Has a football game ever been over before one team had the football? Has a football team ever opened a season with 7 straight wins and 5 meaningless second halves? Did you ever...EVER...in your wildest dreams believe these would be your Chicago Bears? Your 2006 Chicago Bears...?
Believe it. Don't get caught up in the comparisons and the projections. There's a great line from the play GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS where Ricky Roma says, "Life is looking forward and it's looking back. Where is the moment?" The moment is here. Negativity can check its coat with the cute blonde broad in the tight black dress.
I've been writing all season about how Sundays feel now. The joy of seeing this team take the field. The enthusiasm seems to spill out of Brian Urlacher through the television set onto the bar at Josie Wood's. Brad said it great in his comments to the last post: "I was just sitting there giggling all first half. I like that they're good enough to make me giggle." They're good enough to make me giggle too. For three plus hours a week, they're good enough to make me forget everything else in the world.
Forget the 49-7 drubbings by the Niners in Week One and the 41-0 disasters in Tampa Bay. Forget that hopeless Monday morning walk to the bus, the car, the train...en route to a miserable day at work. Forget the excuses, the midweek "We're better than a 5 win team." Forget watching every other fan in the local sports joint filling the wooden walls with the bellowing blares of a war fought well.
Welcome to The New Monday. The Monday where you throw that orange wool hat on and stroll down Main Street with a hop in your step. The New Monday. Where the train ride brings a smile as you glare at the headline in the Trib or overhear the whispers on the bus, "Grossman is something else." The New Monday. Where you find yourself keeping the radio on at work just to hear someone say, "Man, this team is damn good." What's one more giggle? The New Monday. Brought to you by the Chicago Bears.
Nice, boys. More comments to come in the next couple days. 7-0. Can't beat it.
8 is here and I'm 51-46-3 on the year which is a cool five games over. The charge is comingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
First, go Rutgers.
CHICAGO BEARS -16.5 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
Why do I like the Bears this week? (There are a lot of reasons)
1. I always like the Bears.
2. The Bears are 3-0 at home and their average margin of victory is slightly over 30 points. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s insane.
3. San Fran started pretty well but in their last three they have lost by 41, beat the Raiders, lost by 29.
4. Heard an interview with Urlacher on NFL Network and he knew every statistic for the Denver Broncos defense. This defense was pissed off they lost the #1 rankings to Tampa Bay last year on the final week and they wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have another team steal the great defense headlines. They want a shutout on Sunday.
5. At this point in the season, Rex Grossman and Drew Brees are the most protected starting quarterbacks in the league, sacked six times each. Their combined records are 11-1. Seventeen quarterbacks have been sacked more than the two of them combined. The five quarterbacks sacked most: Kitna, Walter, Losman, Culpepper, Frye. Their combined records are 6-21. Tell me this league isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t all about the offensive line. The Bears have a good one.
CINCINNATI -4.5 OVER ATLANTA
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Chad Johnson and his two, two, TWO receptions for 20 plus against Deangelo Hall who manhandled Hines Ward for only 171 yards and 3 touchdowns last week. I am wetting myself already.
KANSAS CITY -6.5 OVER SEATTLE
Seneca Wallace was a shitty college quarterback. LikeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦really shitty. Really, really shitty.
BALTIMORE +2.5 OVER NEW ORLEANS
Would you be surprised if Ray Lewis had a mantra like Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re bringing the floodÃ¢â‚¬?? I mean, the guy murdered a human.
TAMPA BAY +8.5 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
When did Tiki Barber start thinking he was Bob fucking Woodward? Dude, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on Fox and Friends once a week. Was Cold Pizza all booked up?
PHILADELPHIA -6.5 OVER JACKSONVILLE
What happens to you when you become an Eagles fan that you have to act like an asshole all the time? Must be allÃ¢â‚¬Â¦those... SuperÃ¢â‚¬Â¦BowlÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ringsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
ST. LOUIS +9.5 OVER SAN DIEGO
The best way to prove youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not the best defense in football is to give up 40 points to a Herm Edwards team. Do you know how hard it is to do that?
INDIANAPOLIS +2.5 OVER DENVER
Stay sober through the Bears game, folks, because this is going to be a great one. Mike ShanahanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coaching this season has been hysterical. He gets a lead early and immediately starts killing clock. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s horrified by Jake Plummer and this week everyone will realize why.
PITTSBURGH +8.5 OVER OAKLAND
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care.
CAROLINA -5.5 OVER DALLAS
I heard this conversation from two Times Square maintenance men:
Guy 1: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t knowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Guy 2: You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what?
Guy 1: I sorta like this Romo.
