First off, let me apologize. I’m sorry I didn’t finish out the year last year with a final post on the NFC Championship Game. I wasn’t able to write up my post after the NFC game last season for two reasons: one was work-related. My company had a week-long kickoff meeting, which I had to help facilitate, and it was in Paris. Nothing can possibly be worse than watching the Bears lose the NFC Championship to the Packers than watching the Bears lose the NFC Championship to the Packers in a foreign land at 3 am in the morning with European announcers who obviously came from the world of rugby (which they think is “close enough”!) Ughh!
The second reason is that I could not think calmly enough to write down the anger and fury that left me seething after that loss.
I swear to you that my blood is still boiling now.
Let me start with what I am NOT mad about:
- I am not mad about Cutler leaving the game – Because we were watching the game in Europe, there were no play by play announcers. Just the sound of the crowd. We could see text announcements on the bottom of the screen, but we had absolutely NO IDEA what had happened to Jay. Thank God for Texting though, cause friends in the states were able to relay to us what was happening. My co-workers who were Bears fans and I ALL had the same thought: Scottie Pippen… Migraine. (That’s not exactly what we thought, but the five letter word that starts with p and ends with y isn’t politically correct enough to write, even here.)
- I am not mad that Martz tried (once again) the ridiculous idea of putting Todd “I’m just here to collect a paycheck” Collins in – How about Caleb Hanie giving us a chance and a glimmer of hope of being in the game? Didn’t last long, but that’s not Caleb’s fault.
- I am not mad at the coaches for once again being out-coached in a big game – the Packers came in with some different concepts around how to run the ball, which they had unveiled the week before, and the Bears coaching staff still couldn’t figure out a way to stop it. The defense looked anemic, which is to say, their game plan looked exactly the same as the last game of the season, and the Packers had had a couple weeks to figure out how to beat it, which they demonstrated on the very first drive. Have we EVER seen this coaching staff step up and make an impact during a big game? I can’t think of one.
But this is not what I am upset about. To this day, I am still seething with anger for one reason. And maybe it’s an idiotic thing to focus on. Maybe, I am just an overly emotional Chicagoan, who isn’t thinking as clearly as an experienced offensive coordinator with years of experience? Maybe I am thinking too passionately about a close-minded idea that isn’t connected with winning Super Bowls? Maybe. But I’ll tell you ahead of time I don’t care if all of this is true, and I am a total idiot for thinking the way I do:
I am still pissed off that Mike Martz failed to respect the rivalry between Chicago and Green Bay, and experimented with his winning offensive gameplan in Week 17.
That game was “meaniningless” to the Bears. And yet the defense came to play. They shut down Rogers better than any team had done all year. Why? Because they respected the rivalry. Urlacher had had enough seasons in Chicago to understand the importance of that game, and I believe he led them to a level of urgency that IS WHAT WE EXPECT here in Chicago.
But Martz did not. He toyed with the offense, going back to his pass-happy attack, and leaving Cutler hanging in the wind behind a line that wasn’t ready to protect him against one of the most confusing defenses in the NFL.
• Jay attempted 39 passes and scored 3 points.
• Forte only ran 15 times, and still rushed for over 100 yards.
• The Bears converted 5 out of 16 on Third Down. Six third downs were 6 or fewer yards, but Martz called passes on ALL six of them.
In my Week 17 post, I said maybe Martz was being the “adult”, thinking ahead to the playoffs. Maybe he was preparing Jay for the pressure he would see in the playoffs… Shame on me! And shame on him!
Hindsight is 20/20, I know this. But not playing to win, not focusing on winning that game was a sin. It was a sin against everything that George Halas created. It was a sin against the tradition of Chicago Bears football. It was a sin against the rivalry that this great city has with that armpit town. And nothing is worse than watching Green Bay win it all WHEN WE HAD A CHANCE TO KNOCK THEM OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS!!!
Lovie never said anything more true to me (and I think, this town) than when he said that Priority 1 is beating Green Bay.
So, I hope you will join me in a crusade. A crusade to hold Lovie Smith and Mike Martz accountable for how they play against Green Bay this year. Forget that they’re the NFL Champs. Forget that they’re in our division. Forget that we have a tough schedule against a lot of good teams. Our first goal is to beat Green Bay. If Mad Mike Martz unleashes his Mr. Hyde play-calling against that team again, you will see me begin the Fire Mike Martz campaign. There are no more excuses, only expectations.
Step up Mike.