After the Bears’ comeback 23-22 win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, I saw a few articles pop up comparing that win to the 2006 “Dennis Green game.” You know the game, right? It was another game where the Bears were matched up with an inferior team, trailed through most of the game and ended up coming back for an improbable win.
The Bears rallied on a Monday night in the desert without the benefit of an offensive touchdown. The defense put the team on their collective backs and refused to lose. Trailing 20-0 at halftime and 23-3 in the third quarter, Mike Brown recovered a fumble off a Mark Anderson sack for a TD, then Peanut Tillman recovered a fumble and returned it 40 yards for another score. Devin Hester capped off the comeback with an 83 yard punt return. A Cardinals last second field goal missed and the Bears ended up victorious. It prompted Cardinals coach Dennis Green to give us this classic rant:
In winning that game, the Bears moved to 6-0 and talk of a Super Bowl run and a perfect season buzzed around Chicago. Fans and pundits alike said the Cardinal game served as the “wake up call” the Bears needed not to take any team too lightly. Sound familiar? Fast forward to two games later when the 1-6 Dolphins rolled into town and trounced the Bears 31-13 and ended talk of a perfect season behind a Jason Taylor interception return and a solid effort by Joey Harrington. Yes, Joey Harrington beat the Bears to end their bid at a perfect season.
While the Panthers game isn’t quite the same in that the Bears offense had it’s moments, it still serves as a reminder that “any given Sunday…”
Next up, the Bears head to Tennessee to take on a 3-5 Titans team that’s underachieved this season. Chris Johnson struggled early, but has turned it on of late. With Jake Locker injured, veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who’s all to familiar with carving up the Bears’ Cover-2 as a member of the Seahawks that battled the Bears seemingly every year over the last decade.
Jay Cutler returns to Nashville for the first time in the regular season since his days at Vanderbilt. Can he find some of the success that he enjoyed as a Commodore?
the strong-armed quarterback provided a glimpse of his fiery competitive nature by bringing grit and toughness to the quarterback position at Vanderbilt that had not been seen before at the Harvard of the South.
In a 49-42 double overtime loss to Florida in 2005, Cutler rallied the Commodores from a 14-point deficit in the final minutes by leading his team on two touchdown drives in the span of 1:23. Cutler threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns, prompting then-Florida coach Urban Meyer to refer to him as a big-time, NFL quarterback.
Two weeks later, Cutler again performed well in the waning moments as he connected with Earl Bennett for a game-winning 5-yard touchdown at Tennessee with 1:11 left. It marked the first time the Commodores had defeated their in-state rivals in 22 years. When it ended, there were few dry eyes among the Vanderbilt contingent that made the three hour drive to Knoxville.
“You see grown men crying and you realize how long it’s been since we’ve won,” Cutler said after the game. “It tells us how much it means to this program.”
Road wins are hard to come by in the NFL, so the Bears can’t look past anyone at this point in the season. With the “tougher” part of their schedule (Texans, @ San Fran and and the Vikings) on the horizon, the Bears need this win. They can’t look ahead, but I can.