WBEZ | Minnesota Vikings http://www.wbez.org/tags/minnesota-vikings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bears snap a losing streak, add to their M*A*S*H unit http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/bears-snap-losing-streak-add-their-mash-unit-104009 <p><p>It was just what the doctor ordered-- Bears 28-10 win over Minnesota at newly sodded Soldier Field. It was a doctor&#39;s final okay that allowed Jay Cutler to get back on the field. There will be plenty of Bears seeing the&nbsp;doctors this week.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Injuries and a lot of them:</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_ap987149711212.jpg" style="float: left; height: 187px; width: 280px;" title="Jay Cutler returns and the Bears post a win. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" />Snapping a two game losing streak was the best medicine with all the ills this team went through the past week, most notably changing two starters on the offensive line and one on the defensive line. There may be future problems next week with injuries to running back Matt Forte (ankle), guard Lance Louis (knee), cornerback Charles Tillman (ankle), return specialist Devin Hester (concussion) and guard Chris Spencer (knee). When Coach Lovie Smith came to the post-game press conference he had to read all the injuries off a piece of paper. The severity on any of these injuries is unknown at this time.</p><p><strong>The Jay and Brandon show:</strong></p><p>Jay Cutler&#39;s return from his concussion and his play with his favorite target Brandon Marshall was huge. The Bears big wide receiver had 12 catches for 92 yards, allowing him to now have over 1,000 yards (1,017 to be exact) for the season. It was the sixth time in his career Marshall posted those numbers; he even mentioned it to Cutler DURING the game. At his press conference Brandon talked about the feat and his exchange with the Bears QB, &ldquo;In the third quarter, I leaned over to Jay and said &lsquo;That catch puts me at 1,000 yards for six seasons in a row&rsquo; and he looked at me and said &lsquo;You&rsquo;re disgusting.&rsquo; So yes, I&rsquo;m aware of it.&quot; Marshall gave credit to Cutler&#39;s precision during last week&#39;s practices that allowed the Bears quarterback to &quot;thread the needle&quot; with several of his passes.</p><p>Cutler said he felt no issues with his concussion and credited an offensive line trying to keep him safe. It seemed that it was mostly Jay&#39;s play that allowed the line to perform okay, even after starters got hurt and players like, Edwin Williams and Gabe Carimi were pressed into action. Cutler did some nifty scrambling that set up some scoring opportunities.&nbsp;In particular,&nbsp;when he connected with tight end Matt Spaeth on a 13 yard pass in the second quarter after a Bear interception.&nbsp;There one amusing moment in the huddle, Cutler bent down to tie the shoelace of J&#39;Marcus Webb. The Bears quarterback said he did it to manage the clock better, Cutler also added, &quot;I guess my fatherly instincts were kicking in.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The Good and not so good running attack:</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_ap513286708023.jpg" style="float: right; height: 191px; width: 280px;" title="Matt Forte-one of many Bears injured in the win over Minnesota. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)" />Bears running back Matt Forte had a tough day with a fumble in the first series that gave Minnesota an opportunity to get a field goal. Forte&#39;s injury occurred on a play that almost made this game tighter; it looked like he had fumbled allowing Minnesota to get a defensive touchdown. The play was reviewed and overturned, but Forte limped off the field and did not return. His back-up Michael Bush scored two score yard rushing touchdowns with 60 total yards on the ground.</p><p>The Bears offense did a great job eating up time; they controlled the clock 37:30 to Minnesota&rsquo;s 22:30. That allowed the defense to be fresh.</p><p><strong>Redemption for the Bears defense:</strong></p><p>The Bears defense also rebounded from last week&#39;s disaster on the Bay; Henry Melton greeted Minnesota Quarterback Christian Ponder with a sack on the first play. The defense added to their NFL leading take-away total with two fumbles and an interception, they have 33 for the season. Although the Bears &ldquo;D&rdquo; gave up 108 yards to Minnesota&rsquo;s Adrian Petersen, most of those came late in the game. Petersen did fumble twice. The Vikings had lots of problems trying to establish their offense. Christian Ponder was only sacked twice, however, he was harassed most of the game.</p><p><strong>Special team kudos:</strong></p><p>Julius Peppers recorded his 12th career field goal block when he batted down Vikings kicker Blair Walsh&rsquo;s 30 yard attempt in the 2nd quarter. And Adam Podlesh was successful running in a two point conversion after a Bears touchdown in the 2nd quarter.</p><p>It was an important win over a divisional opponent the Bears improve to 8-3 and Minnesota falls to 6-5. This will be an interesting week at Halas Hall trying to figure out who is available for Sunday&rsquo;s home game against Seattle. Its that time of year where injuries will start to take its toll and good back-ups are valuable.