The Bears' offense is clearly in disarray, and the locker room chemistry has been disrupted by quarterback Jay Cutler's immature petulance and lack of leadership.
But the NFL schedule-makers have provided a possible cure. For the second time in three weeks, the Bears get to play at home against an opponent coming off a 2-14 season.
Contact information ( * required )
Only six teams allowed more than the 25.4 points per game the Rams permitted last season, and they have allowed 55 in the first two weeks of this season, although they did beat Washington 31-28 on Sunday.
The Rams were No. 31 in rushing yards allowed in 2011. That's even better news for a Bears team that has struggled to run the ball and will be missing Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte for at least the next couple weeks. With Forte nursing a high ankle sprain, the burden falls on Michael Bush, who has 96 yards on 26 rushes in the first two games for a mediocre 3.7-yard average.
The Bears finished the loss to the Packers with only Armando Allen backing up Bush but have since re-signed Kahlil Bell, who should expect to be pressed into action against the Rams.
The longest run by a Bears running back against the Packers last Thursday was just 8 yards, and coach Lovie Smith blamed their ineffectiveness for part of the overall offensive struggles.
"Can't get the running game going," Smith said. "We didn't get the running game going to help the passing game."
Lost in the dysfunction of the offense and the lack of leadership provided by Cutler has been a Bears defense that produced 4 of the 5 turnovers in Week 1 and sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in Green Bay.
Cornerback Tim Jennings is playing the best football of his seven-year career and already has 3 interceptions, 1 more than he's ever had in an entire season. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (11 tackles) played the entire game in Green Bay and his improvement from the opener was noticeable. The eight-time Pro Bowler was especially effective against the run, stuffing Cedric Benson and John Kuhn in the second half to help keep the game close.
Despite all the preseason hype of the Bears' supposedly high-powered offense, it may be the defense that has to carry the team until the offensive line jells or finds someone to play left tackle who can pass protect.
The defense at least seems to be in the right frame of mind.
"If you don't believe in yourself, why even be here?" asked cornerback Charles Tillman, who had a strip and fumble recovery vs. the Packers. "We lost, we got our (butts) kicked, so put it behind you and go on to the next game."
All of the Bears -- especially Cutler and the offensive line -- should heed Tillman's advice:
"I think there's a lot to learn from the outcome of this game," the Pro Bowl cornerback said. "Don't lose the lesson."
The Bears have an extra three days to learn their lessons from the loss to the Packers and to prepare for the Rams. They'll probably need all of it.