Everyone wants to pit Jay Cutler against Tom Brady when previewing this Sunday’s matchup between the Bears and Patriots. Here’s the problem – they won’t be on the field against each other. You want to look at a key matchup? How about a couple of former Players of the Year? For me, the matchup to focus on will be the Bears’ Brian Urlacher and the Patriots’ Tom Brady.
The last time the Bears went to the Super Bowl was in 2006. That year, they played the New England Patriots too. One of the plays I’ll never forget (for a bad reason) was Tom Brady juking Brian Urlacher out of his jock. Here is the only video clip I could find of the play:
In case it goes by too fast with the screwball Pat’s fan shaking the camera, here are a couple of stills of the play.
I am hoping this one is cemented in Brian’s Urlacher’s mental bulletin board and he repays Brady with a shot right under the chinstrap.
Urlacher’s return in 2010 has been a HUGE component of the Bears’ defensive resurgence. He will be the key to controlling the middle of the field where Brady and the Patriots offense love to operate. Urlacher has been out of character heading into this matchup, doing a lot more talking than usual. Check out some of his comments to the Trib’s Vaughn McClure:
“New England is the best team in the NFL, record-wise. But I feel like we’re the best team, period. That’s why I say record-wise. They have the best quarterback, numbers-wise. And everybody likes to go by numbers, right?”
That is about as bold a statement as you’ll ever get out of #54. But he’s still got his feet planted firmly on the ground, saying this of Brady:
“Right now, he’s playing better than anybody,” Urlacher said. “There’s no doubt about that. Comparing with Peyton Manning, they’re just different. Well, maybe they’re not different because both run their offenses. Whatever they want to do, they do it. But Brady’s doing it better right now.
“He doesn’t make any mistakes with the football. You’re not going to trick him. You just better stick to your roles.”
People want to talk about Cutler and the Bears’ offense, but this game will come down to whether Urlacher and the defense can shut down – or at least slow down – the Patriots’ attack.