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="http://%3chttps//twitter.com/Crayestout%3E"><font color="#006896"><em>@CRayeStout</em></font></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://%3chttp//www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame?fref=ts&gt;"><font color="#006896"><em>Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</em></font></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/bears-snap-losing-streak-add-their-mash-unit-104009 EXCLUSIVE: Coach Lovie's bye week wiretapped voicemails http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-31/exclusive-coach-lovies-bye-week-wiretapped-voicemails-93631 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP111010149198.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP111010149198.jpg" title="Hey Jay. It's Coach Lovie. Pick up. (AP) " width="512" height="341"></p><p>This week, the Chicago Bears had a bye. This usually means that the players are given time to rest up, visit family and do non-football related things in various parts of the country. But not Coach Lovie. He takes football very serious. And he wishes his team would do the same.</p><p>What was Coach Lovie doing on Sunday? Well, he was at home watching all the games, preparing for the second half of the season. How do I know this? Well, I tapped his phone lines...<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-09/exclusive-coach-lovie-smith-wiretapped-voicemails-left-during-last-n">again</a>. What can I say, I practice 21st century journalist tactics. Coach Lovie likes to analyze the games, so he calls his fellow coaches and star players to get their thoughts on other teams around the NFL. The one problem? Nobody picks up.</p><p>Today, I bring you another installment of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-09/exclusive-coach-lovie-smith-wiretapped-voicemails-left-during-last-n">the Coach Lovie Voicemails</a>!</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483808-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/lovie-byeweek-voicemails.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-31/exclusive-coach-lovies-bye-week-wiretapped-voicemails-93631 Bears win big over Vikings http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/Bears AP Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears won big against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field Sunday night.</p><p>At halftime the Bears led 26 to 3, and the final score was equally comfortable: Bears 39, Vikings 10.</p><p>Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 267 yards and wide receiver Devin Hester ran back a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Chicago scored on offense, defense and special teams.</p><p>Bears coach Lovie Smith said everyone played their A-game.&nbsp;</p><p>"All three phases really showed up. Hopefully that's who we are - the team you saw tonight. Defense needed to come back from the last couple of weeks really, and they came back strong," Smith said in a post-game press conference.</p><p>The Bears are now 3-3, and in third place in the NFC north division. Next the Bears head to London's Wembley Stadium for an international series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 The 'Chicago Bears on Ice' could be a new holiday tradition (and other observations from Bears v. Vikings) http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/chicago-bears-ice-could-be-new-holiday-tradition-and-other-observations-bears-v <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101220025890.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears have wrapped up the NFC&nbsp;North division. They did it in overwhelming fashion by blowing out the Minnesota Vikings at the ice-covered TCF&nbsp;Bank Stadium. Not only that, but the Chicago Bears may have ended Brett Favre's career on a sack by rookie Corey Wootton. All in a day's work for the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="300" width="512" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-21/AP101220025890.jpg" /></p><p>Here are some random observations from watching last night's game:&nbsp;</p> <ul><li>The commercial manipulation was in full force. Every company that has a stake in retail revenue this holiday season invested in 30 second spots targeting &quot;dudes who haven't done their Christmas shopping yet.&quot;&nbsp; What do you get the man who has everything? Apparently the Wall Street Blu Ray gift pack.</li><li>I, for one, loved the field conditions and the look of the game last night.&nbsp;I&nbsp;put my sportswriter vote in for an outdoor stadium in Minnesota. It's cool football. If they fixed the turf (had it heated) and then played the game in the elements, it would be a nice addition to the football season.</li><li>Corey Wootton will forever be a Trivial Pursuit answer. &quot;On Brett Favre's last play of his career, which Chicago Bear knocked him out of the game?&quot; Okay, maybe one of those localized Trivial Pursuits, but still...