Forget benching starters, Bears must win in Green Bay (and other observations from Bears v. Jets)
What a game. For a fan, it was nice to have a game that was out of character. Unfortunately, I missed it. I was celebrating a late Christmas with my in-laws in South Bend, Indiana. All week I was assured the Bears game would be on their CBS affiliate. But little did I know, the Colts (South Bend's other favorite team) were playing the late game and the antiquated NFL rules prohibited this market from showing both a 12pm and 3pm game (because the Giants/Packers were on Fox). So I sat down to watch a Messiah Christmas concert and informercial, followed by a Motorcross season preview.
I got by with a steady dose of texts (thanks, Tommy) and game breaks during the Lions/Dolphins game. Luckily, my brother took notes for me. So I introduce my guest blogger, without a computer:
Good points, all around. Here are some random observations I took from post-game re-runs and highlights:
- Maybe I was wrong, maybe the turf is a positive home field advantage for the Bears. Yesterday, the turf was subpar, but because of the bad footing, the Jets couldn't get a pass rush going. And because there was no pass rush, Cutler just threw the ball all over the field. If our offensive line can't block, maybe the Chicago Bears have let the field go in order to give max protection. Good conspiracy theory, eh?
- This time of year is ripe with scenarios: If the Eagles beat the Vikings, then the game against the Packers next Sunday will be a very important game. But the Bears have clinched, right? Well, if the Bears lose to the Packers and the Eagles beat up on the Cowboys, the Bears will not get the first round bye. No biggie, right? Well by my calculations, there would be a good chance that the Bears would have to come back down to Chicago and play the Packers in the first round of the playoffs. So losing to the Packers would, a) let the Packers into the playoffs, b) lose a first round bye and c) set up the first round rematch with the Pack at Soldier Field. We are now talking about the best road to the Super Bowl. This is not it.
- The Bears and Packers have not met in the playoffs in recent football history. They met one time in 1941. They both have appeared in the playoffs 25 times. It would be a great football weekend. Historic. And I don't want anything to do with it. To me, the 2010 Green Bay Packers may be the best of the bunch. They have been snakebit by several key injuries, but they are still playing at a very high level.
- I will say this - both sides have plenty to play for: to hurt the other team. I outlined how the Pack could hurt the Bears, but if the Bears go into Lambeau and beat the Pack, the Pack could be out of the playoffs. They could be leap-frogged by the Tampa Bay Bucs or the New York Giants.
- Rex Ryan and the Jets talk a huge game. But something tells me they will be out of the running early. This team's strength was supposed to be their high-paid secondary. Johnny Knox and Devin Hester looked like Swan and Stalworth yesterday. The Jets will have to go on the road to get to the Super Bowl. Let's hope they don't encounter inclement weather.
- Devin Hester for MVP.
- I was watching a "mic'd up" segment on Comcast Sports last night. They mic'd Israel Idonije and there wasn't much to listen to ("Let's go, baby! Yeah, baby!). But at the end, he was in the locker room and Lovie Smith came in for the locker room speech. In this short clip, Lovie had an energetic and intimidating presence. Nothing like his laid back, slow-talking press conferences. This was more like a motivator, a man talking to men. It was very out of character to what he projects when up on the podium. I want more of that Lovie.
- I watched several post-game shows, both locally and nationally last night. The national spotlight was on the Jets and how miserable they were for losing to the Bears. They are definitely the national media darlings right now. ESPN spent at least three minutes on the Jets and what happens next. At the end, one of the guys said "and the Bears, they are pretty good." Thanks for the analysis, jag. I get it, Ryan is a star in the league. But last I checked, the Chicago Bears were the No. 2 seed in the NFC and worthy of at least a few minutes of color-commentary.
- Did I read that Robbie Gould missed a field goal? Run him out of town.
- The Pro-Bowl announcement is this week. Let's see how many Bears will be selected to the game and then back out because it's meaningless. Really, we should be looking at who will be added to the Pro-Bowl roster. I select Corey Graham and Chris Harris.