I watched him do it. From behind the goal post, decked out in ski goggles and enough waterproof clothing to stay dry in Seattle, I watched Tom Brady dissect the Bears defense in a blizzard. He was not phased. He was not human. Moon Mullin described the early dismantling:
The Patriots went through the Chicago defense on drives of 85 and 87 yards, lasting 12 and 11 plays against a unit that had allowed drives of double-digit plays only five times in the last five games. Less than five minutes into the second quarter the Bears were in a 14-0 hole.
In fairness I only watched the first half. That was plenty for me.
Now that same quarterback, that same coach, stand between the Bears and the possibility of a successful 2014 campaign. A win Sunday at Foxboro would send the Bears into their bye at 4-4, a respectable mark and a record to build upon over the second half of the season. A loss would compound early inconsistency and leave the Bears to answer a relentless stream of questions over the next two weeks. The most frequently asked question: how did this happen?
The 2014 season is now at a crossroads and the offense is driving the beat up jalopy. Marc Trestman is under media and fan fire after being embarrassed at home by Joe Philbin. The locker room is a disjointed group of disgruntled underachievers. Kyle Long blames and apologizes to fans in a 24-hour window. Brandon Marshall chews out the kicker (apparently). Jay Cutler cancels his radio appearance with Waddle & Silvy. They are lost. All of them. On a dark trail in the middle of the woods with no semblance of where the road might have been. Is there a map in the trunk? Anybody got GPS?
Every offensive snap will be scrutinized Sunday. Every drive will drastically sway the emotions of Chicago’s loyal and passionate fans. This Patriots defense is terrible. They let the Jets run over them to the tune of 218 yards a week ago when the top defensive item on Belichick’s agenda HAD TO BE stopping the run. (Nothing else can logically be discussed when the opposing quarterback is Geno Smith.) The Bears aren’t going to Seattle or Detroit or Baltimore. They are going to face a New England defense that should have no chance of stopping Matt Forte. They are going to face a New England secondary that has a shell-of-himself Darrelle Revis and a few other guys who should have no chance of covering the Bears receiving weapons. But we’ve been here before. No chance defenses have been given chances by the Bears offense all season.
Sunday is an emotional playoff game for the Chicago Bears. Every fan should treat it as such. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are going to do their part. Will Jay Cutler and the Bears counter? If they don’t the 2014 season will be over before the second half begins.