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Monday, December 20, 2010

Bears 40, Vikings 14, the 500th Post is a Damn Good One

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.

The Bad:

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.

Around the NFL, Week 15

Since the Bears don't play tonight (and sadly nay, there will be no SKOsCast as I won't have the internet access at the place where I intend to watch the game) and that recap is always separate anyway, here's this week's roundup of the other NFL games:

Chargers 34, 49ers 7
This final score was surprising unless you'd actually watched either of them play this year.

Chiefs 27, Rams 13
This was the 3rd time this year that all four NFC West teams went down in one weekend. Guh.

Panthers 19, Cardinals 12
If you're keeping score the transitive property of football therefore states that the Panthers>Jay Feeley>the Denver Broncos. The best part is Carolina still keeps the #1 pick thanks to the Bengals upsetting the Browns.

Eagles 38, Giants 31
I bear no ill will towards the New York Giants, but that was hilarious. The Houston Oilers do not respect your ability to close out games, New York. Also, this keeps the Bears in the lead for #2 seed.

Lions 23, Buccaneers 20
Stupid Buccaneers. Losing games to the Lions and giving the Packers an outside shot at the playoffs again. Bastards.

Bengals 19, Browns 17
Colt McCoy has a solid future ahead of him as the next Jeff Garcia. Headin' from town to town, scrambling, throwing some awesome checkdowns, managing teams to first-round playoff exits. Oh yes.

Bills 17, Dolphins 14
Oh, Chad Henne. You suck.

Dallas 33, Washington 30
The many faces of Rex Grossman were on display in full force yesterday. At one point he was down 27-7, was just 7 of 15 with an interception, a lost fumble, and two sacks, and then in the next quarter and half he goes 15/27 with 3 TD passes as the team ties the game at 30, then he ends the game with an interception and a loss. Finally tally? Four touchdowns, three turnovers, five sacks. I hope he keeps up his normal brand of mind-numbingly erratic play long enough to earn the starting job for the Redskins next year. Football is a better place when Rexy is out there as a wildcard. Just so long as he's not under center for the Bears anymore.

Colts 34, Jaguars 24
Sigh. This is why we don't predict the downfall of the Colts or Patriots until one of them is actually eliminated from playoff contention. Plenty of both has happened this year and they both seem to be okay.

Ravens 30, Saints 24
Congratulations, Ravens. You did something non-mediocre.

Titans 31, Texans 17
I guess when two franchises in free-fall meet one of them has to win. Thought it would be the Texans, though.

Falcons 34, Seahawks 18
I realize Matt Ryan has done some pretty incredible things for a QB his age, and his record as a starter is very impressive, but the guy really isn't asked to do that much. The last two years his YPA is at a middling 6.5 and he averages just under 220 yards passing per game in his career. Were he not a first round pick and a media favorite they'd be applying the dreaded "game manager" label to him. There's something to be said for a guy who has a sparkling 25:9 TD:INT ratio this year, but I'll be very interested in seeing how well he plays in the playoffs against top-caliber defenses.

Jets 22, Steelers 17
The Jets offense still managed just one touchdown and only 276 yards. I'm feeling quite confident the Bears will get to them next week. Then we'll see who wins the prize of Greatest Team That Got the Shit Kicked Out of Them by New England This Year.

Oakland 39, Denver 23
Tebow threw 16 passes, folks. He completed just 8 of them. His only TD pass was a lucky throw that came off of a pass that went through the hands of a Raider defender and hit a receiver laying on the ground in the back of the end zone. He's as inaccurate as ever and won't survive running the ball like a glorified fullback. The Broncos also managed to convert just 2 third downs and 235 yards of offense. Oh well. At least he'll get Kyle out of Denver and off to somewhere where he can manage games for a likeable franchise.

Patriots 31, Green Bay 27
I'll give the Packers credit for an innovative game plan that took the Pats off-guard. Then I'll laugh that they still lost.