The fans wanted the Bears to hear it. They booed and they jeered as loud as they could after having very little to cheer for on the field. But there weren’t enough fans at Soldier Field for it to matter.
The apathy is real.
The Bears are bad.
Everyone knows it.
Why bother to watch?
The Bears cemented themselves as of one the NFL’s worst teams with a 17-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field on Sunday.
An ugly season officially became appalling And it might get worse. Primetime games against the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are next on the schedule.
The Bears have shown little to think that anything else other than a 1-7 record at their bye week is in the works.
Add it all it up and the rest of this season has become a true measure for who John Fox currently is as a coach.
Fox has had as much influence as anyone on the roster and the current culture at Halas Hall. With a 1-5 record, Fox hasn’t delivered a Year 2 turnaround as he did with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
Fox’s narrative in Chicago has completely changed. It’s full of failure.
“Obviously, no one is more disappointed than the guys in that room,” Fox said. “The thing that we have to do – and I think we have the people to do it – is just stick together. No one’s going to give us a chance the rest of the way, and that’s OK.
“As long as the people in that room believe, we will be fine. It’s why they call it, ‘Any given Sunday.’ We lost the last two weeks at the end of the game, and it’s tough. That’s part of the NFL. We have to figure out a way to turn it the other way. As long as we stick together, we are capable of anything.”
Consider Fox’s words a rallying cry. And that’s not good. It’s sign that Fox fears not only having a lost season, but a lost team.
“We just got to play better to win games,” Fox said. “Today was much like a few of other outings.”
The Bears are a banged-up bunch, and they continue to blow their chances. The Jaguars won a game that they had no business being in after falling behind 13-0.
It starts and ends with point production. Behind Brian Hoyer, the Bears are efficiently accumulating an impressive amount of yards, but have little to show for it.
The Bears’ defense was better. But cornerback Tracy Porter’s slip exemplified plenty. As a team, the Bears’ margin for error is minimal.
They’re not a good enough team to make up for Hoyer’s inability to hit a wide-open Alshon Jeffery for a touchdown, which he did in the first quarter.
And they’re not good enough to put together a game-winning drive after Jaguars receiver Arrelious Benn took advantage of Porter’s slip and scored from 51 yards out.
The Bears had a plus-two turnover differential against the Jaguars – that resonates with Fox – but they still lost.
“We just can’t mess anything up if we expect to win ballgames in the NFL,” right guard Long said.
Quarterback Jay Cutler isn’t returning from his sprained right thumb to save the day, though his absence looms larger with every loss. And it’s unclear where Cutler stands anyway after Fox allowed a quarterback controversy to have life.
The Bears can point to youth and hope, but this season isn’t about development at the moment.
It can’t be when some of their most important young players– i.e., receiver Kevin White, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, running back Jeremy Langford, cornerback Deiondre’ Hall – aren’t playing because of injuries.
These are truly dejected times, and it’s on Fox to fix them. If he can’t, he undoubtedly enters his third season on the hot seat. He only has a four-year contract.
On Sunday, there was a common refrain in the locker room.
“It’s just a matter of finishing,” receiver Cameron Meredith said.
“We have to finish,” safety Harold Jones-Quartey said.
“You got to finish,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said.
“Gotta finish,” Long said.
The truth is that the Bears, as a team and organization, have no answers right now. It’s the Bears who look finished only six weeks into the season.
It’s on Fox to change that.