Rozner: Another 'superb' Bears season ends in defeat
And that's a wrap on yet another glorious Bears season.
They made the playoffs with an 8-8 record, backing into the expanded postseason on the final day with yet another embarrassing loss to Green Bay.
No doubt this will all be celebrated as great progress at Halas Hall, even after the 21-9 defeat Sunday in New Orleans.
Assuming they all keep their jobs, you will hear all of the same authentic frontier gibberish you have heard for six years of GM Ryan Pace, three years of head coach Matt Nagy and four years of Mitch Trubisky, and you will hear all the same next year if they are all back in Lake Forest.
As is always the case, they had a great week of practice leading up to the Saints game.
Trubisky had the best week of practice he's ever had in his life.
The quarterback has learned so much this year and the benching made him a better player.
By giving up the play-call sheet for a short time, Nagy has acquired more knowledge about his job and will be even better next season.
Nagy knows the Bears need to commit to the run, stay with the run and be better at running the football. They have to fix that and they will fix that. Guaranteed.
The Bears made tremendous strides in 2020. The team is on the verge of something great.
The players and coaches all love each other because they fight and they care so much.
They were so close to something very special this season. It was only a matter of a play here or a play there that made the difference.
Those are plays they need to make and they know that, and in 2021 they will make those plays.
They won't talk about who's responsible for those plays, but they know who they are and they know how to get it done next time.
They're going to work extra hard this offseason to ensure they're all better at their jobs next time around.
They're fired up to get down to business and excited about what the future holds.
They're not worried about a lack of cap space because they have a great plan in place for putting a championship team on the field in 2021.
Next year will be the year.
If you've lost track of how many times you've heard each one of these before, no one would blame you. Most people stop listening after the seventh or eighth time.
What's certain is that the Bears have now gone another year without a Super Bowl after the Saints sent them home. And anyone being honest would tell you they are very far from being a Super Bowl team.
Credit the defense with keeping them in still another game despite the offensive line being unable to block and Trubisky being unable to pick up a first down.
In fact, the Bears did not convert on third down until the final drive of the game, 0-for-9 before that and 0-for-1 on fourth down. They had 5 possessions that lasted 3 plays and one that lasted 4 plays. That's 6 of their 10 drives.
The most penalized team in the league continued to show its lack of discipline with 9 flags and some of the worst -- and dumbest -- you've ever seen, like Eddie Jackson jumping on fourth down and Anthony Miller getting baited into an ejection.
The head coach always talks about how they "have to fix that," learn from that and that it's unacceptable, but the Bears do it game after game after game.
The Javon Wims drop will become the stuff of legend, as if that's the reason they lost this game. It didn't help the cause, but it's hardly the reason they lost.
Once the Bears get behind in any game with Trubisky at quarterback, it quickly becomes the Eleven Stooges on offense. Yes, Nagy wants to run the ball, but when the quarterback's best play is a 1-yard throw, there are serious limitations.
The only way this team can win with this quarterback is to play bad teams, get a lead and let the defense attack the quarterback.
You've seen it for a full four years, plus two playoff games. Four years. And nothing has changed.
Tossing out the garbage touchdown at the end, the Bears managed 3 points Sunday and that was off a turnover.
You have to feel for an aging defense because it's hard to win against decent NFL teams with that offense.
Among their 8 victories in 2020, the Bears defeated one team with a winning record -- Tampa, which wasn't Tampa yet -- and the combined winning percentage of the teams they beat was .336, while the eight teams that beat the Bears had a winning percentage of .641.
That will not in any way affect the narrative among the true believers.
They will say the great news is the Bears have arrived at the upper echelon of the NFL and the dynasty is only a matter of time.
They truly believe this at Halas Hall, having sat in a circle for many years, shook each other's hands and convinced themselves that they are all great at what they do.
Maybe, just maybe, that's part of the problem.