#5 Marshall, Marshall, Marshall
Bears fans complained for years about the absence of a number one wide receiver in Chicago. Then, in typical fashion for the Bears fans and media, they complained about overusing the one they got. Brandon Marshall may not have broken the records Calvin Johnson did but he delivered the most spectacular offensive performance in Chicago since #34 wore the navy and orange. If Bears fans are looking for a reason to be optimistic in 2013 and beyond they should look no further than the relationship between their quarterback and their star wide receiver.
#4 Peanut Punch: Nashville & Beyond
Charles Tillman has been the best cornerback, arguably, in the history of the Chicago Bears and this was his finest season. Never was his genius so on display as in the surreal confines of LP Field in Nashville (Soldier Field South) as he forced four fumbles with his patented Peanut Punch. Very few players in NFL history have changed the way the game is played. Tillman is one of them.
#3 Jay Cutler Handed the Vikings 14 points
Ultimately what kept the Bears out of the postseason was simple: they had a weaker season than the Minnesota Vikings. That could have been remedied in Minnesota where the Bears defense shut down AP after early success and allowed the Vikings 14 points off poorly thrown interceptions. The entire Bears team was bad that Sunday. Nobody was worse than Cutler.
#2 Russell Wilson Went 97 Yards
I sat there, in a beautiful seat, on a beautiful December day at Soldier Field. I watched the Bears, leading 14-10, send their punter onto the field and watched as Adam Podlesh pinned the Seahawks inside the five. And then it began, the ascension of Russell Wilson to the upper echelon of the NFL quarterback ranks. 97 yards and a Major Wright dropped interception later the Seahawks had the lead. (Yes, Cutler and company forced this game to overtime but this drive was the ultimate soul sucker.) If the Bears defense stops the ‘Hawks they would currently be preparing to play on wild card weekend.
#1 Gabe Carimi Could Not Play Tackle
It was the most essential misstep by the Chicago Bears coaching staff heading into the 2012 campaign: believing Gabe Carimi would be a capable right tackle. Carimi’s struggles forced offensive coordinator Mike Tice to make up for deficiencies on both sides of the offensive line and dramatically limit what the club’s offense could attempt. They will never get that opportunity now.