Bernstein: A Good Team Wins Tonight

It’s a shortened week of preparation for a road game against a winning team in a place that has been historically unkind to them.

And it’s a game the Bears have to win to validate their record, their victory over the Vikings, and – most importantly – their self-image as an unfairly doubted contender.

What Lovie Smith and his players have to understand is that no team is above skepticism, especially this year. The odd symbiosis works for them, since Smith’s primary motivational tactic is to play up the belief that media and fans think the team is bad, and each snap is a chance to prove them wrong.

The tactic is largely based on a fallacy: anyone paying attention to what really is written and said each day knows the consensus on the Bears has been quite evenhanded. They have been credited fairly for solid performances and ripped for poor ones. Rabbit-ears at Halas Hall are tuned only to the shrillest of frequencies, and filter out complexity, nuance and mitigating qualifications. This helps them feed their perverse, unprofessional need for “haters.”

So tonight’s game in Miami sets up as the best chance yet to display actual NFL quality.

The Dolphins’ quarterback is a third-string gadabout who is totally unremarkable and insignificant. He has been played up all week like a Lou Holtz opponent, but you will have forgotten his name entirely within three years.

Their best player is left tackle Jake Long, but his left shoulder was dislocated last week, and he may be replaced by a stumblebum. Long may try to play with a harness on (and enough cc’s of Xylocaine to numb a hippopotamus), and would contend with Julius Peppers.

Peppers was lured to Chicago with $91.5 million so he could take advantage of just this kind of opportunity. That money was spent to purchase victories on nights like this.

The offensive line is crowing about finally coming together, and Frank Omiyale has apparently woken up to find that he is Anthony Munoz. They will see the blitzes and dogs from Miami that Minnesota wrongly decided they didn’t need Sunday, and that have caused communication and assignment problems for the Bears all season.

A running game lauded for its resurrection has not actually gained many yards, save for Jay Cutler breaking away from pass-rushers and fleeing to open space. Commitment to running is wonderful and all, but standards should set higher – we can ask that it actually work.

With two wins after their off week thanks to mostly-solid defense, the Bears are in position to bank another victory against an injured team. Playoffs then become probable despite a daunting slate of games to come. NFL teams taking umbrage at criticism back up their words by doing what they are supposed to do, like beating the Dolphins tonight.

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Jon, Montgomery

    this won’t be a cakewalk for the bears, but i think they should win, thigpen is a good QB, he played well when he started for the chiefs, even though he only mustered one win with kansas city, he’s a good QB who’s played a little wildcat offense before, and that’s what i think miami will use for their offense for the most part tonight, as long as the bears defense can defend the wildcat, i think the bears will win.

  • The Otaf

    “gadabout” and “stumblebum” — I love it!

  • Jon, Montgomery

    however, even though i think the bears will win at miami, i think their season will go downhill from there, call me pessimistic, but i see the bears finishing out their schedule as follows:

    11: at MIA, W
    12: vs PHI, L
    13: at DET, W
    14: vs NE, L
    15: at MIN, L
    16: vs NYJ, L
    17: at GB, L

    i think the schedule is just too tough for the bears, i think they finish 8-8. no playoffs.

    • bigtime sucker

      week 15 depends on health of both teams. if rice is activated, and some of their other weapons are healthy, i agree, if it’s the same team we played last week, i disagree with you.

      we will beat one of the AFC east beasts, don’t know which one, probably the jets.

      i didn’t know if eagles was at home or away, looks like home, i call that one a pickem. if it were in philly i would agree with you whole heartedly. the bears have played M. Vick very well over the years and this game has essentially been a defacto division game because we play them every G.D. year

      • Jon, Montgomery

        i think the bears will lose at minnesota just because it’s AT minnesota, i’m not sure if they’ll still be playing, but i think the vikes come out with a little revenge and beat them. philly is playing to well right now, and if they beat the giants sunday, they’re clearly the best team in the NFC. i think the patriots kill the bears, no exceptions. no way the bears win in green bay.

        so the only loss i predited there i think could change, is the jets, depends on how the jets are going coming into that game, they haven’t exactly looked like world beaters the past 2 weeks, but i think the jets are a better team than the bears, but with the crazy NFL this year, anything could happen, so my opinion doesn’t count for much. but even if the bears do beat new york, they’ll only be 9-7, not good enough to win the NFC north or a wildcard spot, in my humble opinion. green bay is going to have 10 wins i think and with the buccaneers, saints & giants all looking to get 10+ wins, there’s no room for the bears in the wildcard picture.

        again, all just my opinion.

