Que Sarah, Sarah

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Unfinished Business

http://www.sportsandpopculturebank.com/teamjournals/sarahspainpage.html

This summer in training camp the 2007 Chicago Bears announced their
mantra for the upcoming season. It was simple, powerful and inspirational:
"Unfinished Business." After a disappointing Super Bowl loss,
Lovie Smith and the boys had one focus for the season—to get back to the
big show and, this time, to win it all. Perhaps the Bears looked too
far ahead. Maybe all the talk of a score to settle in the Championship
got them hyped up for a future that they'll likely never see. The
desire to get back on top is understandable, but the need to be present in
the now is essential.

Chicago hasn't won back-to-back games all season. Rarely has the team
come together and performed well on all fronts. The Bears couldn't
score against the Chargers but their D made LT look useless. The defense
was MIA in their first lost to the Lions, and they couldn't muster
more than a touchdown in the second loss. Griese and the offense kept
them in it against the Vikings but the defense practically rolled out a
Welcome mat in the end zone for Adrian Peterson. No part of this
year's Chicago Bears team is strong enough to win a game on its own, and
that's exactly why this team hasn't won many games. Sunday's contest
was another example of a team divided.

The Bears offense started off with a bang. Cedric Benson ran it for a
career-long 43 yard TD on just the second play of the game, making good
on a huge hole created by our offensive line. Benson's six-pack was
the Bears' first 1st quarter touchdown all year. A patient and
methodic Seahawks drive was nullified by an unlikely Josh Brown miss, and Rex lead the team down the field again. A Gould field goal put Chicago up 10-0 and things looked swell. Unfortunately, the Bears had to hand the
ball back over to Hasselbeck and the 'Hawks. Another patient drive
from Seattle, this time resulting in a DJ Hackett touchdown. For most of
the game, it appeared as though the Bears were running a sort of
"prevent" defense. They were willing to give up quick slant routes and short passes, hoping to keep the 'Hawks from making any big plays. While a 70
yard bomb'll kill ya quicker than a series of 7-10 yard gains, that
doesn't mean those gains won't kill ya just the same. This is the same
sort of game plan Chicago used in the Super Bowl...and we all know how
that story ends.

Midway through the 2nd the Seahawks struck again, this time with some
help from a Chicago special teams error. The Bears were forced to punt
from deep in their own territory, but managed to hold Nate Burleson to
just a 10 yard return. Unfortunately, Rod Wilson put a hit on Burleson
after he was well out of bounds, giving the Seahawks an extra 15 yards.
Wilson's stupid penalty allowed the Seahawks to start from the Bears
32 yard line and, in just 4 plays, Seattle took the lead on a Maurice
Morris rushing TD. Thankfully, the Bears offense showed up again on a 60
yard drive that ended with an Adrian Peterson touchdown. Grossman
looked great, going 6-for-6 to three different receivers. It was good to
see Greg Olsen get more looks this game, although I have yet to see the
blistering speed everyone that raved about in spring training. Thus far,
Olsen's used his size to make some great grabs, but I'd love to see him
make something happen after a catch every once in awhile. The game was
all tied up at the half, 17-17.

Chicago's special teams came out of the break and immediately gave up
another big play, allowing a 44 yard kickoff return by Burleson. Then
Burleson burned our D, too. Hasselbeck had time to eat a sandwich and
wash it down with lemonade before hitting Burleson in the end zone,
wedged between two defenders who seemed entirely uninterested in covering him. The Bears couldn't make anything happen on their next drive but
then Ogunleye stripped Hasselbeck and Urlacher (who looks a little like
a Viking Sea Captain with his red-tinted beard) collected the fumble.
That set up a huge play. 4th and 1 at the Seattle 25 and Benson
couldn't pick up the yard to keep the drive going. Lovie Smith has come under fire in the last few days for not giving Benson the ball enough after
that great first touchdown run, but until Ced can prove himself in
clutch situations like that 4th and 1, I don't blame Lovie for his
hesitance.

Early in the 4th Sexy Rexy and the offense got to the Seattle 29 to set
up another Gould field goal. 24-20 Seahawks. With the lead down to 4
points the Bears' defense came back onto the field and responded
by…giving up a 59 yard catch to Hackett on the first play of the nex
drive. Another Seattle field goal and the lead was back up to 7. With 8
minutes to play the Bears started the biggest drive of the game. First
Grossman hit Moose for a 22 yard gain on a great grab up the right
sideline. Next play, Grossman went to Berrian (who had 9 catches for 102
yards) for an even more spectacular one-handed catch for 23 yards. At the Seattle 42, with all the momentum on the Bears' side, Grossman tried to
scramble instead of throwing it away and got stripped. The Seahawks
recovered and the air was knocked complete out of the Bears' proverbial
sails. Grossman was 24 of 37 for 266 yards and no picks, but no play
was bigger than that fumble. Josh Brown hit another field goal for the
'Hawks on the other end and their 10 point lead was too much for the
Bears to make up.

The offense wasn't perfect, but it was penalties and poor play on
defense and special teams that lost this game for the Bears. Now sitting
in the NFC North cellar, topped by perennial ass-hats, the Lions, things
look dreary for last year's division champs. All that talk of
finishing what they started last year and instead the Bears have only given
themselves more unfinished business. The team is still mathematically
eligible for the playoffs, but it will take some luck if Chicago hopes to
play in January. Rather than focusing on early '08, let's hope the
Bears decide to take care of business next week first, 'cause you
can't finish something you never get to start.

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