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Five Thoughts on 2018’s Final Game From Inside the Building

| January 7th, 2019

Sunday’s loss to the Eagles is going to be discussed for a long time and Cody Parkey will remain the centerpiece of that conversation. But here are five (I think) unique observations from inside the building.

  • The crowd wanted to be the loudest and most intense crowd at Soldier Field in thirty years. But oddly, the defense deflated them constantly. The Eagles converted way too many third downs, and converted them with relative ease, with Foles throwing to wide open receivers under little pressure. Third down is when the lakefront faithful reached fever pitch. Building back up to that level, on a cold windy night, was not easy.
  • There was a distinct change in Mitch Trubisky after completing the 3rd-and-11 late. His confidence seemed shaken. His receivers were not winning on the outside. He wasn’t able to create with his legs because he was clearly nursing an injury. But after he completed that pass, he took control of the game. He was brilliant down the stretch and would have been the story of the game if…well, you know.
  • When the Bears spread the Eagles out, the Eagles had no answer. I wrote last week this was not a game the Bears should plan to win on the ground. That’s a great Eagles front. When Nagy spread them out, Trubisky had open receivers everywhere. Why didn’t the Bears change their approach in the second half? Why didn’t they recognize those mismatches? This was not a banner day for the coaching staff on either side of the ball.

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Wildcard Weekend Diary: Bears Lose to Eagles

| January 6th, 2019

Saturday January 5th – 12:19 PM 

I love the Drake Hotel. It’s old. It’s beautiful. The Coq D’or is my favorite hotel bar in the world. (Go there just to have the Bookbinder soup.) When I come through those doors on Walton Street, I feel like I’m stepping into the history of Chicago. It doesn’t have the amenities of a newer hotel. But it has character. A ton of it.

This morning I decided to order breakfast to the room. Two eggs, over easy. Home fries well done. Bacon. English muffin. Orange juice. Pot of coffee. Room service at a good hotel is one of life’s delights, especially for someone who has spent years crafting an existence centered around the avoidance of pants.

I rented a movie. I hadn’t seen Can You Ever Forgive Me. $20 too steep? Probably, for a movie that I’ll be able to rent for $6 in a week or two. But I’ve been dying to see it. (You too should see it. It’s brilliant. And Melissa McCarthy gives the performance of the year.)

I did all this because Noah isn’t getting to town until the afternoon and I can’t be trusted to wander the streets and not end up in a saloon. With the great football coming later, I didn’t want to be asleep at 6:30 pm. (It would not be the first time.)

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I decided Monday’s column  (what you’re currently reading) won’t be the standard bullet-point recap of Sunday’s game with the Eagles. I’ll be in the building and I find it hard to get the full context of a game in that environment. Plus, I’ll inevitably miss stuff waiting to take a piss. And with a playoff game, there will be so much coverage for you to wade through. Why not create something different?

Instead I’m going to write a little now. Write a little more tomorrow morning. Then write something Sunday night/Monday morning. Walk you, the reader, through this experience. Emotionally, mostly. And right now my emotions are steady. I’m confident. Here’s why:

  • The Bears are the better team. They’re just better at almost every single element of the game, outside of the kicker position.
  • The Bears are a dominant defense with a dominant home field advantage. Those almost always hold up in the postseason.
  • I’m expecting an insane crowd. Unlike most games I’ve attended in Chicago, the town is not covered with Bears gear. The hotel lobby and elevators aren’t laden with fans here to see the team. Partly because the tickets are expensive, I’m sure, but mostly I think it’s because people plan trips around those Bears games during the season and they would only have had a week to prep for this. This is going to be a local crowd.
  • Nick Foles has never thrived in an environment like he’ll face tomorrow.

Let’s see how I feel in the morning. But right now, I expect great things from the Bears.

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12-4. (Reaction in Tweets)

| December 31st, 2018



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Day Game Viewing Guide From Bears Perspective

| December 9th, 2018

The most important games of the week for the Chicago Bears will be played tonight (Bears v Rams) and tomorrow night (Vikings v Seahawks). But there’s still much to keep an eye on before we hit the primetime slate.

Who should the Bears fan root for?


Browns over Panthers

Another Panthers loss would basically clear them from the wildcard fray.


Cowboys over Eagles

There’s an argument to be made for rooting against Dallas. But that’s a seeding argument. Seeding schmeeding. Fans should just want the Bears playing in January.


Giants over Redskins

This is the least important because Mark Sanchez ain’t making a run.

