I’m sick and tired of hearing how the Chicago Bears are just lucky. Any time this team wins a game, the national media are right there for ya, telling you how lucky the Bears were to win the game, like some galactic forces are willing them to victory. From Calvin Johnson’s “process of the catch” non-TD in Week 1 to the blizzard that wasn’t capping a Round 1 BYE thanks to the Eagles loss to the Vikings, everyone has a reason why not to believe that the 2010 Bears are for real. The latest is Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter:
Carpenter takes aim at the Jets and Rex Ryan letting a 7 minute, 14 second lapse in judgment – in which the Bears scored 21 of their 38 points – as the latest lucky break for the Bears.
Against the Jets, the Bears scored plenty points of their own. Twenty-one of them came in a 7:14 time period in the third quarter when New York and the new clown prince of football, Rex Ryan, essentially handed Chicago the game. This was after Ryan thought a fake punt on his own 40-yard line at the start of the second half would be a fine idea. And right after Ryan’s assistants apparently let punter Steve Weatherford(notes) boot the ball to Hester who set up a touchdown with a 38-yard return, which was right before the kickoff went Hester’s way and he pumped his fist.
Without that 7:14 of Rex Ryan being Rex Ryan, Chicago likely loses this game and with it, much hope of getting that first-round bye. And that should worry many about these Bears.
Without this or because of that the Bears lose. Seriously, every time someone has a reason why the Bears won. How about because on that particular Sunday, they were just plain better that Rex Ryan’s Jets. I’m sorry, did Matt Forte gain all 113 yards on the ground in that 7:14 lapse in Ryan’s sanity? In that 7:14, wasn’t the Jets’ defense on the field? Last I checked, the Bears still had to execute to score those 21 points.
A wise man once said that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. The Jets game turned on a fake punt that the Bears sniffed out and stopped. That’s not lucky. That’s preparation. The Bears have been given opportunities all season long. The difference between this team and many others is that for the most part, they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities when they come up.
Couldn’t you say that the Eagles had an opportunity on Tuesday night, facing a rookie quarterback and a depleted Vikings team on their home field after keeping them hunkered down in a hotel for 48 extra hours, away from the comforts of home? What did the Eagles do with that opportunity? Absolutely nothing and as a result, the Bears have earned a first round bye.
Even with the parity of today’s NFL, a team doesn’t get to an 11-4 record on pure luck. They have to seize the opportunities that are presented and win games. These aren’t the Rams or Seahawks who might scratch their way in with an 8-8 record.
I am not getting over-confident about these 2010 Bears; their flaws are well known. The Bears have been wildly inconsistent, especially up front on offense. Jay Cutler still has a tendency to throw the ball in the way of the other team far too often. Lovie Smith’s Cover-2 has holes all over that even decent quarterbacks can exploit. If the Bears go out in the Division Round and lay an egg on their home turf, it won’t be because they’re suddenly unlucky, it will be because they didn’t play their game. It will be because they’re unprepared. It will be because they didn’t seize the opportunity.