Bernstein: Bears Better

By Dan Bernstein–

I’m sure a gambler can explain to me how the Bears’ 16-0 dismantling of the Dolphins somehow qualifies as an upset. Some lines had them as a 2.5-point underdog at kickoff, with Miami a clear, consensus favorite.

Nobody knew Brandon Marshall would pop a hamstring (and don’t you just feel so bad about that? What a sweet kid.), or that the center would be the aptly-named Richie Incognito. And, yes, it was a road game on short rest against a winning team.

Many of us daring to think that the #3 quarterback just might be bad at football were sternly put in our place by those touting Tyler Thigpen’s untapped magic. Jake Long’s dislocated shoulder and torn labrum? Mere nuisances.

But come on, people. Seriously.

Lovie Smith managed his superior team nicely, playing to its strengths and away from weaknesses. This is one of the NFL’s best defenses, and it deserves the trophy that is a rare, road shutout. The other team is scrambling to cobble together an offensive line? Get six sacks. The only reliable aspect of their offense is the run game? Roll up a safety and fill the box.

Special teams provided for a noteworthy punt return and three field goals. It is another phase in which the Bears remain among the best in the league.

Offensively, the Thorazine that Smith slipped into Mike Martz’s coffee during the bye week has yet to wear off. They converted 10 of 18 third downs and ran the ball 40 times for 135 net yards. Jay Cutler threw one boneheaded pick, but also made some accurate, drive-extending throws while using his underappreciated speed and athleticism to keep plays alive and positive, especially with Cameron Wake windburning the overmatched J’Marcus Webb.

(On that subject, it may be tempting for some to compare Cutler’s play in a conservative gameplan to that of lesser-talented Bears QB’s who preceded him. It’s a mistake to do so, if you watch what Cutler actually has to do so often each game. His fine arm and feet still matter.)

No apologies are necessary for winning this game over this team. This is not comparable to the sheepish victory over then-winless Buffalo, when the season was saved, arguably, by the fortuitous outcome of one play that staved off embarrassment.

This was a no-doubt waxing of a team just asking for it. Even if it was an “upset.”

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Chet's Inflated Ego

    Nice win, glad the D got the shutout.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Minnesota Vikings- Bad Bad!
    Green Bay Packers- Good! Good!
    Chicago Bears- Still Gaining Acceptance…

  • Denver Smeghead

    The announcers were, as expected, awful to listen to last night. It was a complete love fest between Theismann and Millen, and Papa just sucks.

    And, as expected, I feel no better about this team than before the game. Yeah, it’s great that the D got the shutout. But the offense, while methodical in eating up the clock in the second half, still struggled as a whole imo when they need to show more.

  • bigtime sucker

    I have to appologize for being so annoying and agonizing over the difficulty of preparing for this game. Although i do have to admit, i never suspected sporano would take his stupid pills when formulating a game plan

    • Jon, Montgomery

      0 plays from the wildcat offense???? what was he thinking?

      miami came in with no game plan at all.

      and i’ll say this, bears defense looks as good as 2006, but the offense is not going to take the bears anywhere this year. what’s with the redzone struggles? you won’t be able to settle for field goals when you play the eagles, patriots & jets. the bears defense won’t be able to hold those offenses to a shut-out while the bears just kick 3-pointers. you need touchdowns.

      • BearsFanInHoustonTx

        AGREE! it was a sloppy win.

  • bigtime sucker

    one thing I know for sure, the NFL needs to get rid of these thursday night games, move them to saturday if you want more primetime, or even friday to give teams a chance to game plan a little but this thursday stuff, it reminded me of a preseason game in which the starters just so happened to play the whole game

  • Jon, Montgomery

    this win doesn’t mean you beat a good team, miami isn’t, it’s just another win against a bad team with injuries… and next week, if vick is starting and healthy, the eagles are going to put a beatdown on the bears, the bears aren’t as good as their 7-3 record might indicate.

