The Bears’ week has been a perfect spiral.
They followed their largest blowout loss of the season with airplane trouble that left them stranded on a tarmac in Philadelphia, only to return home the next day to a locker room that reeked of rotten sushi.
A hallway screaming match Monday got receiver Tre McBride fired. Wide receiver Josh Bellamy, who screamed at McBride, said he didn’t regret it — only to be called out on Twitter by former Bears safety Harold Jones-Quartey for, in the past, allegedly trying to swipe Jones-Quartey’s girlfriend.
And, now, at the end of the most melodramatic week in a lost season, comes a scarlet and gold banana peel: the 49ers, who have won one game all year.
Lose Sunday, and whatever changes the Bears were planning for the season’s end have to start immediately. Forget the debate about who would be the interim head coach if John Fox were fired. The natives — what’s left of them, considering Soldier Field should have more than 10,000 empty seats again Sunday — will want Fox thrown into the volcano.
The Bears have won just 12 of 43 games with Fox as their coach the last 2½ seasons. They’ve been favored to win just six games in that span, and have lost all six outright.
Losing to the Eagles, perhaps the NFL’s best team, wasn’t crushing, despite the four-touchdown differential. But a loss to the 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo — the quarterback many Bears fans fantasized about last offseason — would be different. The 49ers are the first team all year that will have a losing record at kickoff against the Bears.
“Statistically, in a perfect world, we should beat this team,” tackle Bobby Massie said. “If we don’t, on the outside, it would look bad. Inside, it would be bad, too.”
Bad enough to spark change? If falling to the 49ers weren’t enough to get the Bears to speed up their timeline for a firing, what would be? The winless Browns await on Dec. 24, but the Bears wouldn’t make a move on Christmas Eve or the day after.
“I see people talking about Coach Fox this, the coaches that,” rookie safety Eddie Jackson said. “Coaches can only do so much. The players still got to go out there and execute their jobs and do their assignments. So it’s not just on the coaches. It’s on us as well. It’s just crazy to me — coaches can only do so much.”
It starts with players setting expectations for themselves, Jackson said.
“You can tell [fans] are just tired of keeping going through the same results year after year,” he said. “It’s my first year here, and you go out there and tell the fans, ‘We’re gonna get it right,’ and you come back and do the same thing the next week with a loss or the same thing the following year. Now it’s just time to turn everything around. We want to start with finishing this season strong.”
Bears players swear they have the kind of locker room that will stay focused the rest of the season. Perhaps they’ll play well and win their first game in six weeks and everyone takes a deep breath.
After the week they’ve had, though, would anyone bet on that?
“It’s that time of year when you’re in a situation like this and everybody’s just on the edge,” Massie said. “A win would definitely ease everything around here.”
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