Only fans with nothing better to do yesterday remained in the stands during the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bears lost to the Seattle Seahaws 38-14. During a game that many have had penciled as a Bears win since the offseason, the faithful were treated to errant passes, defensive misses and a signal caller that finished with a 33.3 QB rating.
The loudest cheer elicited from the crowd late in the game came when the scoreboard finalized Green Bay's loss to Kansas City. That was how bad the second half went for the Bears, who were outscored by the Seahawks 31-0 in the game's final two frames.
Had the Bears won, they would have faced next week a Packers team without anything to play for – a team that may sit its starters, giving Chicago a decent chance at a victory. As it stands now, however, fans making the trip past the Cheddar Curtain on Christmas could be risking trading the warmth of the family hearth for the dubious honor of watching Aaron Rodgers and company notch yet another win.
On paper, yesterday's game didn't look good for Chicago. Caleb Hanie went 10 for 23 with three interceptions. Josh McCown, who came in late in the fourth quarter after the last of Hanie's picks, promptly threw an interception of his own.
When asked after the game if he was prepared to lead the offense going forward, McCown was quick to reply:
"This is a great job to have, but it is a job. By that I mean that it is my responsibility to come in at any time. I need to be ready always. I've been working on the schemes. I've been trying to work with the guys. I feel that if anything goes wrong when I am out there, it is totally my responsibility."
McCown said his interception, on a wildly errant throw to Roy Williams, was his fault. The pass, thrown into triple coverage, was undercut and picked off by CB Richard Sherman.
"I should have noticed how Seattle was playing at that point of the game. I've been in the league for a few years and that is what I need to recognize," he said. "When teams get a lead like Seattle had toward the end of today's game, they tend to take chances. Sherman made a grab perhaps he wouldn't have tried if the game had been tighter at that point. I should have anticipated that and altered my throw accordingly."
McCown admitted that when a backup is called, it's usually a sign of trouble.
"I want to play, that's why I'm here but I'd never hope for Caleb to be hurt or not to be playing well. My role is one of support, to step in if needed."
Will a quarterback controversy be brewing at Halas Hall this week leading up the game in Green Bay?
"If it is, it won't be my doing," McCown said. "Caleb is young. He's learning. I'll do what I can to assist. If that means I am playing more, then I'll do my best for the team. But we are in this together. Whatever gets us a win next weekend is fine with me."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.