Posts tagged Monday Morning Glory
MONDAY MORNING GLORY: How much longer will 'THEY' deny the Bears?
USATSI

USATSI

What more do you have to do to earn respect? Field the most dominant team in the NFL? Hold the NFL’s top offense to six points and zero touchdowns? Go from worst-to-first in the span of a year? Exorcise your demons against THAT team and THAT quarterback? The one who made it a point to remind everyone how much success he’s had in your home crib.

What else do the Chicago Bears have to do for the nation to consider them as a legitimate Super Bowl contender?

The Monsters reclaimed the NFC North for the first time in eight years on Sunday, beating the Green Bay Packers 24-17. The game was never a certainty for the Bears; a ridiculous fake punt failed at midfield, giving Packers QB Aaron Rodgers good field position and setting themselves up for the game-tying touchdown & two-point conversion. On the next Chicago drive, Tarik Cohen coughed up the football deep in Packer territory, handing the knife back to the surgeon that has carved up this franchise up game-after-game for most of the last decade.

All of a sudden, serenity suddenly turned into panic. The familiar feeling of impending doom started to creep up from behind the loyal Bears fanbase, starving for success after four-straight seasons of putrid, last-place finishes.

But while Packers fans stood by with smug looks on their faces, anticipating another comeback win from their arrogant gunslinger, there was just one problem…

No one told the Bears defense they should be worried.

“We don’t know how to quit,” said Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks post-game. “There’s so many guys in this room that care about one another and have bought into what we’re trying to build here and want this to be a great team… that when we’re up against the wall, we’re gonna keep fighting.”

Leonard Floyd, the second first rounder taken during the Ryan Pace era, sacked Rodgers on the following play, and the defense held for a 3-and-out on that drive. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky then lead the Bears on a five-play, 45-yard drive capped off with a Trey Burton touchdown that put Chicago ahead for good.

“I’m most proud of the type of guys we have in our locker room, the culture we’ve created,” said Trubisky, who bounced back from the worst game of his career a week ago against the Rams and completed 20-of-28 passes for 235, two touchdowns and no interceptions. “We know that nobody really believed in us on the outside in the preseason or even throughout the season, but we know what type of team we had.”

The defense held serve, picking off Rodgers in the endzone - his first in 402 passing attempts, FOX wouldn’t fail to remind you - and sealing a division crown for the Bears. It was a fairytale moment for the city of Chicago, long haunted by number 12 and his penchant for sucking the hope from the hearts of those who bleed orange and blue. This is how it had to happen. This is how the Bears needed to win the division. This is how they needed to show the nation that Chicago can compete for the Lombardi Trophy.

Alas, what was the biggest story on NFL Gameday Prime that night?

“What is the Bears biggest liability?”

What more must they do to prove to the Shannon Sharpe’s and the Stephen A. Smith’s of the world that they belong?

A week ago, the narrative from national media was that the Rams don’t play well in the cold, but in reality, Vic Fangio devised the perfect gameplan to stop an explosive LA Rams offense (one that the Eagles duplicated last night). During the week, it was how the Cowboys are more dangerous in the playoffs than the Bears. Yes, that same Dallas Cowboys team that laid a goose egg in Indianapolis on Sunday. This week, it’s how Trubisky is the “weak link” that will hold the Bears back. Soon enough, they will run out of red herrings, and they’ll have to admit the truth: the Bears have the George Halas trophy, and a trip to Atlanta, well within reach.

All they have to do is take it.

QUICK HITS

George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers won’t be playing in January, but they just got a huge win on Sunday over a Seattle Seahawks team fighting for a wild card spot. You’d think Kittle would be on cloud nine, but really, he was trying to hurry the fuck up and get to San Jose for Sunday’s WWE TLC show.

First off, that shirt is fucking fire. As a lover of wrestling tees, vintage and new, I commend his style choice. You can never go wrong with a Stone Cold Steve Austin tee. It’s the Ol’ Reliable of pro wrestling tees! You know when you wear one, you’re gonna receive tons of compliments not just from fans, but normal people who stopped watching wrestling when they realized in fifth grade that they liked girls, but damn that Stone Cold Steve Austin was a mean sumbitch wasn’t he?!

Also, I understand it… Priorities first. Why do I wanna be here answering all these stupid ass questions to help some writer from The Athletic write his post-game recap when Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte are about to tear each others faces off in a Tables Ladders and Chairs match and I’M ALREADY LATE?!?!?!?!?! Fuck your questions bruh bruh, I need to get to these ringside seats ASAP!

Monday Morning Glory: A-A-Ron having his worst season... and I love it!

After every Chicago Bears touchdown at Nisei Lounge, a friendly, comforting little dive bar tucked into Clark and Sheffield in Chicago’s bro-ey Wrigleyville neighborhood, the patrons - many of which donning the orange and blue - happily sing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears”, the proud fight song of the hometown team. Once the song gets to its second verse, however, the song changes from “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” to “Fuck Tom Brady, Fuck Tom”.

Now I don’t participate in the remix because it goes against my hidden-but-not-so-hidden-anymore man crush of Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. But I’m impatiently waiting for Dec. 16th to arrive when the 8-3 NFC North-leading Bears host the arch-rival Green Bay Packers, so I can finally join in on the second verse with some lyrics of my own…

“FUCK AARON RODGERS! FUCK A-A-RON!”

Since breaking Chicago’s hearts in Week One with his improbable comeback in Lambeau, Rodgers and the Packers have gone 3-6-1, leaving them with only a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs. They’re tied for the easiest schedule remaining in football, with their hardest contest being the Bears match-up in three weeks, but while Rodgers thinks “with a little help” his team can win out and make the playoffs, the Packers look dead in the water in 2018, and Bears fans are enjoying every second that Packers fans are in pain.

