Bernstein: Backing into playoffs is just perfect for these Bears

The Bears define mediocrity at 8-8, but they still have more football to play.

(670 The Score) In a nearly perfect distillation of their entire 2020 season, the Bears picked themselves off the cold Soldier Field turf after yet another demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Packers on Sunday, only to learn that they're a playoff team.

Because, of course.

This zombie shambles undead for one more week, seeking brains.

At 8-8, profoundly mediocre is what they are, with this last and best chance to validate their late-season bounce ending on the wrong side of 35-16. We needed to find out what was real and what was more the product of inferior opposition and regression to the mean, and the answer is right in front of us. The Rams may have topped the Cardinals, 18-7, to slide the Bears into the newly created third wild-card spot, but that fact doesn't make the Bears a better team or put them realistically closer to winning a championship.

It was another game against Aaron Rodgers, in which the same things happen. We've seen this movie too many times. He simply did what he does, completing 19 of 24 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns, picking apart a secondary missing two of three top cornerbacks and a linebacking corps that lost Roquan Smith to an elbow injury in the first half.

And amazing as it is to say about a quarterback posting a 147.9 passer rating, Rodgers gave the Bears some chances to make the kind of play that changes a game. Kindle Vildor had an interception go through both his hands, Barkevious Mingo could've snagged an ill-advised swing pass that would've likely been a pick-six and Eddie Jackson continued his overall disappointing play with yet another dropped interception of his own. Those were all there, but they just don't get done. Not this year.

Mitchell Trubisky cooled back into what he is, especially with Allen Robinson effectively removed from the game by disciplined and attentive coverage. The bad late interception was there again, a signature combination of not reading the safety correctly and delivering an inaccurate ball. And he again had a near-pick in the end zone on some kind of route confusion, something we've been told can't happen despite the fact that it routinely does.

Countervailing winds now blow over Halas Hall. In one direction is another non-winning season that featured nothing but confusion at the quarterback position, the regression of an expensive defense, the improvement of the offense by essentially installing a different one and the head coach demoting himself from calling plays, a six-game losing streak and yet another loss at the hands of their ancient divisional foe. In the other is the Bears' dead-cat bounce after that losing streak, the fact that they didn't completely pack it in, the overwhelming lack of courage to venture into the unknown of big-time NFL business and now, well ... having "made" the postseason.

What George and Virginia McCaskey think is what matters ultimately, and we don't know until we do.  Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy, Trubisky and the rest of us are just still here, for now.

We all are.  It's just still here.

This Bears season is like what our collective days have been for far too long:  varying degrees of sameness within a dispiritingly narrow range of expectations that just roll into each next week with the vague and flickering hope that big things could and just maybe might happen to make it all better.

It's our rallying cry.

Bears football.  There's some more of it.

Dan Bernstein is the host of the Dan Bernstein Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.

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