I try not to get very preachy or too dramatic about football on this blog. Despite my gameday rages I know football matters so little in the real world. This week was a terrible reminder of that, with the off-field controversies making it hard to defend watching an organization as seemingly broken as the NFL. No game makes up for that. As a Bears fan this week was brutal for less serious reasons, as the Buffalo loss had just about everyone off the bandwagon, shitting on Trestman, Emery, Cutler, Tucker, and whoever else you wanted to blame. I saw Jay called a $54 million mistake. Steve Rosenbloom wrote that the season was already over. No one thought the Bears could win tonight, then the game started like it was written by a demon haunting all of our worst nightmares. It was hard not to think the worst of everything.
Then they won. They won the f&*king game. They did it legitimately, too. Yes, the 49ers had opportunities to put the game away in the first half. Certainly there were penalties aplenty, but you know what? Most of them were earned on both sides. Over-officiating sucks, but when they're technically the right calls, what can you do? And the Bears got screwed by a blown replay. They had their fair share of mistakes, but you know why San Fran didn't "deserve to win"? They got stopped. A lot. By a defense that was sick and tired of having the entire world shit on them. They dialed up pressure. They got sacks, they forced turnovers. None of those were flukes or gimmes. Kyle Fuller flashed athleticism. Chris Conte made the best play of his career, and it ain't even close. The run defense grinded it out, refusing to let them pop the big one. They held, and then the offense found it's way, and then they won the f*&king game. And that's why we watch. Through all of the negativity, the anxiety, the constant reminders of past letdowns, the never-ending fear, sometimes it pays off. Sometimes they do the impossible. Sometimes they win, and it has rarely felt better than it does right now.
Willie Young: the record will show that I was perfectly content with Emery's defensive line moves before Jared Allen even came on board, because I was so goddamn excited about Willie. Defensive line play is about pressure. Sacks can be a matter of luck and timing more than anything else. Just do your job and make the QB's job hard. Willie always did that in Detroit, and now in Chicago he's doing it and the sacks are coming as the payoff. What a hell of a bargain.
Emery's Kids: Shea McClellin had a sack and made some plays to limit Kaepernick runs. Kyle Fuller made two plays that helped ease the pain of losing Charles Tillman (more on that in a minute) and hopefully kicked off another decade of stellar play at corner for the team. Bostic had a nice game. Sutton and Ferguson stepped in for Ratliff (who was dominating in run defense so far before a concussion. Hopefully he's OK) and played well. It was a good night for finding some hope for the future.
Brandon Marshall: He gutted it out on a bum ankle and had 3 touchdowns, all three impressive catches, the first maybe the most impressive one he's had in Chicago. I love you so much, Brandon.
Jay Cutler: 67% completions, 25 yard run, 4 TDs, 119.6 passer rating. That'll do, Jay.
Jay Ratliff: My god, that is a monster of a man when he's healthy. Bring on your blockers, two, three, four, Jay Ratliff doesn't give a damn. He will stop your run up the middle anyway.
Mel Tucker: For all of the shit he has been given, he deserves major props for a near flawless gameplan tonight. They changed looks constantly, they blitzed effectively (Kaep should have gone down twice on plays where they had free rushers, sadly he was able to elude Vereen and Jennings, but they were great calls), they confused the hell out of Kaep and got 4 turnovers and 4 sacks and they did not give up the big play. Nice job, Mel.
Special Teams: TAKE A KNEE. TAKE A KNEE. TAKE A KNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
First Half Offensive Game Plan: the Bears seemed legitimately shocked that the 49ers were going to play press and challenge two gimp receivers, and they failed to scheme guys open. Things got much better in the second half, but it could easily have cost them the game.
Injuries: Ratliff went down. Conte went down after a great play. Hopefully he's alright. McManus is a core special teamer and important depth they need at CB right now. Hopefully all but Tillman's injury are not serious, but man, could you give us a break, angry old testament football injury God?
Officiating: They missed a delay of game on the Niners first TD. They overturned a catch by Marty without what could be considered on any fucking world "conclusive evidence." They threw 800 flags. Maybe most of them were legitimate, but good lord.
Charles Tillman: I can't even begin to describe the pain I felt watching him cry on the sideline, knowing his career was likely over. I cried too, P'Nut. You never really know athletes, and sure, it seems all of the time we find out horrible things about guys that seemed great, but in all of these years I've never heard anything but great things, or seen anything but greatness, from Charles Tillman, the man. I'm not even talking about the football player right now. He was without a doubt the Bear that I most respected out of any who have played in my lifetime.
On the field he was tragically underrated. He was a turnover creating machine. In coverage he didn't always get to shine in man coverage, but sometimes he was allowed to man up against legends like Megatron and Randy Moss and he never even blinked. He was a part of the best Bears defenses that I will probably ever see. I will miss him dearly.
That's all for now. Hopefully with the long wait till Monday Night Football next week the Bears can get healthy and go at the Jets with all of their weapons. This will do for now, though. What a game.