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Holmes: What's Left For Bears Fans To Root For?

By Laurence W. Holmes-

(CBS) Sorry for the late arrival with this Bears followup column, but I needed a day off. Not because of the Bears, but would you blame me if that was the reason?

No game breakdown is necessary other than to say this: What I thought back in Week 4 still holds. This is an undisciplined team that's poorly coached. How bad were things for the Bears in Sunday's loss to the Packers? Aaron Rodgers shed some light on this on his radio show Tuesday after his six-touchdown performance against Chicago.

"Yeah, I knew what the record was," Rodgers said. "It would've been nice to get seven. We're still playing. I know it's 42-0 (at halftime), but it's the NFL still. There's talented guys who are getting paid on both sides. So we were still playing football there in the second half."

Packers wideout Randall Cobb accused the Bears of quitting, and the screen pass to Eddie Lacy that went for touchdown is good evidence for that.

What we're talking about now is much bigger than one game. While it's true that Bears coach Marc Trestman's record is the same as Lovie Smith's after 25 games (11-14), it's the way that Chicago has played under Trestman that's really concerning.

Let me throw some numbers your way.

--- In 25 games under Trestman, the Bears have allowed 30 or more points 11 times. Their record in those games is 2-9. That's bad, but it gets worse.

--- The Bears have given up 40 or more points six times in those 25 games. They didn't win any of those games, and the team has given up 50 or more points three times under Trestman. That's an even scarier number because each of those 50-spots have been put up in their last 11 games.

Think about that. In more than a quarter of the games the Bears have played in that time frame, they've given up 50-plus points. In seven of their last 12 games, they've given up 30-plus points. It's a downward trend of epic proportions.

On Monday, a lot of people thought heads would roll. They didn't, even though it would have been justified. What's really telling about the game Sunday was that it happened after the Patriots hung 51 on the Bears. They had two weeks to try and answer some questions about themselves, and Sunday's performance was the best they could do. It's an indictment on their whole system, but alas, it seems that general manager Phil Emery is going to at least see how this team finishes the season before he makes a final judgement on Trestman and his staff.

Which leads me to this.

You may be wondering if the Bears better served by tanking the rest of the way and getting a better draft spot. In theory, that makes sense. The team is going nowhere, and finishing 6-10 or 7-9 only gives Chicago a middling position in the first round. Yet there are a few problems with this thought.

Trestman knows the only way to keep his job is by winning games and showing some pride in the second half of the season. He's going to keep pushing (as he should) to try and get it right. Maybe he succeeds, though the odds aren't in his favor.

The Bears aren't mathematically eliminated yet. The NFC is getting bunched up. The elimination could happen soon, but they still have hope.

Here's the thing, though. If the Bears had a miraculous 7-0 run to finish the season, I still think that leaves them on the outside looking in. The Lions look stronger than ever, and the Packers are a monster. How good is the NFC? Well, as it stands right now, Green Bay would be out of the playoffs if they started this weekend, courtesy of losing head-to-head to the Seahawks to begin the season.

Emery made his move, and that move was to keep Trestman. He had a built-in way to tank, and that would've been firing Trestman, but he didn't.

So now they're stuck. Even if the Bears were looking to develop players, who would those players be? There is no young quarterback in the pipeline. There's no safety to groom and no middle linebacker to bring up and let roam. Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferguson, Will Sutton and Alshon Jeffery are already on the field. Are you going to take carries away from Matt Forte to give them to KaDeem Carey? I'd love to hear that conversation.

As a fan, you're kind of stuck too, but you might get your wish. The best way for the Bears to tank is to keep doing what they've been doing. No game is a gimme. There's no advantage, even against the Vikings (ahead of the Bears in the standings) or against an awful Bucs squad.

For the next few Sundays, it's going to be hard to figure out what, if anything to root for.

Laurence Holmes hosts the Laurence Holmes Show on 670 The Score and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow him on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.

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