      • bigtime sucker

        it’s good to have a difference of opinion, one thing to keep in mind about philly, it’s at home and the bears do have 10 DAYS to rest and prepare, so that factors in as well. You are right though, Philly did look good monday night

  • bigtime sucker

    still, from a preparation stand point this game is a dousey!! not one i would want to game plan for in a shortned week. The wildcat seems to be their one true staple of what they do, and in that, they run it from different formations and personell groupings that even within that staple, there is no staple. Sometimes, like 4 times this year, it’s worked against them, sometimes like 5 times this year, it’s worked for them, but in a short week, advantage dolphins,

    BUT THEN AGAIN maybe it’s advantage bears because the short week limits the dolphins abilities to install new varietions of the wildcat and maybe they will have to stick to more familiar sets because they just haven’t had time to install new wrinkles, but who knows? this team the bears are playing are mystery. The bears on the other hand, are easy to prepare for. THe dolphins knwo what their defense looks like, and compared to the jets and patriots, and the confusing things they do, it’s probably a breath of fresh air for the dolphins. The problem for the dolphins is, despite knwoing what the bears do, the bears do what they do REALLY WELL, so maybe it’s advantage bears. I don’t know, i don’t knwo how this game feels heading into it and that puts butterflys in my tummy about this game, should be fun

    ONE THING I DO KNOW, my G. D. CABLE COMPANY does not have NFL network, i am out of WGN chicago’s broadcast area, and my wife works tonight so i can’t go to a bar. I will have to find a way to put my kids to bed early and go downstairs and watch the game online on and sometimes my ISP’s bandwith tends to dwindle down for these types of things. i am quite upset.

  • bigtime sucker

    jeff joniak, hello

  • Jon, Montgomery


    i didn’t know you could watch the NFL’s thursday and saturday night games could be watched on their website also.

    kinda like the ESPN3 website.

    as a cubs fan, would you want the ricketts to make renovations? or get a brand new stadium? abbatacola made some very interesting points on how he would like the cubs to handle their stadium on his show last night, i agreed with most of them, but the website doesn’t podcast him.

    but one of the things was that he wishes the cubs would move out of wrigleyville itself and get a brand new stadium in somewhere else near the city, i thought that was very extreme coming from a true cubs fan. i don’t think think that will ever happen, but if i was a cubs fan, i would want a new stadium. not just renovations.

  • bigtime sucker

    well, i say it depends on what all buildings depend on, FOUNDATIONS. are wrigley’s foundations solid? really, if wrigley has poor foundations, renovating become stupid because it wouldn’t be a renovation, it would be a rebuilding. it’s a pretty damned prime piece of real estate that building sits on and it is history, and it’s good for that neighborhood, i agree in principle with renovations with the following provisions. The neighborhood loosens the grasp around the cub’s neck in regards to night games. The landmark status people loosen the grasp around wrigley’s neck about zoning and restricting the renovations the cubs CAN do. There is value to keeping wrigley wrigley and i get that. BUT IF I WERE RICKETTS, buying some large empty real estate in a differnet part of the city or in the burbs wouldn’t be a bad idea either, if only as a bluff, you could always turn it into a mall if the buerocrats allow ricketts to make the changes ricketts feel he needs to make

  • bigtime sucker

    yeah, it’s a thing the NFL network does, and during breaks they cut into NFL network studios for instant annalysis, it’s cool if the bandwith holds up

  • meesohawnee

    aaah Tony and Eva. Ratts .. and here i was totally convinced marriage was not just prostitution with job security.

