It took three years and 500 posts on this blog, but the Bears are finally champions of the NFC North again. The way they did it was especially beautiful. Rather than struggling on an ice-covered field, the offense had it's best game all year, crossing the forty point margin for the first time this season. Devin Hester added to the rout with a receiving TD in the 2nd quarter and his NFL record-breaking 14th career return touchdown. It's a great day to be a Bears fan. On to the recap:
What wasn't on a day like today? Some particulars:
Jay Cutler: He had protection for most of the night, and bought time with his feet when he didn't. He completed a 67 yard bomb for a TD to Knox and gave this offense the deep ball it had been craving for a long time. He added two more TD passes to Hester and even Rashied Davis (!). He made one rather ill-advised throw that resulted in an interception, but was more or less flawless outside of that. He also became the first Bears QB to throw 20 TD passes in back-to-back seasons. Nice rebound, Jay. Congrats on your first trip to the postseason since high school.
Matt Forte: He was huge tonight, as he has been most of the second half. He ran harder than I've ever seen him run, and pushed the pile several times. Unfortunately the Bears pulled him for Taylor at the goal line and three opportunities within the ten turned into field goals. He finished just shy of 100 yards with 92 on 17 carries, but could easily have broken the mark without Chester Taylor vulturing away 11 totes.
The Wide Receivers: Knox had a 67 yard TD run as part of a 78 yard outing (although he alligator-armed another TD and a pass that would have given the Bears a first down), while Hester added 23 yard and a TD, Engram threw in 37 on 3 catches, and Aromoshadu and Rashied Davis made rare appearances as well.
The offensive line: only one sack allowed and they paved the way for Forte's big day. Nice work, boys.
The defense: I'm not really sure who to single out here. Urlacher's 8 tackles? Chris Harris's huge night (6 tackles and an INT)?, Julius Peppers (INT, 2 pass deflections), Charles Tillman (INT)?, any of the four Bears that registered sacks? Or how about anyone who forced one of the five Vikings turnovers? Just an amazing all-around performance.
Corey Wooton: Okay, I'll single this guy out for finally being the first Bear to knock Brett Favre out of a game. Oh how I wept with tears of joy. God (or whatever deity or celebrity y'all worship) bless you, son.
Devin Hester: The record breaker finally came after a night in which he threatened to break into the end zone every time he touched the ball. The guy is just unreal. I can't even fathom why a team would kick to him. I really can't. He's just awesome beyond words.
Lovie Smith: I'll still be pissed if the Bears extend him before Lovie can prove this isn't a one year fluke, but he deserves credit for one hell of a job of coaching this team into the playoffs.
Chester Taylor: I yell bad things when I see him on my tv. Chester is now averaging 2.4 ypc vs. Forte's 4.3. That's not an accident. He needs to not be a waste of 10+ carries a game.
Brett Favre and the Dolts that Love Him: Christ. This was the worst of all of the many, many, many Favre-llatio jobs ESPN's ever done, made even more hilarious when they kept showing their pre-arranged Favre graphics long after Corey Wooton had sent him to the locker room in a body bag. Guh. So glad that'll be the last time that fucker plays the Bears.
Doubters: I don't care what the Bears do in the playoffs. I don't care how they got here. The mere fact that the Bears are division champs despite everyone writing them off since last October completely invalidates the assholes who will try to wag their finger if and when the Bears lose again. Keep hating, dickheads. I'll just enjoy my playoff-bound football team.
That's it for now. The Bears are NFC North Champs. We'll worry about the playoffs later. I'm just glad we can.