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Week 1: Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel silences critics of his new "Starter 4 Life" back tattoo by leading Buffalo to an improbable overtime win in Chicago, effectively dooming the Bears' 2014 season.
Week 2: Defying a trend of epically historic proportions, the Bears coaching staff implements a defensive scheme in the hotel which allowed only five skill players to slip past hall monitors and participate in the all-night conga line at Male Tails Bar 'N' Rim.
Week 3: Uninformed that the Jets were starting Geno Smith under center, Bears defensive players spent most of the first half yelling "YOU SUCK, VICK!" across the line of scrimmage. Late in the second quarter, backup QB Michael Vick started to fire back "What the hell did I do - oh, right" from the New York sidelines before trailing off.
Week 4: In a sign of things to come, Green Bay runs away with the game as Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker inexplicably dials up a prevent defense that lasts between halftime of Week 4 and the second quarter of Week 10.
Week 5: On the road in Charlotte, the Bears lose focus late in the game when O-lineman Kyle Long and corner Tim Jennings run across Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001 on Long's "Beats Fo' Realz" Spotify playlist and get hung up on musical trivia. "Get off it, Kyle. There's no way," Jennings remarked with about three minutes left in the game. "I swear to God, dude," said Long. "Dre sampled 'Mr. Big Stuff' by Jean Knight on 'Bitch Niggaz,' it's just slowed down . . . Hey Tim, if the offense is off the field what are doing you on the sidelines right now?" As Cam Newton hit Greg Olsen for a late game-winning touchdown.
Week 6: The Falcons are the only the team the 2014 Bears have beaten that are still eligible to make the playoffs going into Week 17. In an ironic move (and from a motivational standpoint, questionable at best), Marc Trestman busted out the iPod and cranked up Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" in the visitor's locker following the win, even though this would be last time the Bears would have a non-losing record until Week 1 of 2015. Kyle Long and Tim Jennings would miss the team bus to the airport because they got hung up in the bowels of the Georgia Dome debating the name of the black guy in Mannequin (answer: Kim Cattrall).
Week 7: Oh crap, another decent football team showed up! Bears lose to the Dolphins at home in what most fans hoped was a "hiccup" but turned out to be something of a death rattle.
Weeks 8 Through 10: I don't think this is what Martellus Bennett had in mind when he declared 2014 Year Of the YAC." BAAAAAAAARRRRRRRFFFFF! Bears give up a cartoonish 106 points over the course of two football games against the Patriots and Packers, a total which still yields a horrific 35 points per game if you include the shutout they pitched during their Week 9 bye.
Week 11: With a win against the Vikings, the 4-6 Bears don't so much "get back on track" as much as someone draws them a crude sketch of Thomas The Train on a cocktail napkin, eliciting unenthusiastic nods from several members of the team.
Week 12: In what may be the final win of the 2014 season (holy crap I wish that was a joke), the Bears exact revenge on former coach Lovie Smith by making (gasp!) second-half adjustments and beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field. Thanks for our last winning season, we'll see you in hell asshole!
Week 13: The Bears celebrate their first Thanksgiving Day game in 10 years by taking a much deserved day off. Lions win 34-17.
Week 14: In a game that appeared to be over so early that even Jerry Jones changed into his pajamas at halftime (and this is a guy who wears a blazer when mounting college students), the Cowboys looked to catapult their surprise season to new heights with a rare ninth win on a Thursday night in Chicago. Despite showing the Bears how a pro stops playing defense in the fourth quarter, the Bears still lose to Dallas by two scores. In a strangely punitive move, Marc Trestman announces that he is benching kicker Robbie Gould for the upcoming game against the Saints despite the fact that zero other NFL teams want him, and Gould has a legitimate injury. "Jay [Feeley] gives us the best chance to win," said Trestman during a mid-week press conference.
Week 15: Looking like a team that would rather be playing some other sport like curling, poker, or competitive hot dog eating, the Saints hand Chicago its third straight loss. When asked about his team's upcoming match-up with the Falcons to potentially determine first place in the NFC South, a visibly confused Sean Payton glanced down at his iPhone and checked his calendar. "Oh, shit. I scheduled an 11 a.m. tee time on the 21st. Hold on, I've got to call Bootsy and cancel," said the head coach of the 6-8 Saints before leaving the press room.
Week 16: With journeyman clipboard-holder Jimmy Clausen under center, Chicago is beaten by the playoff-bound Detroit Lions. For some reason, people feel better about losing with Jimmy Clausen than with Jay Cutler. Others (me/hopefully you) don't understand why losing this way should feel anything but embarrassing.
Kool Aid (2 of 5 - Revolution Brewing Fistmas Ale)
Me: You there, boy, what day is it? What's today my fine fellow?
Boy: Today? Why it's Christmas Day.
Me: How much codeine did I put in my eggnog last night? Who is this boy in my bed? Why am I in an opium den?
I gave this Sunday's season finale against the Vikings an extra brew because it's the last game of the year.
This has been a largely painful affair.
This iteration of the Chicago Bears has been a far more difficult product for diehard fans to ingest than any in recent memory.
Last year's final BAOKAR ended with the line "I've banged fatter" and though Ted Washington didn't appreciate the veiled jab, I stand by the insightful reporting that made me an Edward R. Murrow Award finalist.
This time, I don't think I have.
Those of you old enough to remember the final two seasons of Wanny may disagree with me, but in my mind the 2014 team has been the hardest watch in a football-watching life that spans four decades (gulp, that's actually accurate); an opinion based largely on the level of talent available to the offense of this team.
The most honest insult I can lob over the fence is that the 2014 Bears made me not want to watch football on Sunday. It's an activity I love to do with friends and family . . . or, like Clamato and Crystal Pepsi, wherever good times are had!
All joking aside, watching NFL Football was something that made made me legitimately happy, and the these Bears took that away from me.
You well and truly broke my heart, Trestman.
Yes, I blame him. And I don't want to, but four months into this fiasco I'm out of places to look.
On the other hand, maybe this leads us back to the oldest axiom in football: Defense and a good rushing attack wins games - even in an era of rule changes and biases towards increasing offensive output across the board; even in a time where quarterbacks are often the ones doing a lot of the rushing. Maybe we're on the first step back to classic Bears football.
Or maybe, due to atrocious leadership, the 2014 Bears are just plain terrible, no matter what era they would have played in or what's going on with the rest of the league, and this is the first step in a rebuild that will produce another three years of unwatchable dreck.
I'm thinking that might actually be the case, but I am hopeful that it will produce several months of unintentional comedy to sift through.
As for the final game, I think a team on the upswing has something to prove, while only Martellus Bennett shows up to play for Chicago.
Seventy-eight yards on six receptions and one touchdown is not enough to beat Minnesota at home.
R.I.P, one season's worth of hopes 'n' dreams.
Oh yeah, and Merry Goddamn Christmas!
Vikings 23, Bears 17.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.
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