In a brutal loss to the  Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Jay Cutler continued to kill the Chicago Bears with his inconsistency.

An improbable fumble from Matt Forte and an all-too familiar outing from Cutler was all it took for the  Bears to dip to 2-3. And for a team that had an outside shot at a division title, that record is simply dismal.

A 2-3 record should trigger a few warning bells, because the NFC North is still up for grabs. But if you watched their loss to the Panthers yesterday – the Chicago Bears don’t seem to think so.

In general, the NFC as a whole is still up for grabs.

Even as it stands, the Green Bay Packers are on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff contention. Regardless of how far away the playoffs are, the NFC West looks to be gearing up for another dominant year. And on the other coast, the NFC East is having a revival season.

For the NFC North, that means there will likely only be one available slot for the playoffs. So if the Bears want to play football in January, they better stop making mistakes and more importantly – stop rationalizing those mistakes with excuses.

The problem with yesterday’s loss is that nothing was drastically different from previous games. Jay Cutler put up impressive numbers (28-for-36, 289 yards, three total touchdowns and two interceptions), but it wasn’t enough to do the only thing that matters: win.

Cutler was sacked four times, a rare occurrence for the Bears’ seemingly revamped offensive line that quite simply couldn’t contain the Panthers.

In their last two losses to Carolina and Green Bay, the Bears offense has been outscored 34-3 in the second half. In those two halves, Cutler has thrown three interceptions. Add in the Bills loss, and four of Jay’s six picks have been after halftime. All six have been spread across the three defeats.

How can you expect to win when you give the opposing team multiple chances to shift the momentum? You can’t.

ESPN’s Jon Greenberg summarized this Bears squad far too accurately, “The Bears aren’t 23 by accident. This isn’t happenstance or a learning period. It’s just a mediocre team moseying its way down the schedule, one game at a time.”

“Moseying” is exactly what Jay Cutler and the Bears have done this season. Lamarr Houston, however, doesn’t  think that’s the case. Despite his underperformance this season (six tackles and no sacks through the first four games), Houston believes the best times are ahead for the Bears.

A headline-worthy addition to the Bears in the offseason, the defensive lineman lashed out (to the fans, of all people) on Twitter after yesterday’s collapse.

“Where are my real [Bears] fans??? the ones who don’t waver during the storm the tough ones?!?!? Those r the ones we need the rest of u can eat dirt” – @Hupernika09s

While I appreciate Houston’s honesty,  transparency and blind optimism, there’s a few things he should know as a new member to Chicago Bears.

Since Jay Cutler joined the Chicago Bears, he has been a disappointment. We were told he needed time to learn the playbook, and then despite skepticism over whether or not to re-sign him at all, the Bears forked over an unbelievable chunk of change to Cutler in the offseason.

For a quarterback that’s never so much as seen a Super Bowl, his contract would convince you he’s won five of them. Bears fans were told that the offense would lead it to victory this season, but that’s evidently not the case.

Jay Cutler has teased, teased, and teased some more. And despite his new contract, this is the season where we knew these tricks would get old.

The Bears have 11 games and a bye week to make things right. Not next season, or the one after.

The Bears can’t expect fans to have the same patience that’s been brewed in Wrigleyville. Just like Cubs fans expect the team to compete for the playoffs next season (or 2016 at the very least), Bears fans expected this team to compete for a Super Bowl this season.

Sorry Lamarr, but 2-3 isn’t acceptable when your team oozes with talent.

The Chicago Bears’ overpaid, overrated quarterback isn’t entirely to blame. But Jay Cutler is definitely to blame for a lot of it.

Jay Cutler can throw all the touchdowns he wants. And he can dish out all the excuses in the world. But so long as he continues to make careless throws in the fourth quarter, the Bears’ winning will remain as inconsistent as its passing.

We don’t expect Matt Forte to fumble every game. And we don’t expect Robbie Gould to miss 35-yard field goals often. Those mistakes will happen for the Bears, but not often.

Jay Cutler didn’t lose yesterday’s game, but he definitely didn’t win it. And for the Chicago Bears, that’s starting to become quite a trend.

If Jay Cutler is going to lead the Bears to the playoffs this season, he should start remembering one thing:  you can’t fix inconsistency, but you can definitely replace it.