The Chicago Bears overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday did not only bring disappointment and anger to the team, but also another set of injuries to key players. Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, Chris Conte and Earl Bennett all left Sunday’s game and none of them returned. All of these players are key contributors and the Bears will have to dig deep into the depth chart if these injuries turn out to be serious.
Chicago wide receivers have had the worst of luck this season when it comes to injuries. Alshon Jeffery had arthroscopic knee surgery just a few days after making his return from a broken hand which had forced him to miss four games. Devin Hester suffered a concussion in the win against Minnesota last week, which kept him out of the game against Seattle. Both Jeffery and Hester could return this week against Minnesota. Earl Bennett was the latest Bears pass catcher to go down, as he suffered a concussion on Sunday. Bennett could also return as soon as this Sunday according to Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith.
As for the defense, it will be impossible to replace Brian Urlacher, who suffered a hamstring injury Sunday, since he will miss at least the next three games. His role as a leader on the defense will be sorely missed, as well as his ability to recognize the formation the offense is in and audible the defensive call accordingly. The fact the injury is a hamstring is not good news for the Bears because hamstrings tend to linger and cause more problems if they are not allowed to fully heal. Trying to recover from this hamstring injury is one instance where Urlacher’s age may finally catch up to him.
Tim Jennings went down with a shoulder injury on Sunday, and received an MRI on Monday. Jennings’ enormous impact on the Bears defense can be stated best by his statistics. Jennings leads the NFL with eight interceptions and no other player in the league has more than five. The Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was able to torch the Chicago secondary late in the game after Jennings left with the injury. These struggles may very well continue against Minnesota this week if Jennings is unable to play.
The Bears have shown that they can be one of the best teams in the NFL if they have all of their players healthy. However, so far this season they have not been able to be at full strength very often, which has caused them to lose games that they might have been able to otherwise win. Chicago’s playoff hopes hinge on the health of their star players, and if they cannot find a way to stay healthy they might be watching games from their couches come January.