</li><li>Devin Hester - MVP. Name any other player in the NFL that affects the game as much as Devin Hester. Do you realize that the Bears win games when Hester is active in the punt return phase? By my count, Hester was responsible for 17 points last night. And probably more if you count the field position the Bears received after the Vikings kicked several punts out of bounds to avoid Hester. The drama was so great. It really was - watching him take the kick-off down to the 6 yard line. Then having him return the next punt for a TD - and noticing there was a flag on the field. The whole stadium was devastated (both sides). And then to find out that the penalty was on the kicking team (when does that happen???). Amazing performance. Hester teared up on the podium after the game. He was emotional over the NFL&nbsp;record, but wished his special teams teammates could be interviewed too. It was a classy cry. Take notes, John Boehner.</li><li>Stat of the year: It took Hester 286 returns to get 14 TDs. The last record holder, Brian Mitchell, returned 1,070 to get 13 TDs. Wow. And remember these stats don't include the 2006 returns (missed field goal return against NY&nbsp;Giants and Super Bowl return). Paging Joe Rizza Ford - if you are looking for a spokesperson, may I suggest Devin? It's time for him to take over this town.</li><li>Julius Peppers is making a very strong case to be Defensive Player of the Year. It's not in his numbers&nbsp;(low sack total), but his athletic ability as a defensive lineman. It's not just the rush or the run-stopping, it's the containment. Vikings QB&nbsp;Joe Webb tried to scramble several times and just couldn't get by Peppers. He stops that play. He did that against Michael Vick too. So if the Bears defense can neutralize the speedy QB, we might have a chance. We have problems against the pocket passers, like Tom Brady or (eek) Matt Ryan.</li><li>QB&nbsp;Jay Cutler rides a fine line. It's either a perfectly placed ball or the worst throw in the history of the NFL. It definitely is a game of inches.</li><li>I&nbsp;told my wife Julie last night that Bears' Safety Major Wright was just a second or two late on every play, but if he gets that fixed he could be our Troy Polamalu<span style="font-style: italic;">. </span>She looked at me and said, &quot;Who is Troy Palumanannau?&quot; Note to self: watch games with football fans, not wifey. It's cute, but cute is for a different time - not during football.</li><li>Major Wright went to tackle Vikings QB&nbsp;Joe Webb at the goal line and missed by inches. He dove past the QB and slid on the icy turf out of bounds. He was hurt on the play. But what the announcers failed to notice was the reason he was hurt. <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/news/story?id=5941188">Watch this</a> (embedding is disabled, it's at 3:00 mark). At the end of his slide on the icy turf, Wright goes head first into a wheel. Yep, a camera crane was too close to the field. It was almost as close as the brick wall at Wrigley. Seriously, move the crane back. You work this hard to get the field ready and then you put a huge piece of stationary machinery three yards from the endzone?</li><li>There was a pass interference call in the 3rd quarter against Major Wright. It was a bogus call and the ref threw a late flag. It led to the TD by Joe Webb and brought the Vikings to life. It was a terrible call in a game where the Bears were beating the 9 point spread. Coincidence?&nbsp;Everyone says refs are human, therefore they make mistakes. I&nbsp;say refs are human, therefore they are greedy.</li><li>Question for the future:&nbsp;Who's responsibility is it to site-adjust on the offensive line? When the QB (Cutler) comes up to the line and does all that pointing, is he telling the offensive line where to block?&nbsp;Or is that the job of Center Olin Kreutz?&nbsp;Either way, get that fixed pronto. You aren't going far into the playoffs with missed block assignments.</li><li>During the last seconds of the game, ABC&nbsp;showed Favre on the sidelines talking with teammates. He was holding a Styrofoam cup. Was he drinking coffee? Dr. Pepper? Or was that his spit cup for his Kodiak?&nbsp;Gross.</li></ul><p>Finally, take a look at Mulligan's column in the Sun-Times today. He doesn't write headlines, but someone at the Sun-Times does. And something tells me the overnight editor on the desk doesn't know sports. Or maybe they did back in the 90s. What's wrong with this picture (in this case, picture of sub-headline):&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="375" width="500" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-21/mulligan-suntimes.jpg" /></p></p> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 15:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/chicago-bears-ice-could-be-new-holiday-tradition-and-other-observations-bears-v Bears clinch division; Hester sets kick return record http://www.wbez.org/story/brett-favre/bears-clinch-division-hester-sets-kick-return-record <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/107708254.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears have clinched their division. They stomped the Minnesota Vikings, 40-14, Monday night.</p><p>For as much as the Bears struggled in the cold and snow last week against the New England Patriots, they made up for it Monday night in the cold and snow in Minnesota.</p><p>The Bears' Devin Hester broke the record for most kick return touchdowns when he ran back a punt 64 yards. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes.</p><p>The Vikings' quarterback, Brett Favre, left the game early after he was sacked. He was diagnosed with a concussion.