Losing is rarely, if ever, satisfying, and yet the Bears' defeat to the mighty New England Patriots on Sunday might have left fans particularly dissatisfied.
Perhaps it's because, as Mitch Trubisky said afterward, this team holds itself to a higher standard. Close losses, even to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, simply aren't good enough.
It's also likely that losing by one possession on the game's final play for the second week in a row, sending the Bears from first to a last-place tie in the division, has a compounding effect.
Yet, after spending the night thinking about it, I think the actual on-field aesthetics on Sunday — and not just at Soldier Field — contributed to the frustrated feeling many Bears fans are still grappling with this morning.
Mitch Trubisky's inaccuracy was almost as difficult to watch as his scrambling was scintillating. Anthony Miller's breakout game should've been yesterday vs. the team that afforded Chicago the opportunity to select him. Instead, perhaps Trubisky's two biggest misses came on Miller targets that should have resulted in touchdowns.
That Trubisky's clunker came seven days after Patrick Mahomes hung four TDs and a 40-burger, albeit in a loss, on the Patriots, and hours before Mahomes eclipsed 300 passing yards in a record sixth (!) consecutive game, resulting in another Kansas City boat race, isn't ideal.
Vic Fangio's curious strategy of dropping his high-priced pass rushers — not using them to rush Tom Brady — rather than leaning on his high-priced inside 'backers in coverage led to rare second-guessing of the renowned defensive coordinator. His unit has only one sack during its two-game losing streak. That's three fewer than the Detroit Lions, with whom Chicago is now alongside in the NFC North basemen, tallied in a handily road beating of the same Miami Dolphins team that pushed the Bears around.
And the heart of the Bears 'D' up front in ex-Patriot Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman (four combined tackles, the same number as rookie Bilal Nichols) were almost invisible in the game they were needed most.
Is it time for some facts that should satisfy?
The Bears opened as six-point favorites Sunday vs. Sam Darnold's New York Jets, and they'll give the Bills around the same point total one week later when they visit Buffalo. That means the Bears are expected to be back to two games over .500 and tied for last year's win total after Week 9, with half of their season remaining.
Both head-to-head battles with the Lions and Minnesota Vikings are still on the horizon, so the NFC North is still very much a four-team race despite the Bears suddenly being the division's coldest team.
And although the Bears' polarizing young passer, Trubisky, took a step backward Sunday, while Chicago's vaunted pass rush remained stuck in the mud, there also were clear signs of growth elsewhere in one of the league's youngest clubs.
Nichols continued his terrific recent surge and is becoming one of the Bears' most opportunistic defenders. Miller's route running was positively explosive Sunday, and once his chemistry with Trubisky tightens up a bit, the Bears are going to have yet another playmaker with which defenses must be leery over. Tarik Cohen (third consecutive game with a touchdown) and Trey Burton (career-high 9-126-1 receiving) already belong in that category, and Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson get another week to heal and reassert themselves as Chicago's top weapons of their respective units.
It's all about perspective, right?
"It just goes to show that we've got a ways to go with where we're at," Matt Nagy said. "We fought until the end, which I do like, but we've got a lot of things to fix, and we'll certainly get to that."
Sunday didn't look good, but it doesn't mean the big picture for the Bears can't still be bright.