Get used to this feeling Chicago. It is obvious to say that the Bears live and die on the arm (and mind) of their gunslinger quarterback. Now that we all know that, let's sit back and enjoy the remaining games.
I watched the Bears game yesterday with my brother in Lakeview. When the game was deep into the first half, we heard a strange pop from outside and then the power went out. After some investigations, we walked out to the street where neighbors and passer-bys mulled in a full-fledge neighborhood power outage. The power came back on after about an hour or so where the game was plodding along in the 3rd quarter. Now, I'm sure this whole episode may sound like nothing more than an irritating but benign disruption. But for me it was unnerving. Unnerving not because I was missing my beloved Bears play mediocre football, but unnerving because I had watched the classic movie 2012 on Netflix instant the night before. So that's why I took off in full sprint looking for an airplane to get my family out of the area before the earth's crust implodes. Just in case you wondered...
Here are some other random observations from yesterday's game:
Quick, name a Buffalo Bill.
The Bears won their fifth game of the season. Five more to go for Lovie Smith to keep his job. And from this naked eye, Lovie should let Jay Cutler hang out in first class for the way flight home. With about 6 minutes to go, the Bears were facing a tough 3rd down and 11 yards to go. The team had moved themselves into long field goal range, but down by five points. The announcers and the coaches seemed to both be content on the Bears skipping the possible first down to position themselves to cut the lead to under a field goal. This is classic Lovie ball - live to play another down and hopefully win in the last second.
Everyone seemed to be on the same page (Lovie was shown talking to his special teams coach and nodding). Well, everyone except for Jay Cutler, who promptly burned a crucial timeout to come talk things over. Here was the Jeff George-impersonator coming over to the sidelines to talk to the coaching staff about going for broke, not worrying about scoring a field goal to cut the game in half. And they must have listened. Because on the next play out, Cutler rolled to his left to avoid the pressure and threw a strike to Greg Olsen for 20+ yards and a first down inside the 10 yard line. Field goal, my ass.
Cutler lives and dies by the sword and we are starting to see why he got shipped out of Denver. There is a cocky QB to him that will throw the team and the team's goals under the bus to get what he wants (like burning a timeout with precious time left, down 5 points). But there's something else here - a desire to win or go home. And as maddening as that sounds, it might be the best chance we have of celebrating playoff football in Chicago, this year.
You hear that marketing squad? Lose the 4th phase. Give Cutler a new nickname: Sword. Put all your money into "Chicago football: Live and die by the sword."
The Buffalo coaching staff is pretty bad. You wonder why they are 0-8 when they try for a two-point conversion early in the 4th quarter. Losers are losers for a reason. In this case, it's all on the coaching.
The Bears played that patented bend not break all game. They made some wide receiver named Stevie Johnson a pro-bowler. Whenever the announcer called that guy's name, I could only think of the sublime East Bown and Down.
"Kenny, it's Stevie. Stevie Janowski!!!?"
I mean, really. Who calls themselves Stevie?
So much for playing a hard schedule: Buffalo (0-8) was the fifth win for the Bears. Their others? Dallas (1-7), Carolina (1-7), Detroit (2-6) and oh, Green Bay (6-3). So one good team who had over 15 penalties and a few bad bounces in a close loss.
Next week is huge for the Bears. They can put Minnesota out of their misery with a win and build a four game cushion on the talented Vikes (not to mention keeping pace with the Pack). But beating the Vikings would be a huge moral victory for the squad, who could silence critics with an emphatic win at the spaceship on Sunday afternoon.
Sharpen your sword, Chicago.