my eyes. After all, Tebow went 10-15, 200 yards, and 2 passing TDs. Those are solid, Ben Rothlisbergian numbers. Tebow even looked like Rothlisberger, scrambling in the back field and making time for his receivers to get open. If Tebow can do this week in and week out, then I’ll be forced to admit that he’s the real deal. But look, the Vikings are terrrrrrible, they’re 2-9 and they’re fielding the most injury depleted secondary this side of the St Louis Rams. The Bronco’s defense was uncharacteristically bad today and Tebow kept them in it until Ponder remember he was a rookie and threw the game ending interception. It was a good game for Tebow but it doesn’t change my opinion of him and his windmill wind up much.

On the playoff front, the Broncos are looking blessed by good fortune. Oakland’s blowout loss to Miami moves them into a tie with Denver for first in the AFC West, and Denver holds the tie breaker by virtue of a superior divisional record. Meanwhile Denver catches the reeling Bears in Denver next week. Denver has three of their remaining four at home, with only the Patriots posing any serious threat. Oakland meanwhile, has to face both Green Bay and Detroit before finishing out against Kansas City and San Diego. It looks to me like the AFC West is Denver’s to lose.

Kevin: TEBOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I didn’t watch this game entirely, but of course when the 4th quarter hit the Bears game and it was becoming obvious they would lose, I immediately went to the TFL channel (Tebow Football League). He is must watch TV and I love every second of it. What’s most impressive is that he’s getting better every single week. His first game he was awful, and every game it’s a little better here, a little better there. There were not many bad throws in this game (that I saw anyway), but instead a lot of really tough, high quality throws. He nearly won the game in regulation on a perfect 25-30 yard pass all the way across the field, but the WR couldn’t hang on. Still, 10 of 15, 200 yards, 2 TD’s and a running theme – zero interceptions. Protect the ball, protect the clock, make the big play. Tebow football.

 

Quick Hits:

 

Titans (7-5) def. Bills (5-7) 23-17

Dave: The Bills are officially done and the Texans are still alive in the playoff picture. Boring.

Dolphins (4-8) def. Raiders (7-5) 34-14

Dave: The Raiders (who I thought looked half decent last week) are blown out by a suddenly resurgent Dolphins team.

Kevin: Anyone else think the Dolphins can finish 8-8? PHI, BUFF, NE and NYJ left… it’s possible the way they’re playing.

Steelers (9-3) def. Bengals (7-5) 35-7

Dave: The Steelers are looking really good at the right time. What else is new?

Kevin: There went the Bengals chances. Still promising for next year though.

Jets (7-5) def. Redskins (4-8) 34-19

Dave: The Jets will probably make the playoffs. The NFL is the worst sometimes.

Burner: I was rooting hard for the Redskins to win this game as I watched it go by on the crawl. The Jets had me rooting for an NFC East team owned by Dan Snyder. The NFL really is the worst sometimes.

Kevin: I see a lot of similarities with the Redskins and Bears – two franchises that always should be better than what they are.

Texans (9-3) def. Falcons (7-5) 17-10

Dave: This was one of the only good things that happened this week as the Bears needed the Falcons to lose.

Packers (12-0) def. Giants (6-6) 38-35

Dave: The Packers were suppose to lose this game, the Giants forced a tie with one minute to go, but of course Rodgers marched the Packers down the field and they hit a game winning field goal. Of course he did. The Packers are winning the Super Bowl. I hate the NFL.

Burner: I was one of those saying that this was the one game left on Green Bay’s schedule that looked like a loss. Chicago’s loss, along with all the other teams in the wild card hunt, made this game far more important for New York than for Green Bay. To their credit, New York did make a game of it, holding the mighty Aaron Rodgers to a QB Rating of 106, the first time it was below 110 all season. The loss though likely means the end of the Giant’s playoff hopes and sets up Green Bay’s New Years day game against Detroit as one that could determine the Lion’s wildcard future.

Kevin: Well, for 3.5 quarters I thought the Giants played well. Take away that terrible pick-6 by Manning and this is probably a win. Looking pretty likely that the Packers are going undefeated.

49ers (10-2) def. Rams (2-10) 26-0

Dave: This confirms that if the Bears make the playoffs they’re getting crushed in the first or second round.

Cardinals (5-7) def. Cowboys (7-5) 19-13 (OT)

Dave: This was literally the best thing that happened this week.

Burner: I have to admit Dallas choking this one away against Arizona had me cackling with glee. It’s nice to know you can always count on Cowboys to get in their own way. It seems just last week I was warning Kevin in this vary space not to sleep on the NFC West, and this week the only team in the NFC West to lose were the Rams who were facing the 49ers. Both Arizona and Seattle beat “superior” NFC East teams this week that were supposed to win in a walk. The Rams season has been over for months, so these upsets against the East are the best I can hope for these days.

Kevin: LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Seahawks (5-7) def. Eagles (4-8) (31-14)

Dave: This was literally the second best thing that happened this week.

Saints (9-3 ) def. Lions (7-5) (31-17)

Dave: The Lions kill themselves with stupid penalties (again) and lose to a really good Saints team. They did look awfully competitive in the loss, however.

Burner: The Lions were unable to overcome the combined forces of Drew Brees, their own bad decisions, and the refs on Sunday night. The Saints ran out to an early lead but every time the Lions threatened to close the gap they would do something stupid, like shoving a referee or committing stupid unsportsmanlike penalties directly in front of the referees. Meanwhile Nate Burleson must have slept with one of the ref’s wives as they called one tick-tack offensive pass interference penalty after another on him. Cris Collinsworth kept insisting that it was Burleson’s extending his arms that was drawing the flags, but it seemed to me there was little interference committed on any of these plays. In the end, penalties and Kevin Smith’s injured ankle kept the Saints out of reach and Detroit failed to seize the opportunity to gain a little room in the wild card race. The Forte injury helps them out too though, and they now look most likely to share the wild card berths with Atlanta.

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