  • bigtime sucker

    i heard some sports writers mention that the vast majority of these games are just wrought with bad football

    • Jon, Montgomery

      if you mean all the bears games, yes.

      1. detroit, ugly
      2. dallas, bad football by the cowboys
      3. green bay, bad football by green bay
      4. giants, UGLY
      5. carolina, the panthers are just bad
      6. seattle, UGLY
      7. washington, UGLY UGLY UGLY
      9. buffalo, UGLY
      10. minnesota, vikings aren’t playing the football they’re capible of playing right now.
      11. miami, bad football by the dolphins.

      none of those wins can i say from an un-biased standpoint are impressive, we thought the cowboys game was, but dallas is just bad, but hey, at least they beat the giants right? the NFL is sooooo bad this year.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        Nice analysis, they have been winning ugly.

      • bigtime sucker

        NO i meant most thursday night games in general, the ravens falcons game was ok but most of them are these offensive sludge fests full of turnovers and sloppy play. i am excluding the TG day games featuring the cowboys(the lions suck and get pasted every year) because teams generally rise above the sludge because those games are special, but the night games are usually bad. and jon, i am cautiously optimistic about next sunday. The bears have played Vick pretty well. i believe they have 3 out of their last 4 against Philly. they have 10 days off to heal bumps and bruises and they are a healthy team to boot. Their defense played well but also was generally untested and wasn’t on the field very long, so they will be fresh, they will have time to scout and game plan and they have been playing well. i think the eagles are more talented but this might be a perfect storm for chicago next sunday.

  • D.O

    It seemed to me after the Forte TD, that the offense decided to just shut down and run out the clock and end the game. So I don’t even judge the O at all from that TD onward. But I’d feel better about them if they converted at least one of those FG drives into a TD instead.

    • bigtime sucker

      and it wasn’t as if miami was sporting a bad defense going into the game and it’s not as if miami’s d was bad last night. give their d credit,weren’t they a top 5 defense against the pass going into the game and in the top ten overall? so, it’s not all gloom and doom as far as i am concerned

  • Objective Fan

    The Bears are a horrible team. They really should be 0-10 right now.

    • scott

      Omg you my friend are just not smart.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      well, could i say the bills should be 9-0 right now??? probably not, but the point is, the record always shows games that could’ve gone either way, such as washington & seattle, those could have been wins. but then you look at games like detroit and buffalo and say, those could have been losses. the game of football is full of woulda/coulda/shoulda, hey if favre just ran for 5 yards in last year’s NFC title game against the saints, we probably would be talking about a vikings super bowl championship and brett probably retired, because the vikes were sure better than indianapolis, but no… favre threw the interception and the bad overtime rules allowed a saints team to win when they probably shouldn’t have. but that’s the way the game of football goes.

      so… the bears might not be actually as good as a 7-3 record says, but that’s the record they have, and nobody can take that away from them, not even the officials from the detroit game. the bears so far have won 7 games, and lost 3 games. and that’s that.

      • SPAULDING!

        I think the worst overtime rules are NHL regular season.
        Let’s say two goalies go 60 minutes and yield 2 or fewer goals apiece. How can you tell those players “sorry guys, it’s all on your shoulders’ now to finish this game in fake hockey.”
        I say pull the goalies after 4 on 4 five, and have a 3 on 3 pond game.

        I’d feel sorry for Favre, if he hadn’t stuffed that regulation-ending play into his pocket multiple times before and after.

        But, Minnesota had that game. The Colts have gone backwards with one of the best QBs ever.

      • Chet's Inflated Ego

        To quote Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.”

