10 observations on the Bears
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org November 28, 2011 1:01PM
Caleb Hanie wasn't the sole reason the Bears lost Sunday's game to the Raiders. Click through the gallery for 10 more observations on the Bears. | Getty Images
Updated: November 28, 2011 9:19PM
Caleb Hanie lost a game that Jay Cutler would have won. But until he loses a game that Caleb Hanie should have won, there’s no reason to get too panicky over the performance of the Bears’ back-up quarterback.
If Hanie had started strong and thrown three interceptions in the second half with a chance to win the game, you might have something there. But almost every mistake he made was pretty typical for a young quarterback making is first NFL start against a good pass-rushing team on the road.
The big question is how quickly he learns. Hanie’s second NFL start will be at Soldier Field on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs — who rank 20th in yards allowed, but more importantly are last in the NFL with 13 sacks in 11 games. If he throws three picks and has a sub-80 passer rating in this game, the Bears have a problem.
(Though it’s worth noting that Ben Roethlisberger — a quarterback even more accomplished in the NFL than Cutler — had an 81.8 rating against the Chiefs on Sunday night on 21-of-31 passing for 193 yards, a touchdown and an interception.)
Maybe 11 weeks of Lovie Smith is wearing on me, but all the Bears have to improve from top to bottom this week, not just Hanie. Mike Martz has to call a better game. Special teams has to give Hanie better field position. And the defense has to create more than one turnover. That’s the formula that’s going to carry the Bears through the Cutler injury.
But the bottom line is that nothing happened in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders that altered the Bears’ course this season. This was expected to be a difficult one. The real test for the Bears in the post-Cutler phase of their season begins Sunday. CLICK HERE for 10 other observations from the Bears-Raiders game: