Monday Night Football
It's finally here our first and only Monday night game of the season. Our opponents are the 10-2 (8-0 vs NFC) Bears. Da Bears have clinched the Black & Blue division title thus guaranteeing them a spot in the NFC Playoffs. Da Bears started off their 2006 campaign in a very impressive fashion. They won their first 5 games of the season by outscoring their opponents (156-36). Week 6 Da Bears made their first Monday Night Football appearance visiting the Arizona Cardinals. This was the Da Bears opportunity to show the National audience and the rest of the NFL what they were all about. Lo and behold the Cardinals led by rookie qb Matt Leinart gave Da bears more than they bargained for. Da Bears became "the Bears" in this game as they snatched a victory away from the Cardinals with some last minute heroics from their Special Teams and Defense. The Bears won the game but they weren't who we thought they were. The Cardinals had exposed the Bears Defense and Offense with their style of play. The National audience and the rest of the NFL now had the blue print on how to game plan for the Bears. Fortunately for the Bears they had the bye week following that Monday night game. The Bears were 6-0 and needed the bye week to regroup and hopefully find Da Bears.
Well the Bears came out for week 8, their 7th game of the season on the road vs. the Whiners. By the end of the first half "Da Bears" were back with a dominating 41-0 lead. They won the game 41-10. Da Bears (7-0) had returned. Since week 8's dominating win Da Bears have come back to earth.
Their next 5 games have seen them go (3-2) losing at home (Dolphins 31-Bears 13) and losing on the road (Patriots 17- Bears 10). Through the first 7 games of the season Da Bears had outscored their opponents (221-69). They had a 21 to 12 turnover margin for +9. They had sacked the opposing quarterbacks 21 times while allowing only 8. The Bears in their last 5 games (3-2) have seen the tide change quite a bit. They have outscored their opponents (94-81). A minus 1 turnover ratio, 7 defensive sacks while allowing 8. Their qb Rex (isn't that a dogs name?) Grossman has been the main area of concern. Grossman was on fire the first 5 games of the season but has been questionable if not terrible the last 7 games. He's throwing far to many interceptions which is very concerning for Head Coach Lovie Smith. After all Grossman has only been sacked 14 times in 12 games. Obviously instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball away Grossman is taking alot of chances that are back firing. Well Lovie has reeled in the offense of late and gone back to the old Black & Blue style of football. Run, run, short pass or maybe run again. Relying on the defense and field position.
What I'm getting at is that the Bears are beatable, That's right, by our Rams.
We've all been saying it in our reponses to various threads this week. Linehan and Haslett must recognize the obvious? Stop the run at all costs and make Grossman throw the ball. Grossman is struggling BIG TIME, he's thrown 17 interceptions in 12 games. The Bears strength on offense is running the ball. They have a nice 1-2 punch with Thomas Jones and Cedrick Benson. The duo has combined for 1349 yards rushing ( averaging 4 yds per carry) and 9 TD's.
Obviously our Rams have to do their part and not just on defense. Our offense has to play mistake free against a very opportunistic and stingy (ranked 12th vs the run & 2nd vs the pass) Bears defense. Beyond that the special teams, especially the coverage units need to be at the top of their games. The Bears (not so secret weapon anymore) Devin Hester has had 4 returns for touchdowns.
With all that has been going on in our backyard (Marc Bulger speaking out) it will be very interesting to see how our team responds. Who better to go up against than arguably the best team in the NFC. On the BIG stage that is Monday Night Football at the friendly confines of the Dome.
I've been looking forward to this game since the Rams schedule came out. Not knowing who the Bears would be or how our Rams would look. This is it, we are still alive for the NFC playoffs. It's do or die time as far as the Playoffs are concerned. The Bears are in, we are not(yet....?). Not to minimize the chance for us to make the Playoffs, I am really more interested in how we respond to the statements of our Leader, Marc Bulger. This to me is a statement game for us. The statement of who we are and who we will be for the 2007 season.
Win or lose we need to see the spirit, the chemistry, the fight. We need to see our Rams give it their all.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!!!! A MONDAY NIGHT PARTY?!!!
I AM !:r