      • Objective Fan

        The Bears are the least talented team in the NFL right now. It would be a shame if this team makes the playoffs this year.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    so, my thing is, show me you can hang with the eagles next sunday and i’ll start to believe in this bears team, i still think they’ll free-fall when that tough schedule comes to breakfast, starting next week with philly.

    and something that got lost in translation last night, the illini lost to texas in new york, that game was very ugly, i actually watched most of it. the illini were doing alright in the 2nd half, but after tisdale fouled out, they couldn’t score for peanuts, because McCamee was being covered with a blanket, they couldn’t get the ball to him, paul couldn’t make his open shots down the stretch, and when they went to overtime, texas just ran away and hid. so, the illini clearly can be beaten and they really need to beat north carolina to gain their credibility back. then they go to gonzaga, phew! tough games for the illini coming up. but needless to say… a win against texas sure would’ve been a moral booster. but hey, at least the loss wasn’t to a big10 team.

    • bigtime sucker

      they have kinks they need to work out before big 10 schedule starts but i have faith that they will find the right mix. they certainly have the talent.

  • Chris in Scottsdale
  • Jon, Montgomery

    some news of my interest. god… how stupid are you mike williams??? you’ve been in so much trouble already, and you’re playing great so far this season, and njow you go get busted at 3am for driving under the influence of something, whether it was pot or liquer i don’t care, we need you to help our team win, how can you do something like this? i really hope that urine test doesn’t come back positive. we really really don’t need this distraction on the team right now. (sigh)

  • crash corrigan

    The game mirrored the Bears recent progress: slow, steady improvement, kinda boring and probably not of much interest to anyone outside of Chicago. But it worked and 3 out of the next 6 will get you a playoff berth.

  • Objective Fan

    This is why I hate sports sometimes. You have a bad and boring team like the Bears possibly making the playoffs. And then you have a fun and talented team like the Cubs miss the playoffs the last 2 years. It’s just not fair!

    • Jon, Montgomery

      i seriously hope you’re not comparing baseball to football.

      and the cubs, “fun and talented”… “last 2 years”…


      the cubs were bad the past 2 years! what are you smoking???!!!

  • Jon, Montgomery

    post part 1 of 2:

    something i wanted to bring up, i don’t know what everybodies personal religion is, and i like to keep that out of our conversations on this blog. but i wanted to say something.

    i’m as much of a christmas guy as there is, i love christmas and i love to celebrate it. but i also love to celebrate thanksgiving, thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and grateful and spend time with your loving and caring family and enjoy life’s blessings, and then we feel good, (maybe our digestive track doesn’t, LOL), and then we move on into december and get in the christmas spirit, and i love the feeling of that.

    but i’ve noticed over the past few years and this year again and even more prominent this year. that stores and businesses and even some neighborhood houses, have been celebrating christmas since the day after halloween, i’ve seen christmas stuff in stores, holiday decorations on the street light posts and even a few houses with christmas stuff up already, and since monday, i believe i heard that 93.9FM has started playing holiday music.

    now don’t get me wrong, i love christmas. but i beg to ask the question to everybody…

  • Jon, Montgomery

    post part 2 of 2:

    what’s going on here?

    have we completely forgotten thanksgiving? do we just want to get a head start on christmas shopping? do we want to be in the christmas spirit early? i frankly don’t care what the excuse is, but i think all these d+mn fools celebrating christmas before thanksgiving need to be locked up. christmas is special, and i love the feeling of it. but no sooner than ‘black friday’ do i want to see a single holiday decoration, hear any holiday music, or anything like that. we need to give thanksgiving it’s justice, it’s not just about eating food, it’s about thinking about family and friends and being thankful for what we have, sitting down for a nice dinner, and being humble.

    i know i’m rambling again. but the bottom line is, christmas shouldn’t be celebrated until december. it shouldn’t start being celebarted the day after halloween. we need to slow down a little bit and be thankful for what we have before getting in the holiday spirit. i’m fine with christmas, but please america, stop getting the holiday spirit on waaaay too soon.

    thank you.

    • bigtime sucker

      my original reply didn’t post but if you’re a desperate store owner and think christmas will get the c-card machines singing, than that’s what you do

    • KazooBoy

      Jon I’m a born again Christian. Christmas (and Easter for that matter) as we know it and celebrate it is a pagan holday (look it up I don’t have time here). To me it’s been commercialized and American-ized. I just celebrate it as the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    • Chet's Inflated Ego

      You are 100% correct Jon.

      I personally distinguish the 4Q retail earning holiday of Xmas with the Incarnation of a Savior at Christmas.

      • SPAULDING!

        I want my three dollar TV!
        Some of the plastic toys that are coming out of China are absolutely depressing.
        You can open up the package, and the stuff is falling apart; like a toy police set.
        Absolute waste of everything involved.

        Let’s keep our fingers crossed that someone doesn’t pop up in a cranked out holiday movie this year.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    They’re now only using one endzone during the U of I – NW game.

    • Denver Smeghead

      Cue one of Doug Buffone’s “Morons!” sound bytes toward the Big Ten.

    • Jon, Montgomery

      incredible, i thought it was dangerous, but i’ve never seen anything like this, using one endzone. as long as it prevents an injury, it’ll be worth it. but still, wow.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    now all of those people that bought tickets in that east endzone so they could be right on top of the field are getting the short end of the stick. i said it before this happened, they really should’ve planned the dimensions of the football field better.

    • bigtime sucker

      safety is more important but this is embarrasing,that winter classic hockey game which was a novelty now has everybody figuring out how to get their event into wrigley in spite of the stadium’s limitations. what’s next? UFC 130, 31, or 32 next summer? Summer slam? the 2012 democratic national convention? oh wait, obama would insist ont he cell, and chances are the host city has alredy been determined, promise keepers? benny hinn? how about the premire of the next vince vaughn movie? the mtv music awards? or maybe conan can do a show there? or a broadway play?

      • bigtime sucker

        i mean the one way endzone is something you would expect in ajr high game or peewee football, not big 10 college football, that’s a little bushleague if you ask me, a little forthought jim delaney, quit rushing to the buck

  • mad as hell fan....

    Bears played a dominating game last night, two in a row. In today’s NFL where it seems every game is close that is something that should be respected. Defense is one of the better units again, great against the run. Special teams is the best in football, and they are progressing offensviely. It isn’t the Bears fault that their opposition has been mediocre, good teams dominate mediocre-bad teams….Bears have done that the last two weeks. I don’t call that “ugly”, I call that “doing what good teams are supposed to do.”

    And there was a pretty entertaining college basketball game on last night involving a team from Champaign, too bad for them they couldn’t get the job done but entertaining early college bball game nonetheless. Illinois still has the same problem they did the last few years since James Augustine left……bad against good/atheltic frontlines. That TX freshmen Tristan Thompson embarrassed Tisdale. Tisdale can be very effective against mediocre frontlines but what does our friend JGoff say about those type of players? BUMSLAYERS! That is what Tisdale is. He couldn’t match up against their frontline at all. They better figure out how to get that 5 star freshmen C developed pretty quick if they want to compete with JaJuan Johnson, Jared Sullinger, Jon Leuer, Delvin Roe and Draymond Green.

  • bigtime sucker

    and this is something that had to always be a possibility and probably was in the works but unnannounced because ticket sales would have plummeted. leaving it unnannounced until a day before game time was about as bushleague as you can get. don’t try to tell me that they “just decided this” EVERYBODY knew that endzone would be a problem from the day they announced that the game was being discussed. i am so glad i don’t have tickets for that game and feel sorry for those who payed premium dollars to sit in that endzone


    To borrow a common term “Boers & Bernstein” would use, Dolphins’ QB Tyler Thigpen was bad at football last night. The Bears’ defense took full advantage of a makeshift, injury-ravaged offensive line that lost its backup center & WR Brandon Marshall to a hamstring. The Dolphins may have Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams on their roster, but they rarely ran the damn ball on the Bear “D”! If the Bears/Dolphins’ game were a fight, the referee would have stopped it early. The Bears beat those bums to a bloody pulp last night and Thigpen ought to be doing nights at US 99.5 rather than quarterbacking an NFL team!

  • bigtime sucker

    i love wrigley but it’s a baseball stadium, it was cool as a hockey stadium for one day, but this football game is just ill conceived and rushed, NOT A FAN

    • BearsFanInHoustonTx

      ask the old guys when the Bears and Cardinals use to play at Wrigley…granted I agree with you that basball stadiums make bad venues now…but they are just looking for a way to put some green in Ricketts pocket … and promote his bond idea to a different crowd.

      • bigtime sucker

        well yeah, but this game doesn’t happen if the winter classic didn’t happen, i think the cubs are hosting a badly conceived effort to cash in on the success of that magical event.

  • AT3374

    Team did what it was supposed to , beat a very bad football team . Miami is going back to how their offense was a few years ago before they shocked everyone with the Wildcat and even that didn’t get them to the Superbowl .

    Sure the team would be different with healthy players at key positions , but the Bears did what they needed to do . Though watching this game made me wish it was Sunday and I was watching NFL Red Zone so I didn’t have to sit through all the boring parts .

    Look forward to the next statement game against the Eagles , though I think Andy Reid will find a way to cost the Eagles a win like he did a year ot two ago , running Westbrook 3 times up the middle against the Bears DEF on the goal line . How this guy is still coaching is beyond me .

    • bigtime sucker

      reid is coaching because his win percentage is amazing especially in the first two rounds of the playoffs, he develops talent, adjusts, changes, has had big time offenses and has won with defense and special teams. i mean, he had d mcnabb, had the sack to get rid of him, and actually got the team better. i respect reid as a coach, but i think the bears will beat them, i just think all the ingrediants will be in place for a bears win

  • General Soreness

    The Bears did exactly what they were supposed to do last night….shutout an injury depleted offense. That is a good and healthy D which can take a team very far in this league (Remember the Ravens of 2000-2001). C’mon people enjoy the ride.

  • bigtime sucker

    people are just never satisfied general, did you listen to the post game show?
    during the schoop era, we didn’t throw the ball down field enough
    bring in terry shae, too many seven step drops got qb killed
    bring in ron turner, too conservative
    bring in mike martz, not conservative enough
    martz becomes conservative, we aren’t prolific enough

    winning isn’t enough anymore. what people are complaining about is this but they don’t know how to say it


    i think it’s due to years and years and years of watching indy and new england, minnesota, green bay,the old (90’s)rams,denver dallass of the 90’s and SF of the 80’s and early 90’s and even the steelers win titles and make superbowls with prolifiic offenses while we were running and playing defense. people want wins but are STARVED to see what good offense would look like in a bears uniform. that’s why they are unhappy and unconfident in this team

    • General Soreness

      I guess that everyone wants to recapture that ’85 feelin’. That’s OK. To me, Ws are all that matters in a 16 game regular season. Would I like to see more spectacular catches and huge runs? YES. But I’ll take a good defensive game and so-so offense with a win any day over a huge offensive game in which the Bears still lose. Sometimes we can’t have both. The O-line has been playing a little better though, and that’s encouraging.

      Anyway, I am ready to see how our Bulls fare against Dirk and his boys tonight. I love this team.


      I am going to say that a lesser coach would have had his boys dropped off at the airport, meet on the practice field, get to the locker room, and “see you on Monday.”
      “Just don’t end up in the MIami blotter–see you later.”
      Lovie Smith had his guys check into a modest hotel (if I heard Peggy Kozinski correct). Probably gave them a curfew, and these guys were professional enough to come ready to play in sin city south.

      • bigtime sucker

        in 05 and 06, it was clear that the bears enforced a dress code for all games, starting in 07 it was alleviated, this year it looks to be reinstated. that may seem insignificant but it does create an environment of professionalism. we are on a business trip boys. i know it probably means nothing but i like it, i like to know this team is a professional football team

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