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Durkin: The Bears Are Who We Thought They Were -- Pretenders

By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) Add another item of your list of what to be thankful for. You now know -- assuming you didn't know already -- that the 2014 Chicago Bears are pretenders. They're a team full of promise, yet short on production.

Thursday's game against the Detroit Lions was a true-up of where the Bears really were after winning two games in unconvincing fashion against teams with a combined six wins. Losers of two straight, the Lions also came into this game with something to prove, and they proved it in their convincing 34-17 win over the Bears at Ford Field.

The Lions (8-4) resemble the team the Bears (5-7) talk about being -- talented enough to compete with the Green Bay Packers, which Detroit held to single-digits back in its 19-7 victory in Week 3. That's the same Packers team that hung a combined 93 points on the Bears in two games.

Don't be disappointed about the state of the Bears. Honestly, be relieved.

Every year, a football team is a chemistry experiment. Every team in the league has the same base set of controlled variables to work with -- roster spots, salary cap space, etc. It's then up to those executing the experiment -- in the Bears' case, general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman -- to create their hypothesis and put it to test on game day.

The Bears' hypothesis was they were a team ready to compete for a championship this season.

While it's easy to picture Emery and Trestman in lab coats, it's safe to say they're no scientists. As Emery is fond of saying, "You are what your record says you are." Thus the conclusion that can be drawn from this experiment is that the Bears are a losing team.

Mathematically, there's a chance to have a winning record. But anyone who has watched Chicago play this season knows that's far-fetched thinking. With back-to-back games against the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints and another game against the Lions looming, this season will end as many seasons have recently: out of the playoffs.

Assembling talent on a roster is one thing; making the pieces fit and work together for a collective goal is another. There were failures of talent evaluation by Emery, and there's been a failure by Trestman to pull this team together.

Against the Lions, Trestman eschewed his best player, running back Matt Forte, and the running game, favoring horizontal throws as an extension of the running game. The Bears are fond of talking about making other teams "one-dimensional." On Thursday, they made themselves one-dimensional and, in turn, showed us this team is no closer to winning under Trestman and Emery than they were when they took over.

Here's another thing to be thankful for: You don't have to watch the Bears this Sunday.

Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.

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