Bears Loss in Perspective – The Future is in San Francisco on Monday

The Bears loss to Houston is so 2 nights ago.   I’ve been mulling its implications because, well, mulling the game itself is not particularly interesting.  A slopping field, a low score, a loss, and Cutler concussed on a play that flagged the brutal head-on-head contact but didn’t penalize the Texans because Cutler apparently contributed to his own condition by stepping a quarter inch over the line of scrimmage to attempt a pass.  Lesson learned.

So, what comes of this loss at this point in the season?  The Chicago Bears sit at 7-2, leading the NFC North by a half game over the Pack.  It’s somewhat of a big positive to have lost to a non-conference opponent. The Bears defense is in top form, having managed to limit a highly-productive Houston offense to only 1 touchdown and 2 field goals.  The Bears’ offense still threatens;  against Houston, it might have had a chance at game’s end except for Gould’s earlier FG attempt that clanked off the upright. The Bears lost by a mere 6 pints while playing on one leg with an arm tied behind their back in a backup QB and a kick returner who couldn’t cut on the sloppy field.  Actually, the Bears may be better off for this loss. They aren’t really an 8-1 team, as the teams they had played up to this point were pretty much the doormats of the league. 7-2 is still a very respectable record, and a lot of teams would love to be in the position that the Bears are in. Well, except that the Bears find themselves in the cross hairs of the Packers’ sight. The Pack is back in championship-contention form and Aaron Rogers has returned to his MVP stature of 2010. But I’m getting ahead of myself, because…

Next Monday’s nationally-televised game finds the Bears in San Francisco.  Alex Smith’s health is the same as Cutler’s; they were both concussed and knocked out of their game and the status of both is uncertain. This game is in one of the toughest stadiums in the NFL and against one of the toughest defenses in the conference. If Cutler found that scoring points against Houston in the rain was a tough row to hoe, wait until Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Patrick Willis are hunting a wounded animal. If Cutler can’t start or finish the game, then some real panic may ensue.  Houston was a reality check, but the Bears’ championship prospects will be more clearly ascertained in San Francisco.