Last season, the Chicago Bears missed the playoffs because of injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. This season, after a 7-1 start to the season, the Bears have lost three of their last four games, while injuries keep piling up. This time? Brian Urlacher, probably out for the regular season.
Not just the regular season. The Bears, now 8-4 and suddenly not that sure of a postseason spot like they seemed to be only three weeks ago, might never get to see Urlacher wear the uniform he has been since 2000, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. There are bigger fish to fry at the moment, but there’s always the fact that the 34 year old, 8 time Pro Bowler might not be coming back next season.
Urlacher hurt his hamstring on one of the final plays in the overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Urlacher, who has been carrying a limiting knee injury with him this season is clearly not as explosive as he was in the past, not recording a single sack this season. He is leading the best scoring defense in the nation, scoring one touchdown himself, but the past few weeks have shaken the image of the Bears being that good of a team, and being that good of a defensive unit.
The lost to the Houston Texas 13-6, at home, in a very physical matchup that saw Jay Cutler leave the game with a concussion. He wasn’t there for another physical beatdown against the San Francisco 49ers. The Bears did have a decent performance on defense, but two interceptions by Jason Campbell were too much to overcome as the Bears rolled for another loss.
Against the Seahawks, two weeks later, the Bears’ defense did get another fumble out of a running back, but Marshawn Lynch and his running attack ran all over the Bears, gaining 176 yards on the ground. Jay Cutler has had his moments this season, but it’s been proven more than once that Chicago’s offense needs the short-field situation created by their defense. When that doesn’t happen, even if they do concede only 23 points, it’s very hard for them to conjure up enough offense to win games.
Now, once again, after a great start (7-3 last season, 7-1 this season), the playoffs are in real danger. They have four games left, three of them against division rivals, only one of them at home. Too bad it’s against the Green Bay Packers, a team that has had their number for quite some time. The Packers aren’t as fearsome as in past seasons, but they look to be headed towards winning the division once again. The Bears are currently in a spot to make the playoffs, but they have to play in Minnesota, Detroit and Arizona.
In all likelihood, one win in the next four games should be enough to clinch a playoff spot, with Arizona looking like the easiest outing at the moment, currently going through an 8 game losing streak. Urlacher said there is no way he won’t be healthy and ready in time for the postseason. Problem is there’s a chance it won’t matter, because the Bears are going to miss it once again.