NEW ENGLAND -2.5 OVER MINNESOTA
The touchdown pass to Rash Davis in Minnesota will be remembered as the most important play of the Bears regular season. The Vikings can play defense. Still not picking them (would love to have them three back).
ARIZONA +3.5 OVER GREEN BAY
God, the Packers are irrelevant. It is wonderful
I have no comments on the following games.
HOUSTON +3.5 OVER TENNESSEE
NEW YORK JETS +1.5 OVER CLEVELAND
See ya'll back here Sunday night at 7-0.
I was nervous Monday night against Arizona. It was like my kid (I don't have a kid) had been putting on this terrific show in our living room for five weeks and now he was going to go on stage at Lincoln Center. He got up on stage and peed himself.
Sunday I'll be a different nervous because Sunday is the third major test for little Rex Grossman. Test One was opening day at Lambeau coming off a preseason of jeers from the Bears faithful. Test Two was in Minnesota. After seemingly throwing the game away on a mindless pass at his goal line, Grossman rallied the boys and throw a touchdown strike to Rash Davis to win the game. Test Three is Sunday.
Grossman has never played a game that poorly and (according to the stats) neither has any other quarterback. It was an all-time blowjob performance. I like how he's handled it in the media and laughing through it on Sunday Countdown but now we'll see if he's got the nuts to go out in front of the home fans and show us all he's the man for this job. A terrible performance on Sunday WILL erase the memory of the first five weeks, as fair or unfair as that may be. This defense is too good to throw away on turnovers.
Rex does not need to be NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He doesn't need to be perfect. He needs to play smart, throw the football away...make good decisions.
Because Test Four is the post-season and he doesn't get to take that test playing the way he played Monday night. No sir. It's on 8 now. And I'm nervous.
If you're Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears, these two games make or break your season. Why? Three reasons...
1. Two wins put you at 8-0. There isn't another team in the conference with less than two losses at this point. Either the Giants or Cowboys will have three losses after tonight. The Panthers have Dallas next week. Seattle has no Hasselbeck for a month. This conference is now theirs for the taking. You take it by winning the games you are supposed to.
2. This team needs to build some offensive momentum for the coming road trip. Ronny Turner and Grossman need to solve the problems from Arizona immediately. They'll be able to get away with mistakes at home against Alex Smith and Joey Harrington but not on the road and not in difficult places like the Meadowlands and Foxboro.
3. Todd Johnson is now auditioning for the lead in Chicago. Play hard and hit some people, Todd. The best offense on the schedule is three weeks away.
Anybody got anything else?
Just a fantastic day to sit home and survey the rest of the league. Here's a quick note on all those teams that aren't the Chicago Bears.
HOUSTON 27, JACKSONVILLE 7
Jacksonville had one sack. One. Gary Kubiak is the best thing that ever happened to David Carr.
CINCINNATI 17, CAROLINA 14
4th and 1, midway through the fourth quarter. Carson throws a bomb down the sideline and Chad Johnson makes a catch that will be remembered for saving the Bengals season.
NEW ENGLAND 28, BUFFALO 6
If you're a Bears fan this game made you sick. A Dick Jauron offense throwing NOTHING but dink and dunk passes out in the flat.
ATLANTA 41, PITTSBURGH 38
When did they move Arena League games to Sunday?
TAMPA BAY 23, PHILADELPHIA 21
I like when Philly loses and I like when Gruden wins. So okay...great fucking game. But don't forget I told you this: Gradkowski is Diet Orton.
NEW YORK JETS 31, DETROIT 24
At one point the four-wide set for the Lions was Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, Devale Ellis and Az-Zahir Hakim. Think about that.
GREEN BAY 34, MIAMI 24
I miss Joey Harrington twice a year. I really do.
KANSAS CITY 30, SAN DIEGO 27
Guess those steroids couldn't stop Larry Johnson, Shawne. By the way, really impressive win for Herm Edwards.
DENVER 17, CLEVELAND 7
Two things are clear: it is Denver vs. Chicago for the best defense in football. And it is Elvis Dumervil vs. Mark Anderson for defensive rookie of the year.
MINNESOTA 31, SEATTLE 13
If Matt Hasselbeck is seriously injured, the Seahawks will not make the playoffs. The Vikings have now beaten the 'Hawks and the Panthers. This team might get in.
OAKLAND 22, ARIZONA 9
"The Raiders are who we thought they were!"
INDIANAPOLIS 36, WASHINGTON 22
Their defense may be shaky but that is still the best offense in this league by a long shot...and Vinatieri is going to make a difference in January.
ALSO...it has been broken on NBC tonight that the Bears v. Giants game is getting moved to Sunday night. Primetime, baby, primetime. Let's be 8-0 heading into my neighborhood.
