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Ouch. My hopes and dreams.
Thanks to this latest/earliest setback, I'm going to have to downgrade the likelihood of the Bears making the playoffs from "possible" to "leaving town during Wild Card weekend."
For those of you who didn't receive the magnet in the mail, here is the scale:
If Sunday's loss left you scratching your head (and the newly formed scabs covering the slash marks across your wrists), you're not alone. There are a lot of "what-ifs" lingering.
- Is stopping the run against Mel Tucker's religion?
- Is that really Jared Allen or was Phil Emery fooled by a fast talking long-haul trucker?
- What is the name of the medical condition that prevents Chris Conte from making open-field tackles?
- Can I come up with an excuse for that pick in the fourth quarter other than "Jay Cutler thought it was Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams' birthday?"
Mysteries abound, but there is one certainty - the number of tallies in the "Win" column for our favorite Chicago-based football crew stands at a goose egg.
Post-Turnover Stress Disorder
"We just kept stubbing our toe on certain things throughout the game . . . " said star quarterback Jay Cutler, in response to the initial volley of post-game questions.
"Things like that friggin' end table we put in the hallway, some toys my kid left on the field, and Brian de la Puente's ballsack."
Then it went like this.
"I mean, Garza's no slouch in the testicle department, but Brian - jeez. Those things are prodigious. Like, even in uniform this guy's scrotum is just scraping along the turf. Leaves a trail of tilled soil behind him. His sack must have been exposed to cosmic radiation during a space voyage. And I bet they're super smart. His balls must be named 'Reed' and 'Richards.' It's just - what's the word? Incredible. Unbelievable . . . "
"Can you tell us about those to picks?"
"Did you and Santonio Holmes have any miscommunications late in the game?"
"How is Alshon doing?"
Cutler sits motionless, sporting a thousand-yard stare.
The room falls quiet. A long silence is finally broken by veteran beat reporter Jeff Dickerson.
"Would you say his sack is a member of the Fantastic . . . Foreskin?"
Cutler slowly turns to Dickerson, eyes him for a few moments, and issues a deadpan response.
"What the hell are you talking about, Jeff? Balls don't have foreskin."
Cutler shakes his head in genuine disbelief.
"No more questions," he says, looking at no one in particular.
The press conference is over.
Next up, it's off to San Francisco, land of Bears ineptitude. And bread bowls. But mostly Bears ineptitude.
Now, I'm not known for putting a lot of "thought" or "facts" into these things (when reading this, please picture me stretching out my suspenders and speaking in a Foghorn Leghorn-like drawl), but the Bears' road record against the 49ers signifies such a hilariously bad run that there's no need to step on the joke so deftly provided by [insert deity of choice here].
The 1985 Bears road win against the 49ers remains the only one since 1979, which is to say accurately, that it is the sole instance of this outcome within the scope of my life.
So what's going on here?
It turns out that George Halas lost a bet with 49ers founder Tony Morabito that the United States would begin military operations in Vietnam by March of 1957, and the Bears have traveled to San Francisco by Greyhound bus (named Silver Dog Wagons at the time) ever since, despite Morabito's death months after the agreement.
Halas' daughter Virginia, being a woman of equal character, has honored the debt for nearly 50 years.
So when your grandkids ask you why the Bears are 2-46 all-time in 'Frisco and they don't have any cheerleaders, simply explain that the franchise has been suffering under the strong moral compass of the Halas/McCaskey family for generations.
Kool-Aid (4 Out Of 5 Pints - Anchor Steam)
I'm not much for predictions (why am I doing this 17 weeks a year?), but for those of you playing fantasy football, I'd go ahead and put Frank Gore in your starting lineup.
Hell, if you're in a PPR league put Garrison Hearst in your starting lineup; this game could get so out of hand that they'll bring him back for some third-down work.
Now, with all of that levity out of the way, let's get down to brass tax.
The Bears, though they are likely to get absolutely throttled, have not yet technically lost the contest.
That's why it's worth getting your hopes up (read: distorting your sense of reality with mescaline), at least until 7:48 in the first quarter when turnovers, bad run defense and questionable special-teams tackling lead to a 17-0 San Francisco lead.
Until that point, get excited as if the playoffs are on the line - because unless you think the Bears can close out the season 10-4, they absolutely are.
49ers 31, Bears 17.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.