Apologies for not posting anything about my beloveds and their Super Debacle earlier. And no, it was not because I was prostrate with grief or hospitalized for an attempted suicide.
For those who may not be aware, I work 3 days a week – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – from 10:00 PM - 6:00 AM at a convenience store. For just sitting around for 8 hours, I get an obscene amount of money. It really is offensive to me that someone is willing to pay me what some employees make in a 40 hour week just because they can’t find anyone else to work the graveyard shift on the weekends.
Be that as it may, it truly is an exhausting ritual to constantly change my bio rhythms in this fashion. And since I was beginning to feel like I was coming down with a cold, I took yesterday off and slept around 12 hours. The entire weekend, I think I managed around 9 hours of sleep so I hope I am forgiven my sloth.
As for the game, I thought my analysis of what would happen and what the Bears needed to do to win was on target. I still can’t believe the Bear’s defense went into a shell and failed to attack the Colts offense. But I predicted Hester would return one, that Wayne would probably catch a long one for a TD. I also predicted that Indy would score more field goals than touchdowns (4 FG attempts to 2 TD’s and that if the Bears corners played off the Indy wideouts, it would be a very long, depressing day.).
That last was the key to the game. By playing 5 yards or more off Harrison and Wayne, the Bears defenders were out of position when Manning began to toss flat passes to his backs. By the time a Bear defender showed up, the Indy backs were already 5 yards downfield. Manning nickled and dimed the Bears to death.
And anyone who puts the onus for this loss on Rex Grossman doesn’t know anything about football. Yes, Wonder Dog was bad. But I would also mention that he didn’t have a chance to show what he could do because the offense never had the damn ball! When the game was actually on his shoulders in the 4th quarter, it was almost like he wasn’t even warmed up. I thought he was reasonably accurate but suffered from the fact that there didn’t appear to be an offensive game plan. Or at least one that would have made a difference.
No team will win a Super Bowl if the defense gives up 400 yards. You can have the greatest quarterback in history and the Bears still would have lost because the defense played soft. The fact that this is exactly the same problem the Bears had last year in their playoff loss to Carolina makes me question the overall coaching in this game and whether they changed strategies as a result of the weather. It was almost as if the coaches were playing not to lose – a sure way to defeat. In any case, Lovie was outcoached by Dungy.
So my beloveds are now 1-1 in the Big Game. And, as I mentioned in my preview, I don’t think it will take another 21 years before the Bears make a return visit. Next year, Grossman will be better, Brown and Harris will most likely be back, and there will be lessons learned so that when they make a run at the brass ring again, they’ll at least realize what it takes to grab it.
With the potential loss of Lance Briggs to free agency, a huge hole could open up at outside linebacker. However, I think the Bears will slap a franchise tag on Briggs which will bring him back for another year but not at the kind of salary that he would get in free agency. And they will use the nearly $30 million they have available under the cap to improve. Perhaps acquire an outstanding offensive lineman via free agency or another impact player at D-back.
One thing is sure; Lovie Smith won’t let them fall back. And if they can stay reasonably healthy next year, the playoffs are almost a certainty even with their much tougher first place schedule. As Indy proved, you don’t need that first round playoff bye to win it all.
A disappointing loss to be sure. But it should make most of them hungry again next year. And this time in the Presidential election year of 2008 when the NFL crowns a brand new champ, I really believe that my beloveds have as good a chance or better to be on that podium accepting the Lombardi Trophy and being acknowledged as the league’s best.