The 2010 Chicago Bears have come and gone, with more surprises and victories than we were expecting. I covered the season from Week 1 to the playoffs, both at ReadJack.com and at SportsBlogNetwork.net. Now, presented for your convenience, are the full archives.
WEEK 1: Once a Bears fan…
BEARS 19, Lions 14
EXCERPT: Because while I care more about writing and loved ones and personal goals, and while the Bulls have become my favorite Chicago sports team, and while I might try to convince you in private that Barack and Iran and Israel-Palestine and the war in Afghanistan and the Ground Zero Mosque and that dickwad in Gainesville and CPS budget cuts and the New Trier renovation and the fall of Mayor Daley and a million other items of True Significance are all more important than what 53 men I have never met do for three hours on an otherwise pleasant Sunday afternoon, the truth is that when the Bears take the field, it really doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world or how mature I’ve become or even, sad to say, what yahoo whose name I don’t know is prancing around in Mike Brown’s #30. From opening kick to the final gun, I am a tried-and-true, dyed-in-the-wool, navy and orange and blood and guts and Doug-and-O.B. screamin’ mad Bears fan.
WEEK 2: 2-0 and beyond the infinite
Bears 27, COWBOYS 20
EXCERPT: After we beat the Chiefs 20-17 to open 1999, the Tribune ran a blurb about how wonderful it would be if the Bears could start 2-0. It had not happened since 1991, and folks were getting antsy. I did not understand the severity of the Bears’ situation; yes, we’d just posted consecutive 4-12 seasons, but in my young mind, the Chicago Bears existed in a natural state of dominance. Fluky down seasons such as 1992 and 1997-’98 were only temporary displacements…
BEARS 20, Packers 17
EXCERPT: But for goodness sakes, when the plays are running, cheer man, cheer! Cheer loud and strong! Cheer like you always have. When Devin took that fourth quarter punt 62 yards for a score, when Peppers went through the Packers field goal protection like Two Scoops in the gauntlet, I was up, baby! I was yelling and distributing high fives to Adam and Pat, and cold, cold stares into Pat’s artificial turf-laden, dome-encased soul.
WEEK 5: Sacked, slimed, and feeling fine
Bears 23, PANTHERS 6
EXCERPT: There’s nothing fun about watching your team get slapped around on national television. After the Giants game ended late last Monday, I found myself walking east on Irving Park over to Ashland, passing a small diner on my way to a cab. Inside the diner, patrons with URLACHER 54 and CUTLER 6 on their backs were watching Bears “highlights” on ESPN. I caught eyes with the gentleman behind the counter; I looked at him, and then up at the screen, and then he looked at the screen, and then he looked at me, and then we smiled hopelessly and shook our heads. Have you ever witnessed a beat down quite so thorough and disgusting? we communicated.
WEEK 6: The blink of an eye
Seahawks 23, BEARS 20
EXCERPT: But then Hester executes his second foot-spring push-off, this time using his left foot to redirect his motion to the right. For an instant, Curry slows. Hester has given Roach the advantage, and the linebacker easily guides Curry further upfield. Knowing Hester is about to dart past him, Curry swings back around to his right, giving Roach even greater position to knock the Seattle defender off-balance.
WEEK 7: A bit of the old ultraviolence
Redskins 17, BEARS 14
EXCERPT: However, the scariest stat of this 2010 Chicago Bears season continues to be the rate at which Big Jay is sacked. 51 sacks in 37 games as a Bronco, 62 sacks in 22 games as a Bear. When standing, Cutler is capable of throwing one of the strongest, prettiest, most accurate, most deadly balls in the league. He showed as much on his brilliant TD strike to Johnny Knox late in the second quarter, a drive in which Cutler completed all seven of his passes for 59 yards. He did this by standing on his Feet, scanning the field with his Eyes, and throwing the ball before the defense could knock him over.
