Bears’ quarterback curse still going strong

Nick Foles looks like the latest in a long line of QB pretenders. The Bears’ quest to find a star continues.

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Bears quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by the Rams’ Justin Hollins Monday night.

Bears quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by the Rams’ Justin Hollins Monday night.

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

A new symbol for the Bears should be a bent-over old man holding a lantern as he steps into darkness.

The old man would represent the franchise, on its endless search for a great starting quarterback.

That’s the Bears, people. That’s the deal in a nutshell.

Get a great QB — to go with a typical Bears defense — and you’re talking division titles and Super Bowl.

After the 24-10 road dud Monday night against the Rams, Bears brass can only be thinking, “Here we go again.’’ Or maybe, “We’re hamsters on a treadmill.’’

Nick Foles was the hopeful quarterback solution to the erratic and overwhelmed Mitch Trubisky. Monday night was Foles’ fourth start since taking over, and he stunk.

Yes, the Bears’ offensive line is weak and coach Matt Nagy’s play-calling and offensive scheme are painful. But somewhere in there, you need a good quarterback to create yardage, work out problems, use sheer talent to escape rushes and blitzes.

Foles is tall and immobile. That’s OK, perhaps, because so is future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. But Brady has that extra sense, that quarterback gift — even though he’s about done at 43.

Foles is only 31, and he came to the Bears with the hope that, if called upon, he could show the magic he displayed when he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII crown and was named the game’s MVP.

But what we’ve mostly seen is the guy who is a career backup, a third-round pick in the 2012 draft. His combine time back then in the 40-yard dash was an O-lineman-style 5.14 seconds. You don’t get faster with age. 

Sometimes it feels like I’ve written this column before. I probably have. Forgive me if you feel like you’ve read it 100 times. I guess I’m on that hamster wheel, too.

General manager Ryan Pace’s mistake on Trubisky as franchise savior in the 2017 draft — giving up so much and missing out on even more — will haunt this team for years. There’s your old man in the wilderness, clutching the lantern, stumbling from one nightmare to the next.

A look at Bears history shows this amazing fact: No quarterback has started all 16 games in a season more than once.

And only Vince Evans, Jim Harbaugh, Erik Kramer, Rex Grossman and Jay Cutler have done it at all. That speaks to durability, consistency, competency and, yes, some intangible skill only great quarterbacks have.

Consider that Drew Brees has started 16 games in a season 11 times. And he has started 15 games four times. 

The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has started 15 or 16 games in a season 10 times. Before him, Brett Favre started 16 games for the Packers, without a miss, for 15 consecutive years.

Think of that. Our good buddies up in Cheeseland have had quarterbacks who started 15 or 16 games each season for a combined 31 years.

Slouches don’t do that. Slouches don’t get a chance to.

Meanwhile, the Bears’ endless quarterback hunt continues slouching onward. That Pace is at the helm is almost like having a blind man leading a mountaineering expedition (though he can’t be blamed for past calamities). 

The list of people who have started at quarterback for the Bears ever since their Super Bowl XX victory on Jan. 26, 1986, is semi-hilarious. The names of some (there are more than 50) fall off the tongue like popcorn husks: Mike Hohensee, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer, Rick Mirer, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Todd Collins, Caleb Hanie, etc.

I look at the list and think: Dear God, did Matt Barkley actually start more games (six) in 2016 than Cutler or the other backup, Brian Hoyer? Sure did.

Who — help me here — was Steve Bradley? He started a game in 1987, after Jim McMahon, Mike Tomczak and Hohensee. I was deep into the Bears back then, but I have no recollection of this fellow. Is that my fault? 

I’m saying no.

I blame the Bears. 

They also gave us (and these I do remember) Cade McNown, Steve Stenstrom, Rusty Lisch and — take a bow, Pace — Mike Glennon. 

My favorites, though, were Moses “No Promised Land Here’’ Moreno, Henry Burris and all-time fave Jonathan Quinn in 2004. Quinn looked like a goat being led to slaughter before each of his three starts (and losses). 

Thank you, Bears, for the entertainment. 

Just keep your lantern out, and good luck.

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