Ditka just introduced Grossman on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown as the "biggest thing to happen to Chicago since Ditka's pot roast nachos."
So I went to Ditka's restaurant home page and sure enough I found this:
Pot Roast Nachos
Corn tortillas, our own pot roast, sour cream, jalapenos,
tomatoes, scallions and cheddar-jack cheese....$9.99
It's things like this that make me want to move to Chicago and marry a fat broad.
Saw Brian Griese in the booth for Michigan/Iowa today. He's not thinking about Chicago Bears football and neither am I. Here are my thoughts on the rest of the world.
Someone needs to write an essay for the New Yorker titled Umbrellaquette: How to Conduct Yourself with an Umbrella in New York City (ya fucking assholes)
Dane Cook is to comedians what Weezer is to rock bands. He was fun a few years ago but now he's strictly for 12 to 14 year-old girls.
If Rutgers wins next weekend, I'm going to be more fired up for their Thursday night battle with Louisville the following week than I've ever been for a college football game. Go Knights.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is a terrific show but come on...The West Wing might be one of the three or four best shows in television history.
Read Mike Lupica's column on Aaron Heilman and the Mets Game 7 loss and you'll understand why I STILL think he's the finest sports columnist in the country.
This is the Robert Goulet gift shop.
If you like Roddy Piper and racist things, you'll love this.
Well that's enough for me right now. Going to watch the games tomorrow and root against the Vikings...and the Panthers (they scare me).
6-7 last week. 44-40-3 on the year. Still beating every expert on CBS Sportsline and Mr. Sports Guy. I haven't been good recently but I haven't lost any money yet either. This week we analyze football a bit differently.
PITTSBURGH -2.5 OVER ATLANTA
Here's a tricky one. A steeler versus a falcon. Figure the steeler has been working in the mine all day, he might just not be ready for the attack from a swopping bird. Give the falcons a couple early shots but ultimately the fire in the steeler wins out.
BUFFALO +5.5 OVER NEW ENGLAND
I don't care how much you love your country. You go head-to-head with a buffalo and you're fucked.
CAROLINA +3.5 OVER CINCINNATI
Great matchup. A panther versus a bengal tiger. Vegas set this line correctly. The tiger is definitely a little more than a fieldgoal favorite but I think the panther has more stamina and a little more speed where it counts. This will play out like a bad boxing match...a lot of moving and very few attacks...someone will need to land a big blow.
HOUSTON +9.5 OVER JACKSONVILLE
Wow. A jaguar versus a guy from Texas. Here is clearly the battle of the week. I think the guy is going to put up a damn courageous fight and he's going to need to get close...but there's no way the jaguar loses.
SAN DIEGO -5.5 OVER KANSAS CITY
Mismatch alert! A bolt of lightning versus an Indian. Tonto ain't got a shot.
GREEN BAY +3.5 OVER MIAMI
I can't think of a single thing a dolphin can defeat in a physical battle...not even one who packs.
NEW YORK JETS -3.5 OVER DETROIT
Easily the funniest fight of the week but I'm pretty sure an airplane can beat a lion.
TAMPA BAY +5 OVER PHILADELPHIA
This one was trickier than I thought it'd be but ultimately I like a pirate's wherewithal. It'll be a long fight (overtime maybe?) but I can't see the eagle mounting a steady enough attack. Plus, you'd think the pirate's parrot would be quite helpful in a fight like this.
DENVER -5 OVER CLEVELAND
I like the horse more than the color (and other things I said when I was 3 years old).
WASHINGTON +9.5 OVER INDIANAPOLIS
If there's one thing an Indian can hold his own against, it's a horse. Not sure he takes it out too easily - especially if its wild - but I know he stays in the battle.
ARIZONA -2.5 OVER OAKLAND
Upset of the week! There's always an upset game and I really like the cardinal here. The raider would clearly think he had this one in the bag until the cardinal swarmed his head in a series of confusing patterns, causing dizziness and ultimately unconsciousness.
MINNESOTA +6.5 OVER SEATTLE
Tough call for me. The hawk is home so this battle will be out of shit but near the water. I like the viking's drive; they are supreme men of will. The hawk - like most birds in these fights - will strike early but I like the viking to get a good club shot in late and put the hawks belly up in the pond.
DALLAS -3.5 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
You tell me but this has all the makings of a biblical battle. I just like the cowboy's ability to use his lasso and bring down the giant. Once the giant is down, he goes to the six-shooter.