</p><p>With the win, the 10-4 Bears are the first team in the NFL to claim their division. They're home Sunday to take on the New York Jets.<br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 13:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/brett-favre/bears-clinch-division-hester-sets-kick-return-record Bears vs. Vikings could cause major traffic headaches in Minneapolis http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/bears-vs-vikings-football-could-cause-major-traffic-headaches-minneapolis <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101216026688.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 471px; height: 302px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-20/AP101216026688.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p>The Chicago Bears will travel to Minneapolis tonight to play the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The game will be played outdoors, since the Metrodome collapsed last weekend due to snow.</p><p>There have been several stories about the playing surface and the stadium's readiness to host a NFL&nbsp;football game on such short notice. The amenities inside the stadium may pose a problem, but the logistics outside the stadium may cause even more headaches.</p><p>I&nbsp;called up Tim Nelson, a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio. Tim talked to me about the area surrounding the stadium and some of the other issues Minneapolis media have been talking about all week, leading up to this historic football game.</p><p><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1328065918-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/vikings-bears-timnelson.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Mon, 20 Dec 2010 18:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/bears-vs-vikings-football-could-cause-major-traffic-headaches-minneapolis Too much news this week! I can't wait til next week when everyone phones it in http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/too-much-news-week-i-cant-wait-til-next-week-when-everyone-phones-it <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101214152692.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>What a week in news! Everyone is putting their best work forward this week, so we can phone it in for the rest of the month.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="481" width="512" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-17/AP101214152692.jpg" /></p><p><em>Take a long look. Yep, city stickers cost that much. Sure, take a picture with your phone. That'll help. <br /></em></p><p><strong>Top story</strong>: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/chicagos-department-cultural-affairs-dismantled-29-are-laid">Jim DeRogatis and the DCA&nbsp;layoffs</a>. Music blogger Jim DeRogatis left the Sun-Times this past summer to join the blogs. At first, we thought we would get a nice mix of &quot;I hate this and I hate that&quot; kind of blog posts, but he quickly put on his investigative reporter hat and has challenged Chicago's music establishment - from Lollapalooza to PPAs to his newest story about the privatizing of the summer festivals. This week, he reported on the 29 layoffs at the Department of Cultural Affairs. Yesterday, there was a lot of traffic and tremendous chatter on-line. That's a good blog post. DCA&nbsp;and the city contend that yes, they are layoffs but they are taking the money and transferring to the new Chicago Tourism Fund, which will rehire some positions (probably same people). But this isn't about where the duties are going to end up, this story is about the future of the city's relationship with music &amp; the arts. Under the direction of outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, the arts and music found places downtown. Some might argue that has been good and bad for the strength of the respective communities, but there was focus from the city. What happens now that the city is reorganizing? Will the city treat arts &amp;&nbsp;music like high schools do? Budgets are tight, get rid of SummerDance? It's a moment in Chicago worth watching.&nbsp;You might grow up and tell your kids or grandkids that downtown festivals used to be free. And that you used to sleep at the beach.</p><p><strong>B story</strong>: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/video-wbezs-sam-hudzik-becomes-star-after-sitting-behind-rahm-residency-hearing">Rahm Residency</a>. What an amazing waste of time! On Wednesday, Rahm Emanuel was put on &quot;the stand&quot; to be asked questions directly from his challengers. The first few interrogators were lawyers, but as the 11 hour session dragged on, lawyers gave way to regular citizens who had questions. Hey, that's what's great about our country. We have the freedom to ask would-be candidates really stupid questions. Yesterday was no better as Rahm's renters took the stand and said they never saw any boxes or other Emanuel family materials left behind in the house. So the lawyers sent over a photog who took pictures of the crawlspace, which the renters never looked in. Okay, cased closed. I think Joe Morris and the board of elections should take this exposure and widen their powers. Start having hearings on everything. Next, does that homeless guy who always asks me for change really need bus fare to Gurnee?