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Thoughts on the NFC Playoff Picture With Four Games Remaining

| December 5th, 2018


It’s been a long time. A long, long time. In 2013 the Bears had a chance to make the playoffs over the final month but they were 6-6 at this stage and a definitive mediocrity.  Per Football Outsiders, the Bears have an 85.1% chance to win the NFC North and a 96.3% chance of making the postseason. This is the kind of piece I’ve wanted to write for a long, long, long time.


NFC NORTH

Where Things Stand

Bears (8-4) are home to the Rams and Packers, followed by at Niners and Vikings.

Vikings (6-5-1) are at Seahawks, home to the Dolphins, at Lions, home to the Bears.

Notes

  • Any analysis of the remaining schedule has to begin with a basic fact: the Vikings haven’t been good. To expect them now to win their final four games is a bit of a stretch. But their contest in Seattle Monday night will set the tone for the rest of their season. It’s not a “must win” when it comes to making the postseason but it may be when it comes to challenging for the NFC North, especially if the Bears beat the Rams Sunday night.
  • Bears are 5-1 at home and their five wins have been by 7, 38, 14, 12 and 5. They have been great at Soldier Field. If they finish the season 6-2 at home, splitting their next two games, they’ll only need a win in San Francisco to host a playoff game in January.

WILDCARD

Where Things Stand

*Note: If the Bears are competing for a wildcard spot, one must assume the Vikings have won the NFC North. So we can leave them out of this equation.*

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: A Few on 52 & Urlacher, Urlacher, Urlacher…

| February 5th, 2018

Five Super Bowl Thoughts

  • First Half Note 1: That was a horrible half of a football. Was it entertaining? Sure. But so is college football and that is rarely good either. Blown coverages, horrible tackling, wide open receivers, college-level kicking. This game should be the showcase of the league’s two best teams. Sadly, when it comes to the 2017 season, this game may be all we got.
  • First Half Note 2: The Eagles didn’t just look tougher, they looked like they had the better sideline. And even in the two Patriots Super Bowl losses, that was never the case. Pederson was running circles around Patricia.
  • Halftime: The halftime show was one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. Oh wait, no, I was cleaning my crockpot and listening to Harry Nilsson tracks in my kitchen while some people pantomimed horn playing in the middle of a football field for no reason whatsoever. Would love to see the NFL skip this worthless musical display one year and instead replace it with a speech from the Walter Payton Man of the Year winner after a short video presentation saluting that player’s work. Why not use your largest platform to promote some of the good being done by those involved in the game instead of promoting Justin Timberlake to sell some Pepsi?
  • Second Half Note 1: Tweeted a question. If you were the Eagles, and you won the Super Bowl with Foles, would you consider offering Wentz to the Browns for their two early firsts? Watching the second half, if I were the Eagles, I would even hesitate. Wentz is a terrific player but this Eagles team is proving they can win with Foles and he’s affordable. So why not stack the roster around him?
  • Second Half Note 2: Let’s be honest. This game came down to one play, the Brandon Graham sack/fumble of Brady late in the fourth. It was the only defensive play made in this Big 12 affair.
  • Final Thought: Think about what Doug Pederson and Nick Foles and the Eagles just did. They beat (a) the defending NFC champs (b) the league’s best defense and (c) Brady & Belichick en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. This is legendary stuff in Philadelphia.

All Urlacher…after the jump!

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Super Bowl 52: Four Thoughts & Game Prediction

| February 2nd, 2018


  • Nobody on earth could convince me Carson Wentz wants the Eagles to win this game. How could he? He’s a human being with human emotions. If Nick Foles wins the first Super Bowl in Eagles history, what does Wentz do to follow that? He could win 12 games a year for the next five seasons but without the ring, he’ll never reach the historical level of Foles in Philadelphia. When Jeff Hostetler beat the Bills, Phil Simms had already won a title for the Giants and established them as his team. Wentz has established his potential. Foles can establish his legacy.
  • Is there a dumber debate than Tom Brady vs. Michael Jordan; currently being argued on every conceivable sports media platform? Here’s my answer: Brady would beat Jordan at playing quarterback but Jordan would destroy Brady at basketball. (Pete Weber would kick the shit out of both of them at the local lanes.)


  • Rob Gronkowski’s line: 8 catches, 157 yards, 2 touchdowns. Why? Because when the Patriots get in tough spots against tough defenses they overly rely on Gronk to simply manhandle whomever is asked to cover him. That will happen Sunday.
  • This year has been bizarre…and bad. And that kind of year deserves the phrase “Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles”.

Philadelphia Eagles 26

New England Patriots 24

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