2011 might go down as the worst year in the long history of the Chicago Bears. A history that dates all the way back to 1920 when the team was known as the Decatur Staleys. With the loss to Green Bay on Sunday Night football the Bears have hit a ‘not in 91 years’ all time low. I’m not talking record wise, as the worst the Bears could finish this season is 7-9. They have had worse records through the years, as recent as a 5-11 mark in 2004 and a 4-12 in ‘02. In fact their all time worst season according to won-loss record was a 1-13 mark in 1969, but I’m still willing to call 2011 the worst year ever for one simple reason. Check that, perhaps four reasons would be more accurate.
Now when I say the worst year ever, I’m talking about the calendar year and not referring to the 2011 seventeen week season. If you take a closer look at the year, you’ll see back in January the Bears start off in a downer fashion, losing to the Packers in the final game of the regular season on January 2nd by a score of 10-3. It was a tough loss, but the Bears had absolutely nothing to play for, and even though they played their starters throughout, the game plan on both sides of the ball was very vanilla. The Bears kept it basic, because there was a chance the two teams would meet in the playoffs. Which, thanks to the Bears losing, did happen.
Fast forward a few weeks to January 23rd and the NFC Championship game, Green Bay vs. Chicago for a 2nd time in 2011, and for a 2nd time the Bears lose. This time 21-14, in a game that would be remembered for the Jay Cutler injury and subsequent drama surrounding his knee. This was also a game that saw Bears third string QB Caleb Hanie come in and perform well enough that some sports fans were calling for him to be the starter moving forward. You know who you are…
That’s 2 Green Bay losses in less than a month for Chicago. And with their eventual Super Bowl title the Bears/Packers rivalry would get swift kick to the pants.
The 2011 regular season started with a lot of hope in Chicago and an opening day win against the Falcons that had Bears fans believing. A week 2 loss in New Orleans put a damper on playoff plans, but a week 3 win against the defending champs would silence all critics. The Bears entered the September 25th contest at 1-1 with hopes to send a message to the 2-0 Packers. Message Fail. Chicago loses 27-17, which was Bears loss number three to the hated Packers for 2011.
Which takes us to Sunday Night Football on Christmas Night. The Bears were starting their 3rd QB for the season, they were without their #1 and their #2 running back. They were down a safety, a wide out, and their O-Line was shaken up. Green Bay had a chance to squash what ever slim playoff hopes remained in Chicago and they did so in convincing fashion, by a score of 35-21. Aaron Rodgers became the single season passing yardage leader in Green Bay history, he also threw 5 TD passes, and he made it look very, very, very easy.
So for those keeping score at home, the Packers went 4-0 against the Bears in 2011. A dubious feat that may never happen again. Worst. Bears. Year. Ever.