If this works, expect more of the same in the coming weeks. (Bears rarely lose these)
If the Chicago media actually wants me to get worked up about this 1985 thing, they are fools. (1) They created it, not me. (2) I love that 85 team but, to be honest, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m over them. (3) How do the Ã¢â‚¬â„¢05 Steelers compare to Ã¢â‚¬â„¢78? Oh, they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care. Neither do I.
Right now the Bears are putting the special in special teams and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m happy to shine the spotlight.
Let me try to put what he's doing into perspective. Right now he has 200 more punt return yards than the next highest guy (and 206 more than Reggie Bush). There have been only five punt return TDs and he has 2Ã¢â‚¬Â¦both on the road. He is on pace to shatter the record for punt return yards in a season. Someone tell me how we get this guy into Rookie of the Year conversations.
Yes, he hasn't missed putting a ball through the uprights this season. But Monday night, something went under the radar. After the Mike Brown touchdown, his kickoff went to the goal line. After the Charles Tillman touchdown, his kickoff went to the Arizona 3. After the Devin Hester touchdown, his kickoff went to the Arizona 8. Might not seem like much but his consistency is what has been lacking from the Bears kicking game through the Edinger era.
His first punt wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t very good (38 yards) and I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happy when it happened. How good was he the rest of the game? He ended up with six punts averaging 49.8 a kick. Next five kicks: 52, 52, 49, 54, 54.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a reason a team only scores two touchdowns off six turnovers. One is a resilient defense. The other is the three guys above.
Alright, my fearless readersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦your turn. Talk about a player that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t gotten the credit they deserve through six games.
Sometimes I think we forget this is sports. I know Jay Mariotti has forgotten it because today was not the day to be writing about Rex Grossman's inefficiency or why these aren't the '85 Bears. No. Last night was about something else...
How much fun is it to love a sports team? To go from deflated to exhilarated on the flip of a coin. To be surrounded by a dozen other fans and leap and scream and rally behind 53 guys you've never met and probably would never want to. Tha's what last night was about. It was amazing.
I don't care about the 85 Bears. I don't care about the Super Bowl. I care about the 6-0 Chicago Bears. The 2006 Chicago Bears. They are writing their own legend.
I'm never going to forget last night. Maybe ever. Check your pessimism at the door. This is sports, kids. And last night's what it's all about.
Oh my god....we did it.....
WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am having a flashback. . . its to our last monday night game. . . maybe im bein melodramatic but i hate life right now. please god do something in the seconf half
For those of you who don't know, I work in the theatre and I just listened to a terrible man explain the end of the Saints/Eagles game to another terrible man. This wouldn't be so bad if either of them knew a goddamn thing about football and Terrible Man 1 didn't preface his comments with "I am not much of a sports fan." He was talking about patterns and designs and God knows what the fuck else...ugh...
8 hours till game time. Anybody else think the Bears are going to come out firing tonight? I do. Big time.
I spent the whole day wearing this Bears sweatshirt I like and watching everybody else's football teams play. I have some thoughts on those teams today. First thought, fuck this Monday night garbage.
There is no team I have less confidence in to erase a two touchdown deficit than the Atlanta Falcons. The reason why? Mike Vick is like a mighty gazelle when he's shredding defenses with his legs. When he throws, he's like one of those zoo arangutans that throws its shit at you.
If one more Raiders skill player puts their hand up to be taken out after an 8 yard gain, I'm going to vomit in my mouth.
Some fan website rock. Like ours. The people in Tennesse who started that one about firing Jeff Fisher should be burnt at the stake. He deserves a contract extension for how hard that team plays every single week.
Is Travis Henry fucking kidding me?
You know who stinks? Every player on the Houston Texans.
...and Eli Manning.
Hey Bears fans...Carolina is coming to Chicago in January. And Steve Smith is still really good.
T.O. is the most gifted receiver in the game. Torry Holt is the best.
Detroit tried to lose today. They really did.
San Diego and Denver are going to have two slugfests this year but Denver won't win either unless they either trust or bench Jake Plummer.
The real Chiefs defense just stood up.
Final note for the day and it's a good one. NICK SABAN SUCKS and I bet he's pretty bitter these days. Two reasons. One, he could be coaching the most talented group of defensive players in football but he chose not to. Second, he could have Drew Brees as his starting quarterback and he decided against it. This guy might be the best Xs and Os coach in the history of the sport, but he makes worse decisions than me drunk in a bar full of fat chicks.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a disgrace right now picking games. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not giving it the attention necessary because these fucking Bears make me too happy. But even after a 5-8-1 disaster IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m 38-33-3 on the season. 5 over. Still better than every guy on CBS Sportsline and that so-called Sports Guy and rememberÃ¢â‚¬Â¦they are PAID to do this. But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m rebounding like Rodman on crank this week.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve thought about these games a lot. That being said...HELLO 2-11.
