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Good Teams Make Big Drives When It Counts: Clutch 11-Play, 97-Yard Drive Finalizes 19-16 Bears Victory Over Philly

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Season and Playoff hopes still in tact – Team Capitalizes in Crunch Time: If the game and season is on the line, insert Brian Griese at his own 3-yard line with 1:57 to go, and watch him spark a comeback win (like his mentor – HOF, SB Winning QB John Elway). Maybe he was watching game tapes of the legendary QB that he was back-up to back in the late 90s? On the final game-winning drive for Chicago, their QB, a position known to be a glaring weakness and hole since Jim McMahon left in the mid 80s, remember those days… when he was under center calling the shots for the Super Bowl Monsters of the Midway?

Offense Leads the Way? Yes, it’s been a long time coming, but if you look at it, you may say that clutch drive capped off by a Mushin Muhammed’s 15-yard TD reception, was the best performance by a Bears QB in decades! How unbelievable is it when the Bears could not score a TD up until the crucial part of the game down 16-12, pinned back in their own territory facing another close loss, a turnover or punt, an embarrassment, lots of loud, screaming fans behind them (packed house in Philly), an audio problem in the QB’s helmet, and all on top of it, also a possible, season-ending defeat in terms of making it to the playoffs, in an all likelihood scenario; the offense shockingly comes through to save the day again and for now (Defense says – It’s About Time!), though it looked like things could turn around, you still have to look back at what transpired in Week 5 after another come from behind “W” over Green Bay, as this team shows us a little bit of hope that is still left in the NFC Champions’ arsenal, in what has been an awful, injury-plagued season. With everything going away from the Bears favor and towards the other team, they seem to play well – maybe it’s a lack of hunger like some players on the team said last week…

Trick or Turnaround: So will the real Bears please stand up!?!? I don’t know whether or not to believe in this team to make it back to postseason and turn things around or whether to think this is just an aberration or yet, a fluke win against a bad team. Should I think that Tommie Harris’ two sacks, Griese’s great passing day with no picks, and key third down conversions and stops towards the end of the game a reality and just some, of more things yet to come? Or should I think of that same defense as the unit that still gives up many pass yards once again, leaving receivers wide open for big plays, giving the QB too much time, and inexcusably on offense, leaving golden opportunities on the field wasted, coming up with just a FG after great field position and good drives when your knocking on the door with 1st and goal at the other team’s 3? What team will we see next week at home vs. the surprising 4-2 Detroit Lions at Soldier Field? I’ve said this before and many have said it also, so I’ll tell you it again, this game may change the season and preserve it from going down south (High Pick in the ’08 NFL Draft), and the game this Sunday will be the biggest one yet to date, being a make-or-break battle (ex. Minnesota, Detroit, and Dallas). Nonetheless, this week’s game against Detroit is the biggest game, well, the game after that will be, right…? So in essence, that’s just the way you have to treat each game in the National Football League – that’s why they play the games! Every game is the biggest game and the game that you play next will the big test and game, because it is the only game you play that week! So what team will show up next week probably will determine the rest of the season and the Bears success this year if they want to make it back to mid-late January play, so if it’s a steady defense or a lackluster 3rd down unit that gives up big first downs, or an offense that stalls at the opposition’s 3-yard line, settling yet, once again for another dismal Robbie Gould FG that’s only worth 3, not 7, can they win and go on… NO!?! But, what if the team that just scored the GW TD on the road, a drive that starting at their own 3, going 97 for the win, with a QB calling his own plays because of a bad audio inside the helmet… Now whenever eveything is going against you as a team and you pull out the win on the road, it has potential to carry over to next week, so you have to look at this game being a small step back into the right direction. For now, let’s take it one game at a time and move on and beat Detroit! Every game is important and you’re never down until your out – and then, that’s when the fat lady sings (ex. Oilers vs. Bills – 1992, 38-35 OT)

Can they win the close games like they used to, and should? If you look at it, the Bears have been in every game going up into the 4th quarter – with that being said, look at the differences between the winning and losing teams – It all comes down to the end most of the time with all the close, evenly matched teams, with all the purity there is and the lack of top team in the NFC, can the Bears make it back up to the top – Red Zone Efficiency, Turnover Differential, and 4th Quarter Execution when the game is on the line will tell the Bears if they are for real or just another 1-Week win wonder, that will blunder and not reach the high expectations that was made earlier in the year. It may not be Super Bowl Win or bust like it was earlier in the season, but if the Bears get back to full strength with a healthy defense, and the way the offense has been playing, granted the run’s game has been really bad, can this team reach the pinnacle and turn around a bad start to a season at 3-4? Good teams make big plays when it matters the most and they win most, if not all the close games (ex. ’01, ’05, and ’06 Bears)

Still a chance to get back on top? Probably not, and I say no because of the defense and run game, two areas in which the Bears team excelled last year, these once strengths, now made weakenesses are not getting the job done and the pass game will not be this good every week, as it can only go so far. So, as Bears Fans, let’s keep it nice and simple and see how it goes week by week with the one game at a time process and hopefully our Windy City Soldiers will be at the .500 mark going into a bye week after a victory over the Lions!

