What can you even say at this point? How can you even begin to process where these Chicago Bears are now and where they were Sunday evening as they made their way out of Arrowhead Stadium with crates full of doubt and frustration, distraction and confusion?
The Bears finished the first calendar month of what was supposed to be an energizing bounce-back season in shambles. They remain winless. And their third loss of what is turning into a dispiriting free fall wasn’t remotely close Sunday.
Over at halftime. An absolute destruction.
The Kansas City Chiefs were ahead by 34 points and barely breaking a sweat on the way to a 41-10 blowout. The Chiefs were so dominant against an obviously overmatched and now injury-depleted Bears team that they gave star quarterback Patrick Mahomes the last quarter and a half off.
Mahomes earned it after leading the Chiefs on seven consecutive scoring drives and 375 total yards before his third-quarter exit. He threw for 272 yards and three touchdowns, then kicked his feet up after a 7-yard scoring strike to Travis Kelce provided a 41-0 lead.
The Bears were left in the most exposed state of vulnerability in the NFL, having so little say in how their 13th consecutive loss unfolded.
“We let it get out of hand,” safety Jaquan Brisker said.
The Chiefs did just about whatever they wanted. And the Bears offered little resistance.
Tight end Cole Kmet is in his fourth season and has been through some pretty demoralizing defeats as a Bear. But that kind of beatdown? It was as predictable as it was demoralizing.
“We just got our ass kicked,” Kmet said. “Yeah. That was probably No. 1 (as far as bad losses). I can’t think of a game that I’ve had in a long time that looked like that.”
The Bears remain as low on answers as they are on morale. And they don’t have much pop in their counterpunches.
What else can these players even say? Give them credit for trying to find the words and explanations.
“The plays are there. We just have to connect on them,” said wide receiver DJ Moore, whose first catch came with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter.
Added defensive end DeMarcus Walker: “Today’s tough. Obviously this isn’t the expectation we had, to start off 0-3 and still having to dig and find our identity.”
We could walk through some of the numbers, starting with the Chiefs’ 22-4 advantage in first downs in the first half. Or their 323-85 edge in total yardage after two quarters.
Mahomes Magic was on display on a perfect fall afternoon, most notably when he surfed the pocket in the second quarter, bought time and dropped a 37-yard dime down the right sideline to wide receiver Justin Watson. That was the big play on an 88-yard touchdown march.
“Like I’ve seen in the past,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said.
He meant Mahomes. But he very easily could have been talking about his defense, which has been carved up repeatedly during his 20 games in Chicago, 17 of them losses.
We could quickly summarize Justin Fields’ afternoon: 11-for-22 passing for 99 yards and a late touchdown pass to Moore plus 11 rushing attempts for 47 yards. It was, in a nutshell, another erratic outing. Error-filled, too, including a delay-of-game penalty on the first play coming out of a possession change and a second-quarter interception that was tipped into the air by Chiefs safety Justin Reid and picked off by Mike Edwards.
In a game the Bears trailed by at least 14 points for the final 41 minutes, they netted only 87 passing yards. Whoa.
What can Fields even say at this point?
He tried the optimistic slant. “All we need is one (win) to get this thing going. The Lions started 1-6 last year and almost made the playoffs. Just keep that faith. Keep going.”
Then Fields tried to clutch on to perspective and gratitude.
“I’m looking at the big picture, life in general to be honest with you,” he said. “This past week has had me kind of look at this like, ‘What are the important things in life?’
“These past couple of weeks have made me appreciate the little things in life, like being able to play this game. Every opportunity I get to go out and play, I’m going to have fun, I’m going to play my hardest and just thank God for giving me the ability to play.”
This felt like the reeling leader of a broken offense. And this now feels like a frazzled Bears team that witnessed Sunday what elite teams in this league play like and then absorbed the harsh realization they are light-years from whatever level the Chiefs are on.
It didn’t help that Sunday’s walloping came at the end of a stressful week, in large part due to the sudden resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams, an unusual development that shook the locker room and may have bled into the team’s preparation and performance.
“I’d like to think not,” Kmet said. “But there was a lot going on. I think as players we did our best. I did think we had a good week of practice but not good enough. It showed up today on the football field.”
This is almost like a grand slam of ineptitude. The Bears don’t have enough talent to compete with the league’s best teams. They haven’t had the confidence or cohesion to shake what is now an 11-month, 13-game skid. They’ve added distracting drama to the mix. And, oh, now the injuries are piling up too.
With safety Eddie Jackson (foot) sidelined and slot cornerback Kyler Gordon (hand) on injured reserve, the Bears lost two more secondary starters Sunday. Tyrique Stevenson left the game first to be evaluated for a concussion and was later officially diagnosed with an illness. Jaylon Johnson, meanwhile, hurt his hamstring and didn’t return.
The defensive backfield suddenly consisted of Brisker and Elijah Hicks at safety with Terell Smith, Greg Stroman Jr. and Josh Blackwell at cornerback. Against Mahomes, Kelce, Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Man.
“It’s a reality check,” Walker said. “Honestly, all I can do now is sit on the bus and just really think deep down on what I can do better. I have no other choice. We have no other choice. I’m tired of losing.”
The Bears will try all the things that losing teams try. They’ll scour the game video for errors they can identify as easily correctable and cling to those with unapologetic hope.
They’ll stress how much more season is ahead — 14 games — and how the bond of the team can be their flotation device.
They’ll seek to improve on-field chemistry and tweak their strategy to get something, anything unlocked.
And they’ll reach for the flush lever to send Sunday’s latest embarrassment swirling away.
“You just kind of have to,” Kmet said. “You can’t be carrying this with you all the time. It will emotionally wear on you, mentally wear on you a lot. And you can’t be taking this into the following week.”
What else can you even say at this point?