The Five Definitive Moments of the 2011 Chicago Bears Season

| January 2nd, 2012

#5 Tyler Palko’s Hail Mary

I was there and I sincerely believe this was the moment the energy was sapped from the Chicago Bears fan base. As Palko tossed his duck into the sky and Brian Urlacher slapped it perfectly to Dexter McCluster, the Soldier Field faithful were not discouraged or angry. They were just sad. They knew. We knew. So we raised our hands collectively for a Miller Genuine Draft.

#4 A Tale of Two Detroits

Was there a more humiliating debacle than the Bears Monday night embarrassment at Ford Field? Frank Omiyale committing eleven false starts? Chris Harris chasing bees at safety? Jahvid Best running for eighty untouched yards to ice the game? It was pathetic. What followed, however, was triumphant. Lovie Smith used that horror show to send poor performers to the bench and the Bears responded with five straight explosive performances. Those performances reached their peak with the revenge game against the Lions at Soldier Field, featuring about a dozen Matt Stafford interceptions. It was on that day I started to believe this Bears team could win the Super Bowl.

#3 Caleb Hanie’s Performance in the NFC Title Game

Yes I know it was not technically a part of the 2011 season but Hanie’s near-heroics at Soldier Field last January duped the fans, the media and the organization into believing he was a capable NFL starter. He was not. No sir, he was not. The 2011 Chicago Bears might have made the playoffs if Hanie had just been awful against the Packers.

#2 Marion Barber Runs Out of Bounds

Even through all of Caleb Hanie’s Benny Hill-style antics at quarterback the Bears had an opportunity to salvage a wild card slot out of this regular season. Then Marion Barber ran out of bounds and allowed the Denver Broncos (remember when people thought that team was good?) and gave the Broncos an opportunity to hit an almost improbably game-tying 59 yard field goal. It was an insult.

#1 Johnny Knox Falls Down on Bears Season

If you saw Jay Cutler’s sideline reaction after breaking his thumb on a tackle attempt, you know why he attempted to make that tackle. He was angry at Johnny Knox for falling down on a basic slant route. It was a sideline shot that made me proud to see the leader Cutty’s become for this group of Chicago Bears. Less than a few hours later it was revealed that Jay had broken his thumb and his regular season was essentially over. Less than a few weeks later it became apparent the Bears season was broken as well.