DA BEARS -10.5 OVER ARIZONA
Why do I like the Bears this week?
1. I always like the Bears.
2. There isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a bigger mismatch in football this week than the Cardinal offensive line versus the Bears defensive line. (And thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way I play Wale this week. With the bye coming, you can give him three good weeks to rest for the stretch of the season.)
3. I think Leinart and company will need to focus on the short drop, intermediate passing game and that could result in a lot of rushed passes getting knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
4. I'm starting to root for Mark Anderson to get sacks. He gets another one Monday night.
5. GrossmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s line: 27-34, 317 yards, 2 touchdowns (first 300 yard game)
ATLANTA -3 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
These are two quarterbacks basically dying to throw stupid passes to defenders. Pressure is the key and I think Atlanta will find ways to bring it more consistently.
CAROLINA +3 OVER BALTIMORE
You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mix words: Steve McNair sucks. His arm looks tired and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re five weeks into the season. I had this team in the Super Bowl but McNair proved Monday night just how valuable Trent Dilfer was.
HOUSTON +12.5 OVER DALLAS
You know why? The Dallas secondary is putrid and Roy Williams can hit as hard as he wantsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦once the ball is in the air, he runs around like heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s being chased by a bee. No matter what kind of lead Dallas has, Houston and David Carr will fight back in it.
DETROIT +1 OVER BUFFALO
If a guy from Jersey keeps picking the Lions and they never cover, is he a fucking moron? Listen, even the bad teams usually win 4 games. The Lions have to win one eventually.
NEW ORLEANS +3 OVER PHILADELPHIA
Reggie Bush leads the league in catches! Seriously, there canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a more mindless fucking stat for a running back. He catches balls before anyone tries to cover him. It requires very little ability. I like very much as a player but can folks get off his knob until he DOES something Devin Hester didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do five weeks ago.
SEATTLE -3.5 OVER ST. LOUIS
Remember when Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks blew out the Giants and everyone was saying, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This team is going back to the Super Bowl.Ã¢â‚¬? TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve only played one game since then and now suddenly theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to finish second in the NFC West. Seattle will have this game in the bank by the start of the fourth quarter.
CINCINNATI -6 OVER TAMPA BAY
One of those games where I just think one team is light years better than the other. Coming off the bye week, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way they lose.
WASHINGTON -10 OVER TENNESSEE
I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect the Skins offense to go into the tank last week but they did. Gregg Williams will put ten in the box if he has to in order to stop the run and force Vince Young to make throws. Note to the NFL: Vince Young canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t throw.
NEW YORK JETS -2.5 OVER MIAMI
I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t find any reason to like either team (or watch this game). HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s my theory: Joey Harrington stinks on the road. And the road in Jersey is particularly tough. Jets win with a late field goal.
PITTSBURGH -7 OVER KANSAS CITY
If I hear one more idiot on television tell me about backs against walls, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll puke. Does the NFL give out a handbook of phrases on this shit at the beginning of every week? Steelers will win this game because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re home and because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re better than Damon Huard is at football.
SAN DIEGO -10 OVER SAN FRANCISCO
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something about this game that scares me: the Chargers. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t trust them, especially coming off a huge win Sunday night. But if this team is really as good as people sayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll win a 30-10 type game.
DENVER -15 OVER OAKLAND
If Jake Plummer would just stop playing like a fucking idiot, this team would go to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll keep winning in spite of him and Mike Shanahan will fight with every fiber in his oat bran the desire to put Jay Cutler out there for a test run.
A few days off for me from the site as IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be playing in my brotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s poker event to benefit the Autism Society of America out in Jersey Saturday and coming off the hangover Sunday. Good guy. Good cause. Enjoy the weekend.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll see yaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll back here late Monday night at 6-0.
Ricky Manning Jr. will be visiting NFL Headquarters next week to defend himself in an attempt to avoid a possible suspension from the league regarding his behavior in a Los Angeles area Denny's.
DaBearsBlog.com would like to now, as always, extend our full support for the NFL's best Manning and make it quite clear that we believe nerds on laptops at Denny's at 3 in the morning deserve what they have coming to them.
Let us not forget that Ray Lewis was never suspended for murdering someone. Leonard Little killed a woman driving drunk and then got arrested for driving drunk like a day later. What'd he get, a game? Koren Robinson is still playing. Mike Green was never suspended for being an asshole. (I know, I know...)
Ricky, if you need me next week, call me up. I'm right around the corner from the league office. I'm here for you, Rick. I'm here...for you.
Picks coming late tonight. I've been a disaster the past few weeks and I'm preparing the comeback tour.