The scapegoat has been head coach Mike McCarthy, who will likely be fired at season’s end despite a .621 winning percentage, a Super Bowl win and multiple trips to the NFC Championship Game. For years, McCarthy has been accused of running a stagnant offense, and that’s partially true, but McCarthy’s offense doesn’t mask Rodgers’ inconsistencies this year.

From SI:

Yes, Rodgers’s unique style, which few QBs have enough talent to call upon, has led to some of his most spectacular plays. But in the aggregate, it also creates the illusion of dysfunction around him. To television viewers, Rodgers runs around because his O-line breaks down. Or because, presumably, receivers aren’t getting open. And they’re not getting open because the scheme isn’t helping them. Sometimes this is the case. But just as often, the glitches aren’t coming from everyone around the quarterback, but from the quarterback himself.

Has McCarthy’s coaching decisions been baffling? Sure. Here the Packers line up in a jumbo set on 4th and inches and run the ball right into a waiting 10-man box, costing the Packers an opportunity to drive down the field and take the lead, and giving the Vikings the ball back with good field positioning.

But it’s not just McCarthy, or the depleted talent in Green Bay. Much of the Packers struggles fall on their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

Rodgers completed 17 of 28 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown in last night’s 24-17 loss to the Vikings. He hasn’t looked well all season; despite already eclipsing 3200 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and throwing just one interception all year, Rodgers has been wildly inconsistent throwing the football On back-to-back plays late in the game with Green Bay needing 10 points to tie, Rodgers badly missed Equanimeous St. Brown on a throw into the turf, and then overthrew a wide-open Davante Adams in the endzone.

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t normally miss those throws. Those key plays we’ve grown accustomed to Rodgers making, aren’t being made. You can’t blame it on injury; he’s looked relatively healthy since Week Two. It may be the offense, the lack of talent surrounding him, father time, or all three… but you can’t sugarcoat it: Aaron Rodgers is having the worst season of his career, and his poor play will cost a lot of people their jobs after the season.

QUICK HITS

After two-and-a-half years of Hue Jackson (on top of three decades of ineptitude) and an 0-16 season, the Cleveland Browns deserve good things to happen to them. They took a step towards turning the corner Sunday with a 35-20 win on the road over in-state rival Cincinnati. The AJ Green-less Bengals looked like they have every game in which AJ Green has been inactive: terrible. I didn’t think they could look worse, and then Andy Dalton went out with a thumb injury, and the Bengals inserted Jeff Driskel (yes, THAT Jeff Driskel) in at quarterback. All the good things kept happening for Cleveland, and not only did they take advantage of it, they shoved it right back into their former coach's face.

After the ass-whupping, Browns QB Baker Mayfield got up to the podium and let his feelings be known about his old ball coach.

Good for Baker. He dealt with the stupidity of Hue starting Tyrod Taylor over him the first few games before he pulled the franchise out of the darkness in one half. The Browns now have back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. Slowly, Cleveland football is returning to respectability.

And good for them to stick it to Hue. It was obvious during the taping of Hard Knocks that Hue - after one win in two seasons - was not for long in Cleveland. He got canned and went back to Cincinnati, a team the Browns had to play twice this season, knowing all their tricks and personnel, and STILL got blown out. Now there’s rumor Hue could be the one to FINALLY replace Marvin Lewis at the Bengals head coach. I hope I’m apart of the majority that hopes he gets the job, so Baker and the Browns can beat up on Hue twice a season for the foreseable future.

Wilson, Luck ELITE

I would like to personally apologize to two QBs from the 2012 Draft; one I’ve been a big fan of for years, the other I’ve disrespected for way too long.

Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck… I’m sorry.

The both of you are elite quarterbacks.

The Seahawks have battled everything from dysfunction to injury and everything in between to stay in the NFC Wild Card race, with Sunday’s 30-27 win in Carolina being the biggest so far for the 6-6 Seahawks. Trailing 27-20 with under four minutes left in the game, Seattle needed to convert on 4th and 3, or they give the ball back to the Panthers up 7. Forever clutch, Wilson took over, first on this 35-yard bomb to David Moore…

…and then on this huge third down pass to Tyler Lockett that set up Sebastian Janikowski for the game-winning field goal.

Before the season, I was hesitant to put Russell Wilson in that elite QB category with Brady-Brees-Rodgers, but the way he’s willed Seattle this season magnifies his importance to the team and the league. Over Seattle’s NFC dominance, it was easy to forget Wilson’s ability to make special plays on every snap because of the presence of so many other special players - Lynch, Bennett, Wagner the Legion of Boom, etc. - but now that most of those players are gone, Wilson stands alone as the star in Seattle, and he’s shining brighter than ever this season.

Also, he does sweet shit like this…that even the most dedicated Future fan can’t hate on.

Now it’s time for Andrew Luck…

I’ve never found Luck to be a special quarterback. GOOD, for sure, but not special. After a year away, he’s making me eat my words… and quietly inserting himself into the League MVP conversation. Luck completed 30 passes for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, becoming the first to throw for 3 or more TD’s in eight consecutive games since Tom Brady did so in 10 games back in 2007. It was Luck’s 20th comeback win, his tenth comeback of 10+ points. Oh yeah, and he caught a pass Sunday. Probably not ideal for a man coming back from shoulder surgery, but cool as hell.

The Colts have won five straight, and not only are they in Wild Card contention in the AFC, a loss tonight by the Texans would put them a game behind Houston in the division with one more game between the two teams in two weeks. The Colts are in good position to sneak up and surprise some teams in December.