“Somebody needs to tell the Bears this isn’t a preseason game.”
– Terry Bradshaw, NFL Fox Analyst, 3:30 PM today
At the risk of alienating my rabidly “Bear Down” family any further (please stop the bitter posts on my Facebook wall!), I must acknowledge the Bears miserable play in today’s NFC Championship Game. But I will not say I told you so.
The final score of the home advantage matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, 21-14, really doesn’t tell the story. If there are kudos to be handed around, they are reserved for the members of the Bears’ defense, who kept the tally board from reflecting the lopsided mess in play that really occurred. Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher had a particularly effective day. A solid golf clap is also owed to third string quarterback Caleb Hainie, who honestly got the Bears back in it when it seemed all but impossible.
Hainie’s surprisingly able play does not excuse the drastic mistakes in coaching that occurred, underscoring my season-long opinion that, division championship notwithstanding, it is time to show Lovie Smith the door. The inexplicable time-out call in the fourth quarter, on a huge fourth down and three yards? Also, by playing Hainie before the conclusion of the third quarter, benched alternatives Jay Cutler and Todd Collins lost their eligibility to return to the game. What if Hainie had been injured?
Not that we missed either one of the former sorry asses. I expected nothing from second stringer Todd Collins, and with two near picks in a matter of minutes, I was not disappointed. But you Jay Cutler – you. Everything Denver Bronco fans said is 100% accurate. You are a sissy, a quitter and a quintessential pouter. When you left the game shortly after a pathetic first half with the flimsy “knee” excuse, I wanted to call Jo the Super Nanny to slap the puss off your face before you sat for the rest of the game on the naughty bench. After two unbelievably lackluster seasons, I wonder if we were really not better off with Rex Grossman, the Bears’ 2007 Super Bowl QB. We had more money at least.
As a Chicago native, a passionate sports fan, and an adrenaline addict, I am deeply saddened by the Bears ejection from post season play, no matter what my critics may believe. In this case, if not others, I am terribly sorry to have played the Cassandra-like spoiler to the conclusion of the Bears’ idiosyncratic ascent.
But if I am being honest and gracious, the better team won. A couple less concussions for Rodgers and the standings in the NFC North may have looked very different. The Bears had the luckiest run of any organization this season. I will go to my grave saying it. I wish the Green Bay Packers well in two weeks. It may make today’s debacle sit easier if it was dealt by the hands of the Super Bowl champs.