I hate to admit this, but deep, deep down in the pit of my gut, I had a bad feeling about this game. My heart kept saying Bears, and I even managed to convince my head to say Bears, but deep, deep down, I couldn’t help but feel like the Bears were overmatched heading into their NFC Championship matchup with the Green Bay Packers. The Bears dropped their NFC Championship game to the Green Bay Packers 21-14 to end a surprising season one game short of the Super Bowl.
I was in attendance today, so I’ll need to watch the tape of the game to let this fully distill, but let’s go bullet points just to get the long, cold offseason started after the jump.
- The Packer sure know how to quiet a crowd. After another stirring rendition of the National Anthem, the crowd was in a frenzy. 7 plays and 84 yards later and you could hear a pin drop in Soldier Field. It eerily reminded me of the Divisional Round game against the Panthers a few years ago. It’s the Steve Smith game, when he ran circles around our secondary.
- If Jay Cutler can hit Devin Hester on the Bears’ first drive, this is a different ballgame. It’s what Cutler to Olsen was in the Seattle game last week. If you hit that, it changes the entire tone of the game. PS – Hester totally slowed down on the 15 yard line. Keep running your route, Devin!
- Any time the Bears would like to stop the Packers running game, please feel free.
- But the defense finally settled down. The offense never did.
- We will talk about Jay Cutler more. A lot more. Let me just say this here quickly – anyone who questions his toughness needs to get their head examined. You can call Jay many, many things, but you cannot question his toughness.
- From our vantage point high atop Section 443, we got nervous when we saw Todd Collins warming up coming out of the half. Cutler came out and warmed up and started the 2nd half, to ease our concerns, but it was only a tease.
- Speaking of Collins, I sincerely hope he’s played his last snap in the NFL. He was 100% garbage. The way he directed the Bears offense, he might not be able to direct traffic outside of Soldier Field.
- It’s an indictment of the coaching staff to have Collins on the depth chart ahead of Caleb Hanie. I’ve been saying this since the Carolina game. I contend that if Hanie comes in right away and the Bears don’t piss away the better part of the third quarter with Collins bumbling around, they win this game.
- Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers showed why they are heading to Hawaii.
- That said, Urlacher cannot let Aaron Rodgers tackle him on his interception.
- Matt Forte is a special player. To rack up 160 total yards behind this line and without much help from any other offensive players speaks volumes about his talent.
- As great as the combination of Brad Maynard and Corey Graham were last week against Seattle, they were that bad this week. Bad punts and bad punt coverage led to bad field position all day.
- I am absolutely sick to death of hearing about the field conditions at Soldier Field. It is an embarrassment to the Bears and the City of Chicago. FIX IT!
- Not sure if it was the field or the wind or what, but the Bears passed on field goal opportunities in the first half of 53 and 49 yards. When you lose by 7, every bit counts.
- BJ Raji? Really? Caleb was doing his best Jay Cutler impression there.
- The Julius Peppers roughing the passer penalty was absolute garbage. Not sure if he’s supposed to just stand there and yell at Rodgers or what he’s supposed to do to bring him down there. Total BS!
- That said, it felt like Terry McAulay’s crew (which now famously flagged the Packers for 18 penalties in the first Bears – Packers matchup this season) was trying to give make up calls all day. They swallowed their whistles on numerous holding calls on the Packers and then seemed to nit-pick the Bears with some ticky-tack calls.
Not much left to say at the moment. I am emotionally spent. I am proud of the effort the Bears put forth in a season where they far exceeded expectations.