After two games, Bears don’t seem any better than in ’14

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Cardinals running back David Johnson runs past Bears free safety Adrian Amos (38) for a touchdown Sunday. | David Banks/AP

So instead of cheerfully raking leaves on one of the last glorious days of summer, we were forced to watch this reeking bonfire of the inanities.

Before you could clean the tines of your garden rake, the Bears trailed the Cardinals 7-0.

That is, unless you clean your rake every 13 seconds. Because that’s how long it took Cardinals rookie David Johnson to cover

108 yards and score with the opening kickoff.

The Bears should have surrendered right there and avoided more humiliation, just packed their clichés in the trunks of their Escalades and Lexuses and headed home.

Go sit on a swing and ponder how dreadful this season is going to be. The final score of this stinker was 48-23, and the 0-2 Bears have allowed 79 points in two games.

Plus, starting quarterback Jay Cutler — whose expertise appears to be throwing interceptions, then trying to chase down the interceptor and hurting himself — is out with a hamstring injury.

Cutler’s terrible pass that was returned 26 yards for a touchdown by Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson in the second quarter was the dot in the ‘‘i’’ of the Bears’ new motto: inept. Cutler ran after him, dived and self-detonated.

Within 30 seconds, the Cardinals turned a game that had been tied 14-14 into a 28-14 lead on a touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald and Jefferson’s interception return.

As Cutler walked off the field with his bad hammy, you weren’t sure whether to be thankful or depressed. The primary thought was: If Jimmy Clausen is the answer, God help us. Then again, if Cutler is the answer, what is the question?

Two quick notes:

First, how did Palmer complete 17 of 24 passes for four touchdowns with one interception (returned two yards by Jared Allen) to Cutler’s one touchdown pass with one interception (returned for six points) but have a lower passer rating (115.5 to 116.2)?

Second, covering 108 vertical yards in 13 seconds, as Johnson did, is amazing. That’s the equivalent of 98.8 meters, not including the weaving among the tacklers and blockers and curving up the sideline. Then there’s the fact it was accomplished on grass, in about 15 pounds of gear, with a football in one arm.

At any rate, the Bears look as bad as they did last season, when everybody was so sick of coach Marc Trestman. The 2014 defense gave up back-to-back 50-point games at midseason, and folks just about died with anguish.

Yet the 2015 defense is allowing an average of almost 40 points, and they’re led by all these genius coaches. Interesting.

Anybody hanker for the halcyon days of Lovie Smith and his 10-6 record in 2012, the one that got him fired for being, uh, lousy?

When the Bears start a season 0-2, they usually finish somewhere around 5-11. But when they start 0-3, they can cough out hairballs such as their 4-12 seasons in 1997 and 1998.

No, they’re not doomed just because of this terrible start. Don’t forget they’ve played two of the best teams in the league so far, neither of which would be a shock to make it to the Super Bowl.

But the Bears travel to Seattle next Sunday, and the Seahawks almost won a second consecutive Super Bowl in February.

So when the schedule gets easy, let us all know, please. Maybe Week 4, when the Raiders come to Soldier Field? Maybe. Or those late-season games against the Rams and Buccaneers? Maybe.

Receiver Alshon Jeffery should be back sometime, and that should help a little. But Cutler out and Clausen in? That’s a serious downgrade.

‘‘I have no idea,’’ Clausen, who was 14-for-23 for 121 yards and an interception, said when asked what his role would be. ‘‘I know nothing.’’

We observers might know less.

Old man Fitzgerald gets three receiving touchdowns in a regular-season game for the first time in his 12-year career? How did that happen, Bears?

Cornerback Tim Jennings was released so Alan Ball and Terrance Mitchell could get lit up?

The offense converts but two of 12 third downs?

The team cranks out a hideous 170 yards in penalties?

‘‘We get paid to win,’’ coach John Fox said.

Checks denied.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.


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