Check the date people. On November 19th, the Chicago Bears are still in first place. With a record of 7-3, they can go 3-3 for the remainder of the schedule and make the playoffs. More importantly, the Chicago Bears will be playing relevant football all the way to the end of the season. Isn't that all we ask for?
I decided to write down my thoughts during the game on my phone. My wife watched me hunt and peck with my thumbs and offered me a pencil/paper instead. So I wrote down all my thoughts and bits the old-fashioned way. And then promptly left them at home this morning. So technology might be slower, but I carry it with me.
Here are some random observations from watching Bears v. Dolphins:
Conspiracy theory: Lovie Smith brought in Mike Martz to rile up the defense. By making Martz' offense high-profile, the D would get jealous and take over the team. That's how it looks to me. This was supposed to be a high-flying offensive team. Cutler, Hester, Forte, Martz. But right now, the Bears D is almost the #1 unit in the league (probably will be after Sunday's game).
Oh, even though I love Cutler, I need to call out that seconds before the end of the game, Cutler was spied fixing his hair on the sidelines - preparing for the post-game field interview. What, is he Tom Brady? When did these QBs become pretty boys? Oh right, since the league first began. The D doesn't have to fix hair - mostly because they don't have any (Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers, Manning, Harris, etc).
Julius Peppers plays big when there is a national audience. So we just have to make sure that all the Bears games have a national audience. After next week against the Eagles, we play all local, noon games. Yikes. Memo to Bears: Hire a Sunday night football lobbyist.
Devin Hester saved the game for the Bears. His mini-return early in the game changed the field position struggle and gave the Bears the ball out at midfield (after being pinned deep in their territory the drive before). The Bears were able to breathe, kick a field goal and dominate the rest of the game. Devin Hester gets paid #1 WR money. I'm starting to think that Hester is worth more.
What was with Cutler at the end of the half? With just under a minute to go, the Bears (and Lovie) were content with taking the 6-0 lead into the locker room. They called a draw (with timeouts left) and then let the clock run down. Again, Cutler looked miffed at the conservative play-calling and when he stepped up to the line, it looked like he was supposed to hand the ball off to Forte but instead he threw it to Johnny Knox on the slant. It was incomplete with seconds left on the clock. It looked like a complete audible by Cutler and frankly, pretty stupid with no time on the clock. The next play was the QB kneel and he backpedaled a bit before downing it, hoping something might happen. Cutler is dangerous in this way. This is probably where his reputation comes from. But at the same time, I don't think you see Brady or Manning killing clock with time and timeouts left. I'm with Jay. Go down and score.
Hey, I heard there is a Bill Parcells documentary on tonight. I didn't see 90 million promos and halftime stories about it during the game, I just heard about it on the street. It would be great if NFL Network would promote their stuff...
Interesting reporting late in the game: The NFL Network sideline reporter couldn't believe how many Bears fans were at the Miami stadium. And then the announcer said "Yep, the Bears fans travel." Do we? Is this something I haven't paid attention to? Are Bears fans like Cubs fans? Are we everywhere? While we are talking about it, where's Ashton Kutcher? Isn't it about time he returns? Who else? I haven't seen Dennis Farina on the sidelines. NYPD Blue's Dennis Franz? Peter Cetera and Poi Dog Pondering? Let's get some star-power attached to this 7-3 Bears team.
Who is this Henry Melton character? I think it was him (apologies if it wasn't), but in the second quarter after a big defensive play, the cameras turned to Thigpen's reaction and Melton was standing behind him. Melton kept tapping Thigpen on the shoulder to get his attention. After a few taps, Thigpen turned around and Melton just made a quick joke (something along the lines of "you suck") and Thigpen turned around in disgust. It was hilarious and very representative of this Bears D swagger. I kind of remember McMichael and Otis Wilson doing things like that.
Daniel Manning hit = wow. That's highlight reel material. Remember this video during the 2006 Super Bowl run? I have a feeling that producer is working on a new version. Watch the old one if you have time. It brings tears to my eyes.
Also, a lot of talk about the 1985 Bears/Dolphins game. WGN did a piece about it, but didn't mention (at all) the only point of that game: The Dolphins cheated. Ask Ron Rivera. I can't find it online right now, but I remember the story that Rivera told about how the Dolphins put 12 men in the huddle and it made it impossible to match up defensively because you didn't know who was staying on the field. The rules changed the next season.
Matt Millen loves Rod Marinelli. If you love him so much, why don't you become a GM and hire him? Oh, that's right. You did. And he went 0-16.
Finally, Ocho Cinco loves Jay Cutler.