Loede’s Key Player Gameballs:

1. Brian Griese (27-41, 322 yards, 65.9 completion %, 1 TD and 0 INT’s) – Best Drive the Bears have had all season long and it was at the most important time – he is keeping the Bears out of the Top 5 pick contention for UK’s Andre’ Woodson, and leading them to wins to stay alive in the NFC North Division, and for a playoff shot that seems so far away. He took care of the ball, lead the team in their scoring drives without a run game, and made big plays when he needed to the most.

2. Mushin Muhammed (5 catches for 79 yards and the clinching score – long of 44) – Made big plays and caught the game-winning TD pass in the back of the end zone – finally got our money’s worth out of him in this game – this is what’s expected from him! #87 is a veteran leader and his connection with Griese is a big key for the offense, as he is the best possession WR on the team and a good red zone target to throw to. Now, for some more consistency…

3. Greg Olsen (4 receptions for 48 yards, all for 1st downs) – The added dimension spreads out the defenses, stretches the field for deep plays, and gives Bears QB Brian Griese another weapon, along with a safety valve, as a checkdown TE that gets the job done. Olsen proved once again that he is worthy to go to during passing situations (3rd & long), providing a reliable lift, as he’s capable of sparking the offense at anytime.  The former Hurricane makes life for the QB so much easier and the Bears offensive play has gone up because of him, this game was no different – play him more often than not on a weekly basis!

4. Tommie Harris ( 2 Sacks for loss of 12 yards) – Best defender on the team when healthy – came through with 2 sacks in 3 plays, on one drive against Chicago-native friend Donovan McNabb, played the game while injured as has been playing most of this season at 75-80%, and he still is probably the best DT in the NFL, NOW that’s saying something – he is the KEY to the Bears stopping the run and rushing the passer, a leader on the defensive line. When he is playing well, the defense seems to go along and ride with him, and his pressure on the Eagles’ first drive of the 4th quarter was a momentum changer. As he goes, so does the defense go (team got ball @ midfield after his two sacks, which resulted in a FG). His toughness makes a good impression on younger plays – has not missed a game yet!

5. Devin Hester’s Impact: Whether it be the excellent starting field postion he helped create, influencing short kicks, or the 3 catches for 41 yards (2 on 3rd down and one to get Bears closer on a huge, 21-yard 1st down catch on final drive in 4th qtr.), or  his game-changing presence, ability, and involvement in the offense each week as another weapon to take it to the house every time he touches it, and as a decoy, the Windy City Flyer has the greatest impact on this team that goes beyond the #’s, sometimes unnoticed, as his hands, route running, and lighting-quick speed and unreal quickness and cuts, makes him now game-planned for on ST’s and offense, opening up Berrian, Moose, Olsen, Clark, and the run game, giving the offense now more of an advantage than ever because of what he brings to the table with his one of a kind skill! This game showed that even if he doesn’t touch the ball a lot, others do benefit from what he has done to intimidate teams, and it was shown in the passing attack when more and more plays got completed over the middle of the field in 2nd/3rd ‘n long situations. More was open and available over the middle of the field because of Hester’s presence towards the end of the game.

Prediction vs. Detroit Lions (4-2): Detroit 17 vs. Chicago Bears 30 Difference: Improved and Healthy team. Playmakers come up big and offense hits full stride against a shaky secondary, Defense helps team win the turnover battle, and Bears capitalize with great field position, and team takes lead into the 4th and holds on for divisional victory. Play-action and the deep pass will be differences on offense while the pass rush gets back on track with 4 or more sacks.


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2 Responses to “Good Teams Make Big Drives When It Counts: Clutch 11-Play, 97-Yard Drive Finalizes 19-16 Bears Victory Over Philly”

  1. Jesse says:

    What an upset! Great Drive! Way to make those Philly fans hurt!!!!!

  2. […] keen insight, taking a shot at a Bears Mock Draft. After recently watching the Philadelphia game (19-16 Comeback Victory) on replay, what is apparent to me is the need for offensive playmakers. I don’t want to totally […]

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