    • BearsFanInHoustonTx

      Tony was stupid….never mind…he is in the NBA….goes with the job

      • bigtime sucker

        i think the whole divorce is based on one thing, tony signing that 5 year deal. think about it, he was rumored to go to newyork or LA where eva could remain the star without having to travel back and forth to SA, and parker decides his team is important to him and he likes SA and then they file for divorce? she is such a diva it’s sickening

  • bigtime sucker

    that 3rd quarter last night, BRUTAL about the most uninspired basketball i have seen since the year they won 9 games. i was not suprised though, for me the whole game changed when bogans fouled Hill on a long jump shot late in the 2nd quarter. it gave the spurs just enough hope, and then their fresh legs took over, they hadn’t played in 3 days

  • Jon, Montgomery

    it’s not letting me post any long comments! (uuughh…. frustration)

    most underused offensive player in the NFL this season: BRANDON MARSHALL

    howcome the dolphins haven’t used him better? i’m scratching my head on his poor production.

    • bigtime sucker

      yeah how hard is it to say, throw it up in the air, i will come down with it. sometimes o coords can out think themselves

  • Jon, Montgomery

    my predictions for this weekends action:

    BEARS AT DOLPHINS, take chicago +1.5

    CARDINALS AT CHIEFS, take kansas city -7.5

    REDSKINS AT TITANS, take tennessee -6.5

    BROWNS AT JAGUARS, take jacksonville -1.5

    RAVENS AT PANTHERS, take baltimore -9.5

    RAIDERS AT STEELERS, take pittsburgh -7.5

    TEXANS AT JETS, take new york -7.5

    PACKERS AT VIKINGS, take minnesota +2.5

    LIONS AT COWBOYS, take dallas -6.5

    BILLS AT BENGALS, take cincinnati -6.5

    COLTS AT PATRIOTS, take new england -3.5

    SEAHAWKS AT SAINTS, take seattle +11.5

    RAMS AT FALCONS, take st. louis +2.5

    BUCCANEERS AT 49ERS, take tampa bay +3.5

    GIANTS AT EAGLES, take philadelphia -3.5

    BRONCOS AT CHARGERS, take san diego -9.5

    survivor pool pick: KANSAS CITY CHIEFS.

    taking my gambling advice is ill advised, but just thought i’d throw out who i’m playing this weekend.

  • AT3374

    Bulls fought well last night , but Rose and Noah are going to burn themselves out trying to keep the Bulls in games this season unless Boozer comes back close to 100% and doesn’t suffer another injury ( he’s good for two a year ) .

    Bears will win tonight I believe, but it will be close . Peanut will have his hands full with Brandon Marshall , but the guy to watch out for is Devone Bess their possession reciever .

    The wildcat might prove troubling , but this DEF is playing well so they should be able to contain it , just need to get of the field on 3rd downs .

    And can we please see a pass rush against their 3rd string QB ? Should get at LEAST 2 sacks and 10 hurries with Long not being 100% .

  • Jon, Montgomery

    i found this the other day, it’s so funny, must watch. it’s a parody of kane’s stanley cup winning goal done by a canadian radio station. i love it.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    i can’t believe how far MTV has fallen, sure they’re popular, but ‘jersey shore’ and ’16 & pregnant aren’t exaclty what MTV used to be, i never watch their channel now because it sucks so much. just another cool thing that went corporate. but i’m sure going to be watching the new Beavis & Butt-Head episodes when they come out, can those two goofballs save MTV? no, alas MTV has fallen to far from my standards since they stopped playing good music videos, but at least for a little while, MTV will be watched by devoted B&B fans like me, let’s hope these new episodes are good. if they’re not, that’s just something else MTV ruins.

  • bigtime sucker

    we are too old for MTV jon, if you remember that dwezel zappa was a vj, you are out of their demographic

    • Jon, Montgomery

      wow, that’s a name i had forgotten.

      but would you watch new episodes of B&B if they’re good? i love that show more than family guy, and that’s saying alot coming from me.

      • bigtime sucker

        um yeah i would, i loved roger eberts comment when he review B and B do america,
        it takes a genius to write characters that dumb

      • bigtime sucker

        i could have used martha quinns name, or the adam dude with the hair, i don’t remember his last name though, and a brian dude.

        does kurt loder still work for MTV?

