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Clausen a ray of sunshine in stormy Bears season

After weeks of pure misery, of controversy and calamity, a tiny sliver of nice dropped out of nowhere Sunday.

Jimmy Clausen, a guy who hadn’t started an NFL game since 2010, looked confident, didn’t make many dumb mistakes, moved the Bears’ offense, and actually rolled out like quarterbacks sometimes do and Jay Cutler never does.

The only way this could have been better is if there had been a Bizarro World Phil Emery in a Soldier Field suite and a Bizarro World Marc Trestman on the sideline.

Is Clausen the future? The future of backup quarterbacks, probably, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he was fun to watch in a season devoid of fun. It’s OK to say that without giving up your everybody-must-go membership card.

The Bears lost 20-14 to Detroit, and nothing much changed. They still need to clean house and fumigate. Trestman, the coach, looks to be on his way out, and Emery, the general manager who hired him and gave Cutler a massive contract less than a year ago, should be packing up his office too. After getting benched in favor of Clausen during the week, Cutler is in trouble as well.

No doubt there will be all sorts of analysis about the deeper meaning of Clausen’s performance Sunday. People will ask What It Says about Cutler’s ability to grasp Trestman’s offense. They’ll put Clausen’s nice day with Josh McCown’s wonderful relief job last season and see it as an indictment of Cutler. But if Sunday means that Cutler couldn’t do what Trestman’s system asked of him the past two seasons, it also means that Trestman couldn’t get enough out of Cutler too. It’s incriminating on both ends.

Clausen completed 23 of 39 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 77.0, thanks to a late-game interception and his receivers’ allergic reaction to footballs. All in all, a pretty good day. What can I say? My standards have dropped like an anvil.

The Bears’ game plan was heavy on sideline routes. There was little action to the middle of the field. It was all very, very safe.

“I think I just went out there and competed,’’ Clausen said. “That’s the biggest thing that I think I did and showed that I can play in this league. But … it’s not about me or anything about that. It’s about winning football games.’’

Trestman wouldn’t say if Clausen would start in the regular-season finale next week in Minnesota. Well, sure. There will be so much riding on the cage match between the 5-10 Bears and the 6-9 Vikings. You don’t want to show your hand. The fate of the republic, and all that.

I’m not sure what the point would be of putting Cutler back in the starting lineup. You’ve already sent a message to the rest of the league that you want to trade him. Why put him in harm’s way in a meaningless game? But these are the Bears, and they do strange things.

Clausen popped up looking for a fight after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah in the fourth quarter. It was nice to see fire from a franchise that has been missing a pilot light for several months. If Clausen doesn’t want to fight wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, it means he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Jeffery dropped two consecutive passes in the Bears’ final drive and had four drops for the game.

But Clausen didn’t seem to be thinking about that afterward.

“The only thing I was trying to do was just play how I’ve played my whole entire life,’’ he said. “… As I told (teammates) before the game, ‘Hey, let’s just go out and have fun. Just play like you’re in the backyard, play like you’re in high school and college.’ ’’

It actually looked a lot like high school at times Sunday. The Lions lost the football on a silly muffed punt, and Matthew Stafford threw two very bad, very Cutler-like interceptions. The Bears weren’t much better in the dumb department. They tried a tackle-eligible pass to Eben Britton on 4th-and-1 from the Detroit 1 in the second quarter. Two problems: It didn’t work, and tight end Martellus Bennett was called for pass interference anyway.

The Bears also called a timeout after a challenge and official review.

But enough about that. We came here to celebrate a backup quarterback for being pretty good, and, by gosh, we will not be denied.

All Jimmy Clausen does is almost win.