It's difficult enough when a team suffers a one-side defeat.
The Bears suffered an especially difficult loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns because when it ended, they realized there was no quarterback with a cape and "S" on his chest in the background immediately ready to save the franchise.
Instead, there was only inexperienced Justin Fields who held the ball too long, ran into sacks and had no support whatsoever from coaches and teammates in a 26-6 defeat.
Those Bears fans who wanted Andy Dalton on the bench really need to re-evaluate their priorities because the longer his bone bruise takes to heal, the longer Fields will be exposed to NFL defenses. The end result could be damaged development. It happens with quarterbacks who are not ready to play, and it would take someone with a real gift for persuasion to convince anyone Fields is ready to play now.
When you go 6 of 20 for 68 yards and get sacked nine times, survival is the priority over being competitive.
Bears fans hoped Fields could measure up to some of the other rookie quarterbacks who made their first starts in recent years, like Justin Herbert or Jalen Hurts.
Instead, Fields' stat line looked more like Nate Peterman's stats in his first start than like Herbert's. Peterman threw for 66 yards and had six completions. On the other hand, Fields at least didn't throw five interceptions like Peterman.
Apologies are in order because on this site last week it was mentioned at least Fields could be certain he wouldn't have a game like the rookie start made by Jets quarterback Luke Falk in a 31-6 loss to Philadelphia, because Falk was sacked nine times.
Uh, guess again.
There will be another start for Fields but his debut will go down with the type of grade it deserved.
Here is this week's Bears report card and it's proof misery loves company.
Running Game: D-
There was none essentially. The Bears did what they had so often in the past when they fall behind. They gave up on the run. David Montgomery had seven first-half rushing attempts, then got only three more even though they still trailed only by a touchdown late in the third quarter. Montgomery had 10 runs and 34 yards. Justin Fields ran only three times on 12 yards. The run blocking was pore except for on 16-yarder Montgomery broke early. Then he averaged 2.0 yards on his other nine runs.
Passing Game: F
The Bears weren't going to beat anyone with six pass completions. Allen Robinson and David Montgomery made two catches each, and Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet one each. The nine sacks given up represented the worst Bears total since 2010. Fields had no time to throw and when he did he was unimpressive.
Run Defense: F
The bulk of the yardage came in the fourth quarter after they were worn out, but still the 215 yards was a ridiculous total to give up, 84 to Nick Chubb and 81 to Kareem Hunt. The hard part? Missed tackles again, Eddie Jackson, Kindle Vildor, even defensive linemen were missing tackles.
Pass Defense: C-
Jaylon Johnson tried following around Odell Beckham Jr. and it worked for a while but not for long and he was burned right along with the rest of the secondary in the second half. Beckham finished with five catches for 77 yards in his return from an ACL tear. The pass defense on the final drive of the first half, allowed Cleveland to drive 89 yards for a touchdown just before the quarter ended, and it turned around the nature of the game. Allowing 47.1% on third downs (8 of 17) is better than they've been doing but poor nonetheless. Only their pass rush with five sacks kept this from being a performance like the one their run defense gave.
Special Teams: C-
Cleveland's Demetric Felton had production against the Bears punt coverage teams like a few of the punt returners in preseason did. He averaged a healthy 14.7 yards a return and usually had plenty of time to make a step or two and then fake off tacklers. Pat O'Donell was the hero of the day for the Bears, as he had to punt seven times and had a 63-yarder among those.
Matt Nagy didn't employ enough chip blocks on the edge or keep in enough extra blockers in favor of using more receivers. It was a "scat" protection concept, five blockers and no help and it failed miserably. The Kansas City Chiefs love using scat protection and it was a horrible mistake for Nagy to think this makeshift line could handle it. They felt they couldn't run more bootlegs and move the pocket because of the mobile, athletic, lanky edge rushers the Browns have in Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. They were being forced to keep it in the pocket, in other words. Nagy also deserves blame for giving up on the running game in the second half with the score still in question.
When your offense produces the second fewest net yards in team history and ninth fewest net yards (47) in any NFL game ever, there can be no other grade. Nagy can stand and take the blame but he should know there's more than enough blame to go around for everyone.