So the Bears are now 4-3. The rhetoric in the locker room yesterday was that this record is identical to last year's team - and look how that turned out. I hate to be the guy who says it, but wasn't the plan to be better than last year? 4-3 is fine for an upstart, but for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, 4-3 seems to be a bit of a letdown. Maybe they can run the table and end 13-3. Maybe lose a few and still make the playoffs. But make no mistake: this team has yet to impress us. The last two games have shown glimpses of what we expected this year, but the Jekyll and Hyde Bears still have work to do.
Chicago is not a 'slow-start' town. Fans respect when teams come out of the gates blazing. We jump on quick and ride the train. We don't have a lot of patience for a .500 performance at the break. We are spoiled. Blame it on Ditka and Jordan, I guess.
Here are some other random observations from yesterday's game:
I had a technical snafu yesterday. Set my DVR for the game and made sure to have the ole' extended play cover if the game went past it's alotted time on the Comcast grid. Well, the game did and the DVR didn't. So with about 5 min to play, the game ended for me. Luckily, I was able to catch highlights, but that was a very depressing moment. So I've asked my colleague Kate Dries to sum up the ending, since she watched the Bears for the first time this season (and quite possibly, in her life):
"Um, they won and it was really close and everyone was upset because it wasn't by a lot. "
I watched most of the game in fast forward. Here's what it looked like:
Two national anthems, Jay Cutler found the British one amusing; Tower Heist is coming out; Ford Trucks; Fox robot was all over the place; game was played at night; Moose had a drab suit on; Siragusa put on a top hat; Mike Martz threw down his pencil; Tampa had, like, 30 injuries; Budweiser; Roger Goodell was in the booth; Bud Light; new TV shows; Briggs played cricket; and a knight dressed like a Raiders fan. Did I miss anything?
Oh, London! The game was played in London! I loved the Fox approach to show as many goofy, British fans as possible. The 'Ha! They wish they knew how to be fans of this sport' camera shots were funny initially, boring later, annoying at last. If they wanted to give us a good feel for a game in London, they should have played local British commercials. Or Fawlty Towers at halftime.
Is there an Occupy London? If I were Occupy London, I would have been all over this NFL game. Maybe they were and Fox just didn't show it. Personally, I was expecting much more hooliganism from the crowd. So imagine my surprise when I found this AP picture this morning.
Fox just didn't show it. Run, dude run! Also, here's a picture of the pre-game festivities, featuring the great British band, the Goo-Goo Dolls.
Seriously? The Verve wasn't available? What about Coldplay? We'd even take The Proclaimers over the Goo-Goo Dolls.
Did I hear Coach Lovie actually say "We're a good football team" in his post-game press conference? I wonder if he has any thought in his head when he says that. Does he think "Oh boy, I shouldn't say that again. I say that too much. Every year. Don't say 'Rex is our quarterback...don't say Rex is our quarterback..."
Wow, it's starting to be very apparent: If the Bears D-line plays well, the Bears win. Julius Peppers is a beast. Not a bad showing for the offensive line, either. They are run blockers.
Also, this would be a good week to pay Matt Forte. Here's my rationale:
If you pay him now, you will definitely have to pay top dollar. If he gets hurt in the next nine games, you will still have to pay him top dollar (unless it is career ending). One of the reasons for not paying him might be motivation. If he is seeking a contract, he will play better. But in this case, Forte might actually be seeking historic numbers. He's within reach of 2,000 yards. So money is less of a motivating factor. And frankly, the Bears organization is taking a black eye over this. Every week, it's a storyline. So for Angelo to continue to say "We don't want a contract distraction during the season" is kind of bogus.
Also, it's a bye week. You don't have to worry about distractions.
You know who I like? Chris Conte. Maybe it's the weird arm tattoo. But I like his style. He roughed up Kellen Winslow a bit after Winslow beat him for a touchdown. At first, it looked like Winslow was overreacting, but when you saw the replay, Conte just took a nice, petite cheap shot after the play was over. You like that in your safety.
Do you feel like Urlacher and Briggs are household characters? Fox seems to seek them out whenever they are together on the sideline or doing off-field antics. Are they the real face of the Chicago Bears? Whenever one of them makes a play, the other defenders go crazy congratulating them (especially Briggs after the interception). I ran into a NY Jets fan on Staten Island a few weeks back and he said to me, "Hey, Bears fan, eh? They are brutal. Love the defense though. Better pay Forte." So I guess that's sort of what this team is? Brutal, defensive and cheap?
So a week off. Then? Michael Vick and the Eagles. Yep, the playoff push begins. The Bears have the Eagles, Lions, Vikings, Packers, Seahawks and the AFC West left to play. Not bad.