I picked the Bears to go 7-10, and I clearly was out of my mind

A brutal loss to the Packers puts everything in perspective, and none of it is good.

SHARE I picked the Bears to go 7-10, and I clearly was out of my mind
Bears quarterback Justin Fields getting sacked by the Packers’ Devonte Wyatt on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is sacked by the Packers’ Devonte Wyatt on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

What breathtaking brand of idiot would have picked the Bears to win seven games this season?

Um.

Er.

Days after the Bears’ brutal 38-20 loss to the Packers in their season opener Sunday, I’m still trying to understand what led to that 7-10 prediction. Something in my childhood? A need to be loved?

And, now, only self-loathing.

I’m looking at months of counseling here.

You say it’s an overreaction to one awful game? Sorry, no. Right now, I’m having trouble making the case for five victories in 2023, even with a relatively easy schedule. I don’t think that’s the hairshirt talking.

Whatever happened Sunday at Soldier Field doesn’t look easily fixable – or fixable at all. The offensive line seems as incapable of blocking as it did last season. There is no pass rush (again, see 2022). Justin Fields has given no indication he knows how to be a passing quarterback. The coaching staff has given no indication it knows how to help him. The play-calling was weak.

If someone tells me DJ Moore, whenever the search team locates him, will make all the difference in the world for the Bears, they’re at risk of physical harm. One player isn’t going to repair this offense, unless it’s Fields, and that’s not happening.

This isn’t an overreaction. If it is, then so is breathing.

Here’s your only hope, Bears fans: Maybe the Packers are really, really good — so good that they made the Bears look really, really bad.

But I don’t think so.

The Bears are a bad team that lost to a possibly pretty good team.

I sense you’re looking for some upbeat news. Give me a moment . . . working . . . hold on . . . (what you’re hearing is eternity passing). OK, I found it. The Bears have some linebackers who can tackle. And if you think that’s a big deal, they also have some locker-room attendants who can pick up towels. It’s why trading Roquan Smith last season didn’t deserve the public angst it produced in Chicago. You always can find linebackers. It’s hard to find pass rushers, as evidenced by the Bears’ lack of defensive pressure Sunday. Packers quarterback Jordan Love was so clean after the game, you could have used his jersey as a tablecloth. But keep that quiet. We don’t want to start a fine-dining trend in Green Bay.

There’s a reason fans at Soldier Field were booing by the third quarter of the first game of the season. They had seen this before and had a pretty good idea they were going to see it again and again in the coming weeks. Bears safety Jaquan Brisker said Tuesday on The Score that he wished fans ‘‘would have our back’’’ more. Bears fans would like their money back after the team’s six playoff appearances, two of them wild-card losses, in the last 27 seasons.

No one is coming to the rescue, at least not this season. If you’re hoping the Bears trade Fields after the season with the idea of getting USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye, just a gentle reminder that they would have trouble picking out a quarterback in a police lineup of obstetricians. I’m not saying all is lost. I’m saying good luck finding something — anything — of substance.

This is not a reaction to one game. This is an accumulation of many Sundays of unfortunate football. It’s the understanding that what everyone saw against the Packers was what everyone saw last season. If this team has more talent than the 2022 team, the one that went 3-14, it’s doing a heck of a job of hiding it.

As I said, I’m having a very difficult time seeing how the Bears can win five games in 2023. They hit the road this week to face the Buccaneers and quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has been a running joke in the NFL for several years. He and the Bucs beat the Vikings 20-17 on Sunday in Minneapolis. Laugh all you want, but the Vikings won the NFC North last season.

The Chiefs are next for the Bears, and, well, I’ll spare you the grisly premonitions.

Before the debacle against the Packers, the Bears’ schedule seemed to feature several games that, provided things fell right and the team made strides in certain areas, looked winnable. Now things look unfavorable.

The loss Sunday brought on renewed criticism of coach Matt Eberflus’ decision not to play his starters much in the preseason. But the fault-finding felt like a balm for the people still hoping for better days ahead: Maybe the Bears were shedding rust that should have been shed in exhibition games.

Whatever that was Sunday wasn’t rust. The penalties on the offensive line, maybe. The line’s inability to block, definitely not. It was an afternoon of bad stuff with the promise of more to come.

Five victories? Perhaps with some luck.

As for my earlier 7-10 prediction, that’s between me and my mental-health professional.

The Latest
McClain, a longtime confidant of Madigan, is set to go on trial with him Oct. 8 on racketeering, bribery, fraud and attempted extortion charges, but his lawyers argue that Madigan’s apparent defense strategy involved blaming McClain.
The fundraiser will be at the home of a family friend on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The campaign has at least 10 other fundraising events over the last 10 days of July.