Those of us who wanted to enjoy some NFL football as we sat in anticipation of the Bears season opener last Sunday were forced to endure the Eagles’ visit to Curly’s Place to face the dreaded cheese. And wasn’t it humorous thinking about the raging local packer backers as Fox switched away from their game winning drive to give us . . . commercials!
During the string cheese pull the gang at my place noticed that the end zones, usually adorned with “green bay” on the north and “packers” on the south, were instead covered with a series of diagonal stripes. We did a little research, and it turns out that the guy who used to spell “green bay” and “packers” for the grounds crew died unexpectedly in a tavern accident the week before the game after mistaking the three-year-old solution in the empty jar used to hold the hard-boiled eggs for his carafe of schnapps. Unfortunately, a replacement couldn’t be located in time to do the traditional markings, so stripes were settled upon since they didn’t involve a trip to the library, all the way down in Madison. Funeral arrangements are pending.
How’s that for a wake up call? It’s frustrating, knowing that our guys had a real shot at victory during their mission to San Diego, only to fall short because they failed to protect the ball. That, and an allegedly misplaced guide wire for the overhead camera getting in the way of a punt, spelled doom. The Chargers say they saw the ball hit the wire, but Fox tells us it didn’t happen, and the NFL says there’s no conclusive evidence. Here’s a thought: show us the video shot from the overhead camera during that punt and let us decide when the camera starts rattling. Fat chance.
The rule says they would have replayed the down if the ball had come in contact with the wire, but there’s no use crying over what’s done. If only the Chargers thought the same thing about the game. The only bit of bravado heard out of either team prior to last Sunday was the Bears defense chirping about Tomlinson running them over in a Nike commercial. But just like Jimbo Covert used to do with that other LT, the Bears shut him down when it really counted, too. Following their embarrassing first round exit in last year’s playoffs the Bolts were understandably on their best behavior before kickoff. But afterward, they chose to treat the Bears like an annoying little dachshund yapping at their ankles, finally booting the dog to the curb with comments attributed to Ron Rivera about Grossman being a “mental midget” and other unattributed ones saying Cedric Benson took himself out of the Super Bowl and was “soft.” You know that verbal bitch-slap isn’t playing well at Halas Hall, and if anything should wind up taped inside every Bears’ helmet, that’s it.
Maybe the Chargers were right. Now that they’ve been called out by someone other than the evil media, maybe Benson and Grossman will stand up for themselves and try to do something about it. If not, don’t be surprised to see new starters at those positions by the bye.
That’s enough about last week. Burn The Skinny and get ready for the Chiefs. KC comes in with a new kicker after giving their opening day guy the boot after one game, and will be playing without starting defensive end Jared Allen, who is sitting out the first two games at the NFL’s invitation, and Eddie Kennison, nursing the sore hamstring he popped on the first play from scrimmage against the Texans last Sunday.
Even without Mike Browwwn and Dusty Dvoracek, the defense shouldn’t have a problem stopping Larry Johnson, who’s running behind a patchwork, aging offensive line that can no longer open road grader-sized holes, which leaves the heavy work to quarterback Damon Huard, who also directed his offense to a whopping three points last week and whose 53.6 rating last week almost matched Grossman’s.
As far as the offense goes, the post game beat-down suffered the past few days should be motivation enough. It would also help if Ron Turner can rediscover the imagination he showed in his first go around running the offense. Spreading the field early will make it a hell of a lot easier to convert 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) and two.
It’s been a long time since the raucous mosh pit of January 21st, when the Bears held the Halas trophy aloft as NFC champs, and if you want to see it for yourself now’s your chance. The trophy will be on display in the area behind gate 0 before the game, available for pictures, gawking and whatever else comes to mind while the rest of us are putting on our collective game faces outside. The crowd promises to be in full throat after a perfect afternoon of tailgates that have been painstakingly prepared, haphazardly thrown together or just plain dialed in.
Prepare to post colors.