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Countdown to Kickoff – Chicago Bears ’06 Season In Review: Game by Game – Week 1

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As your Bearsgab.com Main Site Editor/Writer, I will give you some “reminiscing” time, to look back and reflect on the great season it was in ’06…

You must be thinking??? Where is my favorite BEARS Writer on the web…? Is he writing anymore for my Chicago BEARS? I want to read one of his award-winning, brilliant, insighful pieces on the Bears! He is the best at what he does – better than Mortensen, Theismann, Jaworski, and ESPN. When can I read what he has to say about my team, I have a hunger… Well the WAIT and Wonder is Over… or Is he gone – did he retire and call it quits, hanging up the keyboard in the rafters, and going on with the greats of the pasttime as one of the best of all-time? No, He’s Back like your hairline though! Back like your vertebrae. Also, Back like a “Chris Berman” play call, during highlight runs on PrimeTime, when he is calling a Devin Hester Run BACK! And, lastly, BACK like your throwback Walter Payton Jersey and BACK like your Chicago BEARS from ’06 ~ READY for 2007 Super Bowl Championship Winning Season! Well, I’m not going to bore you and write about what everybody is else is typing about – Pre-Season… (sigh of relief) ugh… Well guess what, it’s your day, to read this great, exciting article, and it will PREPARE you completely, for the upcoming big season for the Monsters of the Midway! Though I’ve been paying attention to the pre-season, (Victory @ Hou. 20-19) I prefer/rather not talk about a game that doesn’t really count. By the way, no big injuries, (YES!) Gould is Good, (Game-Winner, he’s MONEY) Benson running over people, (Good 1st game start – a little, somethin’ somethin’ to start it off, much more to come where that came from) also Olsen is a beast/major weapon in pass game, first play when to him, he looked good, Bradley looked well with a big pass catch to the 2 in the 3rd quarter, all 3 QB’s looked sharp, O and D Lines looked good, (Mark Anderson was great against the run) Briggs and Williams were all over the place, Charles Tillman made good pass-breakup on third down to prevent a 1st, McGowan and Payne (replacing Harris – traded to Carolina) played very well, Dusty made first run stop of career look easy, (on Ahman) and Mike Brown with Adam Archuleta was a great first sight to see! Enough of pre-season lets move on… Go BEARS!!! !!!! One last note though on it…

I know all of you are getting READY and AMPED up for the BIG (not-so-big) Game/SHOWDOWN Monday Nite at Indianapolis, as we head to the RCA Dome to play the SB Champs, (don’t BOO ’em Too LOUD!) (Give ‘Em Props though, last year is last year, it’s over and we have moved on and we’re better from it!) so as you have time you can read what we did to the hated rival Green Bay Packers, with my recap on the action last September. (It Was Complete DOMINANCE). Bears @ Colts ~ Can’t wait to see this game, or at least the first quarter, as we can hit them around hard, (something we didn’t do last Feb.) and beat ’em up, showing them that we are the BETTER Team for 2007! Bears Fans: I Encourage you STRONGLY to get your gear on, get together with your Bear buddies, and get your grub on (tailgate), and ENJOY/Cheer on your team from the Windy City, to a WIN and more Importantly, have a healthy, well-played, exciting game, with our starters going up against their starters (The Best from Each Conference, in a Battle for a New Season, with a NEWRESULT – To Show who’s the BEST in the NFL!)

We are now down to “Devin Hester’s jersey” number, in the countdown to Kickoff ’07, bringing us to only 23 days away until our NFC Champion Chicago Bears open up the brand, spanking new, fresh-cut season, that will start off in San Diego against Tomlinson, Rivers, Merriman, and Co.

First in this ’06 reminisce, I will start off with the SHUTOUT Victory @ Green Bay ~ 26-0 Dominance at Lambeau Field, where Favre was at a loss for words during the postgame, as it was just a beginning to a spectactular Super Bowl Run for the Chicago Bears in 2006. It Was The BEARS TIME To SHINE and the Pack’s Time To Whine!

Recap: #4 came back for yet, another tough, playoff-less season, and the Chicago Bears did their best to make sure nobody noticed him – just their brilliance. As the Bears handed Favre a unique and rare, one of a kind gift, directly from the defense to his offense via a quick thrashing, a rout that kindly dished out three sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble on D. By their means of getting the job done, the Bears pressured Favre heavily, stuffed the run, used good coverage, mixed up blitzes, and allowed Green Bay into their territory just twice throughout the entire game, and shut the door emphatically each time the Pack thought they had a chance or opportunity to make something happen. This defense had Favre and new coach Mike McCarthy almost as frustrated as an atheist hearing that Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life.The Monsters of the Midway allowed only 14 first downs, 1-11 third-down conversion rate, forced six punts, and controlled the time of possession, with good clock management and long scoring drives.