You can talk about the bomb passes to Bernard Berrian and big time Ricky Manning interceptions. I leave that to Mulligan in the Suntimes. Here are my five plays...five essential plays that have led to the Chicago Bears' brilliant start to this season.
#5 URLACHER CAN COVER YOU, WEIRD NAME TIGHT END
Seattle drives the field with ease and Bears fans everywhere are thinking, "Oh shit, maybe they're not that good." No score in the first quarter and the Hawks have first and goal at the Bears seven. Incomplete, poor run...and then Brian Urlacher mauls a seemingly open Itula Mili and prevents a touchdown by knocking it down. The Bears fed off the momentum of that playfor the rest of the game.
#4 NOT THIS TEAM, YOU OLD PIECE OF SHIT
Green Bay, Wisconsin. Week One. Leading 7-0 with a chance of putting the Packers in a huge hole, Grossman throws a silly thing for an INT in the endzone. Normally this leads to a Favre 80 yard touchdown pass but on 3rd and 3 of the very next drive, Lance Briggs shot through the line of scrimmage and sacked the has-been QB.
#3 THE GOULD STANDARD
Coming off the only other terrible Grossman pass of the year, the Bears set up Robbie Gould for a 49 yarder that would have far surpassed the longest of his career. He nailed it and moved the score to 13-12. More importantly, he re-invigorated a somewhat deflated defense.
#2 THE PASS BEFORE THE PASS
Grossman's defining moment may have been the Rash Davis TD pass to put the Vikings away in the Metrodome but the more impressive THROW was just two earlier: an 11 yard strike to Moose on 3rd and 8 to set up the touchdown pass. It was the moment where I first thought, "Man, this kid is something else."
#1 REX: BEFORE AND AFTER
Leading Detroit 24-7 in the third quarter, Grossman throws a ball into the arms of Boss Bailey who walks into the endzone. The score is 24-14...BUT WAIT! THERE'S A FLAG ON THE PLAY! The Bears keep the ball and an angry Rex throws for 63 yards on the ensuing drive including a five yard TD to John Gilmore. 24-14 became 31-7 in a matter of minutes.
And they are 5-0.
(Author's note: I wrote a Bears thing at midnight last night so you can check it out below. This is a pressing matter.)
If you turned on HBO last night to watch Bears highlights on Inside the NFL, you got fingerbanged. There were three tiny clips, each accompanied by stirring commentary from Drew Rosenhaus.
That's right, the Bears, arguably the league's best team, didn't warrant a minute of coverage on the "longest running show on cable television." Instead we were the sidebar to Giants/Redskins coverage, as Rosenhaus checked in with his clients: Thomas Jones, Willis McGahee, Lance Briggs (the last a particular thorn in our sides).
HBO and the entire Inside crew should be fucking ashamed of themselves. They have decapitated one of the truly pure sports programs, leaving it a brainless collection of bullshit sentimentalism and star fucking. I DON'T CARE THAT TAMBA HALI GOT TO SEE HIS MOM AGAIN! I DON'T FUCKING CARE WHERE DREW ROSENHAUS WATCHES GAMES!
I watch Inside the NFL to see highlights of the National Football League. I watch Inside the NFL to hear game sounds and see locker room speeches that no one else covers. Without NFL Primetime in existence any longer, Inside the NFL should take it upon themselves to carry the flag. How can they justify full coverage of the goddamn 49ers / Raiders game with an extensive Mike Nolan interview while leaving off Matt Leinart's first NFL start and the best team in the league.
This is tragic. And it's another reason that I'm not going to care when NFL Network becomes the one-headed monster its destined to become. At least that channel cares about the fucking game.
by Phil Simms
special to DaBearsBlog.com
Jeff would like to apologize to Mr. Simms for insinuating in not so vague terms that he has been raping his son Christopher after Tampa Bay Bucs losses. We have learned through sources close to the situation that Mr. Simms has, in fact, never raped Christopher.
I had a chance Sunday to witness the Chicago Bears' 40-7 win over Buffalo -- not on TV, not on tape, but in person. I'm a man of many words, but I think I can put this very simply: They are really, really good.
We're only five games into the season -- still very early -- but the Bears look to have the physical makeup, mental makeup and team chemistry in place. They have it all. They have a town that is on fire over their Bears. Chicago fans can sense it, and they come to the game with a bounce in their step. The noise level and their participation in the game is big.
The Bears have it all -- size, speed and depth. The one thing that caught me by surprise is that they are a big team. Of course, everybody has big offensive and defensive linemen, but they've got big players in the offensive and defensive backfields as well. Cedric Benson may be a backup to Thomas Jones, but he's a big back and that's valuable. The fringe players have good size.