  • Jon, Montgomery

    how is bristol palin still on DWTS? it’s a travisty that she’s still dancing, if she ends up winning the whole thing, i’m never watching DWTS again. i heard a guy up in wisconsin shot a bullet through his TV when bristol advanced again, it ended with a standoff with police, nobody was hurt. but it is a crime that she’s still on the show.

    by the way, ‘skating with the stars’ is going to fail miserably, i’d be surprised if they even pick it up for a 2nd season. nobody is going to watch it.

    • Denver Smeghead

      “how is bristol palin still on DWTS?”

      It could quite possibly be due to Republicans who watch the show voting to keep her on, for one reason or another. Conspiracies abound, if you look around the interwebs.

      And, speaking of a term Dan used in the post above, and the fact that it was also used in the last couple of days by one Bristol Palin: “haters” is quickly becoming another overused buzzword.

    • bigtime sucker

      my 3 year old daughter will

      I loved Derek Hough’s reaction. Also if you can find it, check out Cary-Ann on Lopez tonight last night, she said or non said something very interesting about how america usually gets it right and this time………..

  • terry boers

    How’s your harry potter?

    • AT3374

      Bi Cracky !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jon, Montgomery

    and what is with this music now a days? it sucks.

    take me to the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s.

    where a dude could listen to the likes of AC/DC, aerosmith, zeppelin, ozzy, GNR and van halen and be the coolest dude in the world, now if you tell people you like that kind of music, they think you’re an old fart. well i don’t care, i love those bands and others like them, i don’t care for this bad new music, it sounds awful, nobody can sing, and nobody plays instruments anymore, they just use electronic sounds.

    i wish kids these days knew what real music is, too bad we don’t have any good bands like the ones i mentioned today to set kids straight, they’re going to grow up on this bad music.

    • bigtime sucker

      the thing about it, when I was at that age(i do n’t know how old you are so i won’t speak on your behalf) knowledge of and respect for bands like the stones and zeppelin and the beatles the who and all who fall under them was an expected thing even as pearl jam and nirvana and soundgarden and U2, janes addiction rem counting crows, collective soul, and other bands of that era and ilk were burning up the charts. Now if a song is even 2 months old, it’s shelved. Very few songs from even 2 or theree years ago get main stream play. maybe a JAYZ classic or a notorious BIG song every now and then but other than that 3 months tends to be the shelf life for a song, and forget about whole albums, today’s generation can simply download the songs they want and leave the rest to float around cyberspace for all of eternity

      • Jon, Montgomery

        i’m just sick and tired of hearing, “i’ve got a feeling” every two seconds on every other radio station i pass through.

        ‘i’ve got a feeling’ i’ll barf if i hear it again.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    and what is with this music now a days? it sucks.

    take me to the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s.

    where a dude could listen to the likes of AC/DC, aerosmith, zeppelin, ozzy, GNR and van halen and be the coolest dude in the world, now if you tell people you like that kind of music, they think you’re an old fart. well i don’t care, i love those bands and others like them, i don’t care for this new music, it sounds awful, nobody can sing, and nobody plays instruments anymore, they just use electronic sounds.

    i wish kids these days knew what real music is, too bad we don’t have any good bands like the ones i mentioned today to set kids straight, they’re going to grow up on this bad stuff.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    this blog sucks, it always has some kind of glitch, sorry it posted twice.

  • meesohawnee

    the fact that Jon Mont has his pants down to his knees thinking of Bristol Palin watchin MTV while unemployed is a microcosm of why this country is so dooomed. !! Time to get a job bro. i do agree. a 3 year old designed this blog.


    Just like in Super Bowl XLI when the Bears last stepped foot on what’s now called SunLife Stadium in Miami, rain is believed to be in the forecast for tonight’s “Thursday Night Football” game with the Dolphins. Unlike the last time Jay Cutler played on “TNF” when he threw 5 interceptions in a clunker vs. Alex Smith and the just as bad 49ers in San Francisco, I think Cutler throws 2 TD’s tonight in the Bears’ 23-10 road win over a banged up Miami squad. I also have this feeling there may be a Kristin Cavallari sighting in one of the luxury boxes. Folks, that Cutler/Cavallari story is not going away…

  • Jon, Montgomery

    shut up meeso, i’m starting to not like you.

  • bigtime sucker

    really i didn’t know it was still a story

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