Offense & Fireworks from 23: Then when the game was out of reach they pulled out a suprise – the best show of all – The Windy City Flyer – Devin Hester – #23 took back his first of 7 touchdowns on the season, sprinting 84 yards, running past helpless Packers to paydirt, for a score that made it 26-0. They featured an appetizer to the start the game off right – as the Bears first drive was #8 going play-action deep, striking a throw to a wide-open, speedy, Bernard Berrian for 49 yards in stride, and the first points of the season were on the board, in a year were many more would come, when the Bears had lots to offer, with 420 points to be scored, tallied later in ’06. Kicker Robbie Gould added four field goals and was perfect on the day. Rex went for a career-high at the time – 262 passing yards. Mushin caught six passes for 107 yards, the run game ran for 36 times, eating up the clock, and 7 different receivers caught the ball. The offense gained 5.6 yards per play and 9 yards per pass play. They connected on 18 first downs and had a total of 361 total yards on the day.

MIGHTY D At Work: The defense was led by Lance Briggs, who piled up 9 tackles, to along with the first of three sacks on the afternoon. Charles Tillman and rookie Danieal Manning had the honors of picking up Favre, and Brendon Ayanbadejo recovered a fumble. The defensive unit did each job by holding G.B. under 300 total yards and allowed under five yards per play. Bears players were all over the place and made sure Favre’s chances to pick up yards were in the second half – when it was all said and done. He watched the Bears light up the scoreboard with 26 points, while he had nothing to say, in answering Chicago’s masterpiece performance on defense. Also, the defensive line was great in having Favre on the run, forcing him into bad decisions without having much time to think. Rex Grossman, aided by his offensive line, had so much time in the pocket, it was like he was on a nice, sunny day’s picnic in the park. On the other hand, Favre was playing like he was in rush hour traffic, trying to throw (eat) and run at the same time. This game was more lopsided than a two-seated car after a 350-pound guy had entered into the driver’s side. Chicago controlled from start to finish, played great defense on third downs, and shut down the pass game, while developing a good air attack of it’s own.

Quotes/Pieces, Comments from Postgame: Chicago Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith and DE Adewale Ogunleye had this to say about the dominant effort after the game:

“That guy is going to be a Hall of Famer, he’s going to have his bust in Canton, Ohio and I can say that I was a part of that,” defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said.

Bears coach Lovie Smith called Favre, a three-time MVP, one of the “all-time great quarterbacks.”

“It’s hard to get a shut out in the National Football League anytime,” Smith said. “To get it on the road with No. 4 as the quarterback is definitely special.”

Packers Coach even had this to say, after the game got so out of hand and bad for G.B. at 26-0…

McCarthy said he “thought about” but “didn’t consider” replacing Favre with backup Aaron Rodgers.

While Rex Grossman said this about the day’s work on offense:

“We were able to move the ball up and down the field, but I’d still like to finish up some of those drives,” Grossman said.

“That’s going to be key in the coming weeks, because eventually the other team will score.”

Verdict: The Bears were the definitely the better of the two teams and they started off the triumphant season on a high note and finished the game with authority, shutting out an opponent for the first time since on the road at Detroit in 2001. Chicago showed off for what was a preview of things to come, as it was the first step in becoming an elite team in the NFL. They dominated (constantly emphasised throughout the article) from the first drive (Grossman to Berrian) to the final touchdown in the 4th quarter (Devin Hester punt return). As the Bears when foward, winning their next six games, Green Bay went on to a shaky .500 record on the year. The NFC Champions came in sky-high, after an early playoff exit the year before at home, in terms of the measurement/level of confidence they displayed, while G.B. had some small hopes (longshot) to just merely compete with these Super BEARS.

“I was optimistic going into this game, I really was,” Favre said. “Maybe I was the only one, but I really felt like we could surprise these guys. Obviously, that was not the case.”

“We had a plan we wanted to stick to,” Favre said. “When do you abandon that plan, I don’t know. The bottom line, we got outplayed in every facet of the game. We wanted to set the tempo early and establish the running game. Once we fell behind, we had to try to do something.”

“Yeah, give them credit,” Favre said. “(But) maybe we just ain’t very good.”

FINAL Say – to Wrap It Up With a Conclusion: Or maybe the eventual NFC Champion Chicago Bears, as we all know, were just in a league of their own, with high standards coming into the season, starting on that warm, Sunday afternoon, on the 10th day of September. I knew it was a just a beginning to a Bears run atop of the division, while the Packers were heading toward the bottom.

Hester’s game-breaking/changing abilities were let out Week 1, along with Rex starting his tear during the first two months of the season, with Berrian bringing out the best in his deep threat ways, and the defense truly made a statement that no one could deny – the best is yet to come. 1 win down, 14 more to go, (including playoffs) and an NFC Championship to be had, later achieved by a team of Destiny, loaded with talent, leadership, and character, as one of the best in the NFL.


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