Everything seems to be clicking for Rex Grossman and the Bears. There's a coach I used to play for -- I won't name any names, but he's working in Dallas these days -- who used to talk about something called "division from within." Well, the Bears have none.
They do not have one player on that team looking for the spotlight, looking to be singled out for his great play. And that just makes for a really positive working environment. That's what I mean about team chemistry. They have the right guys leading that team.
On defense, linebacker Brian Urlacher is a physical and emotional leader. He's a leader on the field and he also keeps things light in the locker room. Players gravitate toward him. On offense, the leader is center Olin Kreutz. It is always good to have a dominant player and personality on the offensive line -- especially at center -- and Kreutz is that player.
I'm not sure if I'm willing to go as far as ESPN's Joe Theismann did earlier this week when he said the Bears would go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl. But I will say this: The Bears are one of the few teams I've seen in quite a few years that can have breaks go against them, be emotionally out of it, play not even close to an "A" game, and they're still going to win. For a team to beat the Bears this year, it will have to play its best and get a few breaks along the way.
I think about it sometimes, I have to admit. Sitting there at Josie Wood's Pub and looking up at the scoreboard...I slip up and I think about it.
I think about it when I see Rex Grossman throw sixty-yard bombs to Bernard Berrian against one of the best secondaries in the National Football League and erasing the memory of the last guy to wear #8.
I think about it when a Jerry Angelo conceived defensive line puts on a show while two of its four starters are out against the league's leading rusher. We've been told such depth was impossible in today's NFL, weren't we?
I think about it when I see a defensive unit get angry after blowing a shutout in a forty point blowout.
I think about it every time I see Robbie Gould's right foot touch the football.
I think about it whenever 54 is on screen. I think about it even more when 55 is standing by his side.
I think about it with every additional second the offensive line gives Rex to chuck the football.
But more than anything else...I think about because deep down in the honest places I try to avoid in my every day life...in those places where I keep my love for the movie COCKTAIL and a lot of Meatloaf songs...I hope there aren't any Dennys in Miami...
Because Ricky Manning Jr. is coming. And he's bringing the 2006 Chicago Bears with him.
And beat the shit out of the Buffalo Bills. If we did something wrong, I didn't see it.
Here's to the offensive line...
John St. Clair
Well done, boys.
I'll see ya'll back here tomorrow night....
ANDERSON AYANBADEJO BENSON BERRIAN BOONE BRADLEY BRIGGS BROWN BROWN BROWN CLARK DAVIS GAGE GARAY GARZA GILMORE GOULD GRIESE GROSSMAN HARRIS HARRIS HESTER HILLENMEYER IDONIJE JOE JOHNSON JOHNSON JONES KREUTZ MANNELLY MANNING MANNING JR MAYNARD MCKIE METCALF MILLER MUHAMMAD OAKLEY OGUNLEYE ORTON PETERSON REID RUNNELS SCOTT ST CLAIR TAIT TILLMAN URLACHER VASHER WESLEY WILSON WORRELL
Don Pierson writes in the Tribune today that Rex Grossman is the MVP of the league. He's right. He's absolutely right. But he's leaving out a really important point in his column (which I've linked below).
The other twenty-one players on the starting football field for the Chicago Bears are the same, with the exception of newly appointed starter Danieal Manning and replacement guard Roberto Garza.
You saw these 21 guys play a year ago.
You see those 21 guys play this year.
In a sports world where value seems impossible to define, Grossman has eliminated the need for a dictionary. He has elevated the Bears from good football team to Super Bowl contender and he's done so with his presence and his arm.
Grossman has made the receivers better, establishing Bernard Berrian as the most consistent deep threat in the NFL.
Grossman has made the offensive line better, releasing so quickly that sacks become a near impossibility.
Grossman has made the kicker better, moving the ball with such efficiency that Robbie Gould rarely finds himself kicking beyond 42 or 43 yards.
Grossman has made the defense better, giving them long fields to work with and allowing them to play without the fear that "one mistake will lose the game."
Grossman has made Ron Turner, a coach who couldn't purchase a win for the University of Illinois, the front runner for Assistant Coach of the Year.
Rex Grossman is the most valuable player in the National Football League right now. He's also the quarterback of the Chicago Bears. And if reading those two sentences in succession doesn't make you smile, you're on the wrong fucking website.
They have a 27-6 lead against the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks late in the third quarter. The game is over. Chicago knows it. Seattle knows it. So what do the Bears do? They DON'T put the ball on the ground and wait for the clock to read zero. Ronny calls it and Rex launches a forty-yard touchdown strike to Bernie B. That's called the killer instinct. That's called closing. Phil Simms calls this offense greedy, which is a far cry from what they have been the last decade...shitty. Every time this offense hits the field, I believe they can score. Shane Matthews never instilled that kind of confidence.