BEARS 31, Eagles 26
EXCERPT: It’s a tough road, but after starting the season as, in my eyes, “the worst 5-3 football team the NFL has ever seen,” the 2010 Chicago Bears are carving out an Identity. A go-get-um D, led by a rag-tag, motorized line of forgotten men and overachievers: Idonije, Toeaina, Adams, Melton, and Tommie Harris, who, in the last few weeks, has performed not as a talented first round bust but as a last-legs veteran itching to prove himself.
WEEK 13: No longer happy with ugly wins
Bears 24, LIONS 20
If, on February 6, 2011, Tom Brady is hoisting his fourth Super Bowl trophy after brutalizing our Chicago Bears on national television, I will look back at Week 13 of this 2010 NFL season and say, “Ah ha! Shoulda known.”
And frankly, I don’t care what happens between these two clubs next week. Our beloved Bears may even pull out the very W that blesses their season with the Lombardian Right to just keep winning, a blessing that might even carry them all the way to The Big Game.
WEEK 15: I’m bringing chicken back
BEARS 38, Jets 34
As usual, the Bears of Lovie Smith excel at defense and special teams. The Great Urlacher is producing his best season since 2007. The defensive line is playing with the underdog spirit of the 1994 bunch. Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Chris Harris – a combined seven seasons in 2005 – are veteran leaders, Devin Hester is making smart men think stupid, and Corey Graham is playing like Steve Tasker.
Meanwhile, the offense is scoring from all directions. Jay Cutler is the first Bears QB to post 3000 yards in consecutive seasons. The Hustling Johnny Knox is set to become the team’s first 1000-yard receiver since Marty Booker. If Matt Forte joins him in the 1000-yard ranks, the 2010 Bears will be the first team in franchise history to hit those passing-rushing-receiving benchmarks in the same season.
Pre-Seahawks game: Imagine me and you, I do…
Before the matchup was settled, I wondered how much of Seattle’s sports sadness (losing the Sonics, losing Super Bowl XL, getting no rings with Griffey, Rodriguez, Johnson, and Ichiro, etc.) could be cured if the 7-9 division champion Seahawks ran the table and won the city’s first pro title since the ’79 Sonics. Out there in the land of hypothetical, with the Magnificent Occurrence assured, it did not bother me much to imagine a 2011 NFC playoff bracket in which the Bears were eliminated.
But 40 hours from kickoff is no time for charity, even in imagination. The Seahawks must be vanquished, and will be. These 2010 Bears are better than the 2006 Bears, and the 2006 Seahawks were a stronger team than the current edition, and there you are.
Pre-Packers game: One game to rule them all
BEARS 35, Seahawks 24
EXCERPT: It’s a game we’ve imagined our entire lives. Every season the Bears were NFC contenders, we Bears fans thought: “Hey… you know what would be great? If the Packers could pick their game up, get playoff ready, and ride with us to the NFC Championship.” I’d imagine that, when the Packers were ritualistically cremating us from 1994 to 1998, Pack fans thought the same.
Pre-Packers game: Final thoughts on a team with a shot
EXCERPT: The Bears’ de-fence comes close to matching the playoff units of 2005 and 2006, but the offense – with its hodgepodge o-line – was out-passed by the 2006 team and outrun by both. Cutler is the difference; not Rex nor Orton or Griese could have withstood the pounding delivered upon Big Jay’s noble frame, and a lasting injury at quarterback in 2010 meant Todd Collins or Caleb Hanie under center and ‘home’ for the Bears, watching from instead of playing at.
Post Packers game: The turf is always greener.
Packers 21, BEARS 14
EXCERPT: The real problem with Cutler is that he is a Chicago Bears quarterback, and Bears fans are only satisfied when their quarterbacks win championships, a list with only three names. One is Sid Luckman, the Bears great of the 1940s whose 14,686 yards are the third lowest total among franchise leaders, ahead of only Matt Schaub’s four seasons on the Houston Texans and Joe Flacco’s three seasons on the Baltimore Ravens.