I don't want to harp on how bad the Bears defense was in Sunday's 45-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The defense was a joke. I know it. You know it. Bob Dole knows it. The American people know it. Sun-Times beat writer Brad Biggs called it the worst loss he's seen in his years on the beat.
Here's my question: What the hell was Bears quarterback Jay Cutler doing still in the game when it was 45-3 in the fourth quarter? What good could possibly come from that? The Bengals knew the Bears were going to pass on every down. Their defensive linemen were pinning their ears back and teeing off on Cutler -- and rightfully so. They were getting hits on him on almost every play.
Whatever chance the Bears (3-3) have of making the postseason this year, it all depends on Cutler's right arm and a developing group of young receivers. The running game isn't going to get the Bears to the playoffs. Neither is the defense. A healthy, effective Cutler is essential moving forward. Leaving him in Sunday's game was a reckless and stupid move by coach Lovie Smith and staff. If there was ever a situation where backup QB Caleb Hanie should have been getting the playing time, this was it.
Of course, as I read the media reports after Sunday's loss, it occurred to me why Smith left Cutler in. Say, hypothetically, that Hanie had thrown a meaningless TD pass in the fourth quarter. If that scenario had unfolded, we'd have a quarterback controversy in Chicago today. You know how things work around here.
Cutler actually did throw a meaningless TD toss to Devin Hester in the fourth quarter Sunday. He gets no credit for that, nor should he. But imagine if Caleb Hanie had thrown that exact same TD pass. The Superfans would be out, calling for the backup quarterback to get his chance.
"Did you see what dat Caleb Hanie did on Sunday? He took da team right down da field and gotta touchdown! He should be da starter!"