Now the picks and my apologies for a pathetic 6-8 last week. Still a respectable 33-25-2 on the year so don't count me out just yet.
DA BEARS -11 OVER BUFFALO
Why do I like the Bears this week?
1. I always like the Bears.
2. I actually don't like this line but I can see the Bears d-line having their way with an overmatched Bills o-line.
3. They may be in the midst of establishing the best current homefield advantage in the NFL.
4. Lovie doesn't let this team believe their hype. They play hard and they play fast.
5. Grossman's line: 21-31, 219 yards, 2 touchdowns
INDIANAPOLIS -18.5 OVER TENNESSEE
Right now if I could have Vince Young or Kordell Stewart, I'd choose death.
WASHINGTON +4.5 OVER NEW YORK GIANTS
Mark Brunell's good. He's always been good. If Mike Vick could throw the ball half as well as Brunell, he wouldn't be fucking terrible.
DETROIT +6.5 OVER MINNESOTA
If Detroit can win this game, the Bears magic number is like 3 or something.
TAMPA BAY +7.5 OVER NEW ORLEANS
If Tampa wins, Jon Gruden is my coach of the year.
ST. LOUIS -3 OVER GREEN BAY
St. Louis has to see this as a must-win. A win moves them to 4-1 and puts them in a tie with Seattle for the division. A loss would be like fucking a hot chick and then realize "her" boner is jabbing you in the stomach.
MIAMI +10.5 OVER NEW ENGLAND
The Dolphins are complete shit. The Patriots are terrific. I don't care.
CAROLINA -9 OVER CLEVELAND
Cleveland is an underrated city. The Blind Pig pub in the Warehouse District is one of my twenty favorite bars in America.
NEW YORK JETS +7 OVER JACKSONVILLE
The Jets are the most fun team to watch in football right now.
KANSAS CITY -4 OVER ARIZONA
Arizona's offensive line is worse than my diet.
SAN FRANCISCO -3.5 OVER OAKLAND
Know what you don't see anymore? Black people wearing Raiders stuff. Black people...
DALLAS +2 OVER PHILADELPHIA
Wins over San Fran, Houston and Green Bay is enough for me. Philly is amazing.
PITTSBURGH +3 OVER SAN DIEGO
What's the all-time record for carries in a game? It might be broken.
DENVER -3 OVER BALTIMORE
Rare football analysis: both these teams will fail to move the ball until the defenses are tired in the fourth quarter. Shockingly, I think Jake Plummer makes the big play...not Steve McNair. I'll shoot myself now.
Here's the comparison...we'll get it out of the way:
38-28 over Tampa Bay at home
20-7 over New England at home
33-24 over Minnesota on the road
45-10 over Washington at home
26-0 over Green Bay on the road
34-7 over Detroit at home
19-16 over Minnesota on the road
37-6 over Seattle at home
But that 85 team was not defined by its four-game start. It's defined by it's three-game ending.
Super Bowl XX
So let's maintain our excitement but keep our heads. This is a quarter of the season and ultimately the least important quarter of the season. The next four games are four games this team will win if they are as good as we think they are.
This may be the greatest four game start in the storied history of the Chicago Bears and it continues Sunday. It continues at Soldier Field against the Buffalo Bills. It continues in front of the thousands of fans who've waited twenty-one years to believe again.
I believe. But for anyone who bleeds navy and orange to compare this team to the 85 team seems ridiculous to me. They are the icons. They are the perfect team. It is the 85 Bears and everyone else.
I believe that can change. But that faith and a buck fifty will get me a ride on the PATH train to Jersey.
I shall do nothing but read what people have to say about the team I've loved my whole life. Because for the first time since they won the game to prove, I actually believe the Chicago Bears are the best team in the National Football League.
A couple more thoughts on this team:
Bernard Berrian is the most serious deep threat in Chicago since Willie Gault.
Alex Brown did a hell of a job against Walter Jones last night but Mark Anderson had another brilliant game. The guy has 3.5 sacks already. Not bad, Jerry Angelo, not bad at all.
Thomas Jones is starting to play like Thomas Jones again.
Tommie Harris is not only the best player on the Chicago Bears. He may be one of the five best players in the league.
Robbie Gould is money. Flat-out money. As a matter of fact, I want to have sexual relations with Robbie Gould.
I laid a challenge to Charles "Peanut" Tillman. And you answered it...Ricky Manning, Jr.
No doubt about it...Rex Grossman is the MVP right now.