Seems like a long time ago.
Grossman was far from flawless in Week 11 at the Meadowlands, completing only 11 of 22 passes for 119 yards against a poor Jets defense, but at least he avoided the crippling mistakes that had plagued him in previous games. No bad sacks, no costly interceptions, no sloppy fumbles. NFL quarterbacks need to learn now to manage the game when things aren't going particularly well, and Grossman looked to be taking a step in that general direction.
Then came this past Sunday's game in Foxborough.
Facing a veteran Patriots defense that knows how to confuse quarterbacks with different looks, Grossman was just 15-of-34 through the air for 176 yards. He threw three interceptions - bringing his season total to an alarming 14 in 11 games - and lost a fumble when he couldn't handle a snap from center. The Bears defense played very well against a Tom Brady-led attack and came up with five more takeaways on the afternoon, but Grossman could not capitalize on the myriad opportunities.
If this were a baseball game, backup signal-caller Brian Griese would be warming up in the bullpen right about now.
Many Bears fans have been in Griese's corner since the onset of training camp. A veteran quarterback well versed in running the west coast offense, he has much more experience than Grossman despite having never started a playoff game. Perhaps for the first time this season, head coach Lovie Smith must seriously be thinking about making a change under center for the good of his ballclub.
Grossman is the Bear Report Dud of the Week and could be losing the confidence of the locker room.
The Monsters of the Midway have a defense and special teams unit more than good enough to win a Super Bowl. And with Thomas Jones getting better each week and Cedric Benson starting to flourish as the change-of-pace guy, the ground assault is rounding into form. The passing game has shown flashes from time to time this season, but until Grossman starts playing with more consistency and avoiding catastrophic mistakes, the Bears won't make it to Miami Gardens this February.
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