If any words have the ability to stick in a packer fan’s craw, those would have to be among the top. You don’t own your place.
The Bears own your place.
And so it goes, as Smith improves his record to 5-2 against our lowborn northerly neighbors, including a loss in a meaningless game to end last year and a perfect 4-0 mark in the dairy air.
The feeble start by our guys prompted a three-word voice mail on my cell phone less than 15 minutes after kickoff. “WHAT THE FU@K!,” Duke exclaimed, before slamming down the receiver and undoubtedly heading back to the cabinet for more fortification. It sure was painful to watch, as The Billy and company racked up 341 yards of offense in the first two quarters alone. Eight yard cushions given to the receivers routinely spelled disaster when the pass rush couldn’t apply any pressure while having to sit on a packers running game that posted 102 yards before the break. Aaap, it looked like Dave Wannstedt had devised the defensive gameplan. If not for Charles Tillman making James Jones look like the reincarnation of Rashaan Salaam, ripping the ball out on successive passes to the receiver, this one might have been over before the first quarter ended.
But the constipated Bears had life, turning what might have been a 21-0 deficit into a 7-7 tie as Brian Griese settled in and directed an 82-yard drive to start the second quarter. Unfortunately the defense gave up another 144 yards on the packers’ next two possessions as the packers scored twice more, but the ten point deficit wound up being a lot more manageable than what might have been had Peanut not forced those two turnovers in Bears territory.
Lovie delivered the equivalent of a verbal enema at halftime, and the Bears’ collective bowels began to rumble. Taking the opening second half kickoff was Israel Idonije, who fell on the ball at the Bears 36 as cheddar kicker Mason Crosby continued to avoid Devin Hester like a cheese grater. Not including the packers squib kick to end the first half following the packers late field goal, the Bears averaged their own 35 to start drives after algae bay scores. They might as well have kicked it out of bounds if they were going to hand over field position like that.
Griese led the Bears to three on the opening drive, and the Bears were crowning. Poor tackling on the ensuing kickoff return put The Billy in business at the Bears 33 to start the packers half, but he could only manage 14 yards as the defense began to show signs of life. The locals answered the Bears field goal with one of their own, but that would be the last of their scoring.
The Bears were forced to punt on their next drive, pinning the stinkkäse at their own ten, and then The Billy fulfilled the Urlacher Prophesy. If you put pressure on The Billy he’ll throw it up for grabs goes the thinking, and that’s just what he did as he was flushed to his right and tried to unload. Urlacher reached back across his body and came up with a spectacular interception at the packer 19, and Griese found Greg Olsen pushing off in the endzone on the next play for seven. 20-17. The Bears clenched.
The Billy took the ball and went three and out and the Bears responded in kind, but I guess the packers didn’t want the ball when Brendon Ayanbadejo knocked it out and Brad Maynard fell on it, giving the Bears new life at the packer 41. Five plays later Robbie Gould nailed a 36-yard field goal to tie the game, and the Bears reached for the Charmin jumbo pack.
It was gut-check time, and The Washed-Up Veteran Quarterback responded by engineering vintage three-and-outs on his next three possessions, the last one giving the Bears the ball at their own 21 with 5:27 to play. On second down Griese again found Olsen pushing off, this time for a 27 yard gain out to the Bears 48, and you could hear the whining in Wisconsin from Lactose Intolerant’s Wadsworth basement. A Cedric Benson run for six was followed by another for no gain, setting up Adrian Peterson on the inside handoff for four and a first down that the packers challenged. Referee Larry Nemmers reviewed the play and correctly respotted the ball, but the result was still first and ten, Bears, when Nemmers split the atom and decided some thread of the pigskin had reached the line to gain. The blood pressure of Cheesehenge spiked as seismographs registered the collective slamming of shot glasses throughout the state.
Benson plowed for another seven and followed with another one down to the packer 35, and Mike McCarthy was forced to burn his second timeout as LI and I did the wind-y thing as the clock crept towards the Two-Minute Warning.
It was third and two when Ron Turner made his most brilliant play call of the season (realizing that’s not saying much). With the packers so-called defense forced to honor the run, Griese faked the handoff and found Desmond Clark heading up the field behind a secondary closing on the play-action, hitting the streaking Clark in stride for the only lead that mattered.
The Washed-Up Veteran Quarterback finally shook his three-and-out funk on the last-ditch drive that followed, but he ended it in fitting fashion, throwing a Hail Mary up for grabs that settled into the waiting arms of Brandon McGowan in the end zone. Dick Jauron’s favorite play ran out the final second and with that the Bears had squeezed out victory, depositing their trademark Steaming Hot Turd® on the midfield G for the fourth straight year.
And after the Illini knocked the stinking Badgers from the ranks of the unbeaten on Saturday, our state goes for the trifecta tonight when the Bulls open their preseason in LaCrosse against the Bucks.
Anybody know a bookie?