&nbsp;</p><p><strong>C story: </strong>Earlier this week,&nbsp;I did a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/breaking-news-did-toni-preckwinkle-get-new-suit">fluffy post about new Cook&nbsp;County Board President Toni&nbsp;Preckwinkle</a>. I pointed out that Preckwinkle had become more stately already, by geting rid of that royal blue suit she ALWAYS&nbsp;wears. Instead, she had a black pin-stripe suit on. She is stepping up her game! Twitter didn't like it very much. I was accused of being sexist and a terrible, lazy journalist (the latter is accurate). The initial argument was that when women are in power, we attack how they look. When men are in power, we focus on issues. So after arguing the point that I've taken on Stroger for his bow-tie and Berny Stone for his drool, I've decided to become the new Chicago politician fashion police. Man or woman. You look bad (or good), I will call you out. Sound good? Equal? Toni Preckwinkle was the first, I think I&nbsp;might go with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/caption-contest-mayor-daley-wbez-studios">Daley and his 'Indiana Jones' hat next.</a>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: Readers of this here blog know that I don't really like weather news. It's cold, we get it. The blizzard story at the beginning of the week was pretty cool though, except for the Bears game. And memo to staffers at ABC7: We get it. Jerry Taft is fat and loves food. Stop teasing him every time there is a food lead-in or good-looking food image on the camera. Funny at first, now I just feel bad for him.</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: The <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/2883513-419/players-bears-field-game-nfl.html">Bears players</a> are starting to ratchet up the &quot;player safety&quot; angle when asked about playing at TCF&nbsp;Stadium this weekend. The Metrodome collapsed under the snow so the Vikings/Bears game will be outside at University of Minnesota. The big problem is that the stadium was shut down for the winter already. So no running water, no field-maintenence and no way to stop the snow from piling up. The Vikings want to stay in Minnesota to play the game because they are honoring the team's 50th anniversary. Bears and Vikings players have brought up concerns that because the field hasn't been maintained, the artificial turf will be as hard as concrete. Imagine if a star-Bear gets hurt because of the field. Can you say boycott, NFL? The Bears need to win at Minnesota and if the Packers lose in New England, the Bears will clinch the NFC&nbsp;North. The Vikings will not have Brett Favre or Tavaris Jackson (and possibly Adrian Peterson). They will be going with an unproven third-string QB who has never played in cold weather (he's from Alabama-Birmingham). The Packers may play without Aaron Rodgers, their star&nbsp;QB. Chicago fans, we may have a playoff bound Bears team after Monday night. If they lose to the Vikings, oh man.</p><p><strong>Kicker</strong>: I&nbsp;am <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/caption-contest-did-crooks-send-chicago-comic-robert-buscemi-message">just a huge fan of this post</a> - my friend Robert Buscemi is a stand-up comic in Chicago. My friend Adam Witt was listening to his CD&nbsp;in his car. The car was broken into and the CD&nbsp;player was stolen.&nbsp;The crooks ejected the CD&nbsp;and left it. Adam snapped the photo. Rejected by criminals, worst way to bomb, Buscemi:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="607" width="450" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-17/buscemi-captioncontest-450x607.jpg" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 15:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/too-much-news-week-i-cant-wait-til-next-week-when-everyone-phones-it No time to relax: Bears play again Thursday after beating Vikings http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-bears/no-time-relax-bears-play-again-thursday-after-beating-vikings <p><p>The Chicago Bears have a short turnaround before their next game. They play the Miami Dolphins on Thursday evening in Florida. The Bears won Sunday's game against division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.</p><p>&quot;Our next goal is to win the division,&quot; Bears' Coach Lovie Smith said. &quot;That's what it's all about. We're in first place in our division. We've gone through the division.&nbsp; We have three wins in our division this year all at home.&quot;</p><p>The Bears are now tied with the Green Bay Packers for the division lead.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 15 Nov 2010 21:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-bears/no-time-relax-bears-play-again-thursday-after-beating-vikings Memo to Minny: If you don't want Adrian Peterson, we'll take him off your hands (and other Bears v. Vikings observations) http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/memo-minny-if-you-dont-want-adrian-peterson-well-take-him-your-hands-and-other- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/AP101114058478.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Whether the Bears are 6-3 or 3-6, you gotta love it when they beat the Vikings and Brett Favre. It's all we ever ask.