The most surprising thing is the lack of anger. Not during the game, of course. No, then I screamed so much (particularly at That Goddamn Fumble) that my beloved family dog hid under the table and nearly wet herself. The surprise is that now, a whole day removed, there is no anger.
What could I be mad at? Chris Conte? What could he be expected to do there, other than to be Chris Conte? There was nothing shocking about it. Hell, the greater surprise is his excellent read and interception of Rodgers in the end zone. That last play? Anger seems misplaced at this point. Fatigue, certainly, but anger comes from some kind of surprise, some kind of expectation that wasn't met leading to disappointment. It all came down to one of the most dangerous quarterbacks ever versus the worst defense, and arguably the worst player on the worst defense, in the NFL. The result shouldn't merit anger. Sky is blue. Water is wet. Chris Conte sucks. So we move on.
In the end, the Bears did more than I expected, if you'd asked me to tell you the truth. They led in the fourth quarter. They made me believe for more than a goddamn second that they'd pull it off. Their highly-touted offense actually showed up in a game that mattered and gave me hope that, in the future, with a better defense, they could truly, finally, stop being Green Bay's little brother. We knew that day wasn't going to be yesterday, though, and so there is no anger here. Today they are what they were always meant to be with an offense that good and a defense that bad: 8-8.
Now begins what may honestly be the most interesting offseason the Bears have had in my lifetime, and that's including last year's turnover. Phil Emery has decisions to make, and, fortunately, has the cap room to make them. His entire tenure as Bears GM will be defined by the moves he makes in the next few months. As a believer in Phil Emery, I think this is, oddly enough to say after a gut-wrenching lost to Those Mother F*&kers, a good time to be a Bears fan.
Matt Forte: perhaps the most refreshing thing about Trestman's approach to the Packers this year has been that he, of all the Bears offensive minds to tangle with Dom Capers in the last few years, has been the first to have the novel idea of running the damn ball. Forte this year rushed for 235 yards on 46 carries against the Packers. In this game alone he had 157 yards from scrimmage and 3 TDs. Green Bay had no answer for him. Matt, kind of quietly (and that's odd to say for a guy who made the Pro Bowl) had the greatest year of his career with 1931 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. I love you, Matty.
Jay Cutler: He had easily the best game of his career against the Packers, completing 15 of 24 passes for 226 yards and 2 TDs with a 103.8 rating. His only turnover came on a desperation throw on the last play of the game, and while some have complimented him for being a "game manager" in this game, he did most of his damage downfield, with a 37 yard strike to Marshall setting up one touchdown and a 67 yard bomb to Jeffery setting up another. You'll all no doubt be surprised to know that I hope this is Not Jay's last game in a Bear's uniform, and I don't think it is.
Brandon Marshall: He had a painful drop on the last drive, but was otherwise brilliant, and he and Cutler combined for one of the more impressive TDs in Bears memory, with the two of them communicating silently on an hot route on what was supposed to be a run play.
Tim Jennings: He had a nice interception and Rodgers passer rating when throwing into Tim's coverage was just 54.6. Thanks for not sucking as much as everyone else, TJ. See you next year, I hope.
Mel Tucker: I was reluctant to board the fire Mel Tucker train. I'm generally loathe to blame a coach when his players clearly suck, but I've yet to see Mel Tucker do anything this year that inspired me to think he'd be more than average at best even if he was given the 2012 Bears defense. That last play was an abominable call, and the fact that three of the four members of the secondary (all veterans, mind you) played the wrong coverage on a 4th and 8 in week 17 of the season has to fall on him. He can go.
Chris Conte: Just. Go. Away.
Every One of You Assholes Who Just Watched that Ball: Seriously, f*&k you.
Chris Conte: You are a crime against humanity.
Officiating: Jay Cutler himself said there's no way that penalty on McClellin would have been a penalty if it had been a defender gently wafting over His body instead of Aaron Rodgers. That was terrible. So was what was clearly NOT a touchback. I'm kind enough to attribute these mistakes to mere incompetence rather than any form of corruption, but they did the Bears no favors.
The end of the season: the worst day of my year, every year. Provided no relative has died. Even then it might depend on the relative.
That's all for now. There will be much, much more to come as the offseason generally gives me the chance for long-winded reviews and monologues on various topics, and this offseason especially will provide plenty of fodder for discussion. I'll see you all later. Until then, Go Bears.
Chris Conte sucks.