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 485px; height: 320px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-15/AP101114058478.jpg" alt="" title="Guys, you can't kiss with helmets on. (Photo by AP)" /></p><p>The major sports media in town have taken the angle that this <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-1115-bears-haugh-chicago--20101114,0,7675515.column">win just prolongs the inevitable</a>: the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/morrissey/2893876,CST-SPT-morrissey15.article">firing of Lovie Smith</a>.&nbsp; After a complete game in which we got to see the Chicago Bears signature defense and the Chicago Bears offense play in tandem, the focus is on how the Bears aren't really that good but this was a step in the right direction.</p><p>Flying around the ball, rolling the pocket, dominating in special teams - this was the way we thought the Bears would play under Lovie. If this kind of football is played with consistency, why would we want another coach?&nbsp;</p><p>I&nbsp;know it's unpopular to like Lovie Smith. But his style of football is to play loose and to wreak havoc. Toward the end of the game when kick returner Percy Harvin fumbled away the kickoff, I was hoping that the challenge would show he retained posession. Why? Cause the Bears were up two scores and I would much rather watch the Bears D in that situation than the Bears O. The D was going to tee-off on Favre. They didn't hit him, but Favre threw two picks in the final 5 minutes. Fun to watch. Much more fun than the patented Matt Forte flop at the line of scrimmage.</p><p>Another positive for Lovie:&nbsp; he knows how to beat Brett Favre.&nbsp; Remember a certain Dick Jauron? He couldn't beat Favre to save his job. And Dave Wannstedt? De-pantsed regularly by the gunslinger. Lovie is 8-3 against Favre. As a die-hard Bears fan, that's worth its weight in gold.&nbsp; We can thank Lovie directly for limiting the broadcaster's story-line that Favre loves to play the Bears.&nbsp; Remember that?&nbsp; Favre loves playing the Bears.&nbsp;Now, the storyline is Lovie's success against Favre. Thank you Lovie!&nbsp;</p><p>Devin Hester may be the best Chicago Bear in modern history (<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-1115-bears-pompei-chicago--20101114,0,50346.column">Pompei has it right</a>). This guy is so sensational and so explosive that he makes the biggest plays on the football field every Sunday. He certainly did the heavy lifting for the Bears yesterday. Put it this way, if the Bears were like a college team that put Buckeyes on helmets for good plays, Hester would have them all over his helmet and down his back. And the question remains - why did the Vikings kick to him so much? Maybe it was a good thing that Hester seemed to be washed up as a kick returner earlier in the year. Teams think kicking to him may be better than kicking out of bounds. Something tells me that's about to change.</p><p>I&nbsp;don't coach. I&nbsp;know it seems like I&nbsp;do, but I'm just a casual observer. But if I&nbsp;were coaching the Vikings, I would run Adrian Peterson 40 times. Then throw to him 15 more. Childress deserves to be fired, just for not using purple Jesus enough. What was rookie Toby Gerhardt even on the field for?</p><p>And what was with color-commentator Moose Johnston's suit? Checkered, with a paisley tie?&nbsp;What, is he married/dating a model like Tom Brady is? Is this the new reality in the NFL? Clothes and hair?&nbsp;Ugh.</p><p>The NFL&nbsp;Network is running commercials for their first Thursday night football of the 2010 season.&nbsp;It's this Thursday's game and it's the Bears vs. Dolphins. In the commercial, they are going with the defense as the story-line for the Bears. They don't even mention Cutler's name. The network has spoken - the Bears are a defensive team.</p><p>Julius Peppers has 2 sacks. The debate has begun in the major sports media about whether or not we are getting our money's worth. So we have to ask the question: If the Bears D&nbsp;is back to a top 10 squad and we make the playoffs, do you care if Peppers got paid a ton with poor stats?&nbsp;</p><p>Paging Bernard. Bernard Berrian? If you are in the stadium, please report to the parking lot. Your bus is leaving. Could you imagine if we paid that guy millions to stay?</p><p>Possible problems on the horizon: The running game is very weak. If it's Forte or Taylor, they are both rushing for about 3 yards (max) a carry.&nbsp;And the only one who is having any success running the football is Cutler. This might be why the Bears offense has problems? Even though they ran the ball poorly, Jay Cutler bailed out the team with a tremendous third down conversion rate. When he doesn't do that, they struggle mightily. Most of those third down passes coming after he scrambled from the pocket and improvised with a receiver.</p><p>I mean really, wouldn't it be nice to hear the Joniak call that Forte was tackled by a linebacker, not a defensive lineman?&nbsp;</p><p>Okay, let's hand out some hardware:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Winners</strong>: Devin Hester, Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije</p><p><strong>Losers</strong>:&nbsp;Matt Forte, Chris Harris, Johnny Knox, Olin&nbsp;Kreutz, Robbie Gould and Mike Tice&nbsp;(just for once coaching the Vikings)</p></p> Mon, 15 Nov 2010 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/memo-minny-if-you-dont-want-adrian-peterson-well-take-him-your-hands-and-other-