By Shawn Muller–
Apparently one storm wasn’t enough of a beating for the Chicago Bears and their fans on Sunday.
Like a great prize fighter, Mother Nature unleashed a vicious one-two combo of blistering winds and steady snowfall upon the unfortunate souls inside Soldier Field. Once her dominance had been established, the New England Patriots were called upon to deliver the knockout blow…and the Patriots answered Mother Nature’s call perfectly.
In other words: yesterday was flat out ugly.
Mother Nature proved her superiority over the mere mortals in the stands and those brave souls who ventured out into the elements to catch the game at their favorite watering holes throughout the city .
The New England Patriots proved their superiority over the entire National Football League with their impressive 36-7 dismantling of the Chicago Bears.
Prior to Sunday’s kickoff, the Bears were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Chicago had won five straight contests since coming off of the bye in Week 8. Normally, a team sitting alone at the top of the NFC North standings with an overall record of 9-3 would merit league-wide respect. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the Bears. Critics looked at the opponents combined record of 23-37 during the winning streak. Fairly or unfairly, that stat alone was enough to make people wonder if Chicago was a legit threat come playoff time, or simply a team preying on weaker competition.
So, where did it all go wrong for Chicago in a game this important?
Short answer: Tom Brady.
Apparently Mr. Brady didn’t get the memo about the inclement weather conditions pummeling our city. Brady and the New England offense abused Chicago defenders like rented mules all afternoon. The sure fire hall-of-fame quarterback completed 27 passes on 40 attempts for 369 yards and two scores. As a team, the Patriots garnered 475 total yards of offense and 27 first downs.
The complete game by Tom Brady and his Patriots offense weren’t the only problems that plagued the Bears defense. Rod Marinelli’s unit also failed to create any turnovers for the second straight game. For a team that relies heavily on the defense to make big plays such as the Bears do, this stat has to change come playoff time.
As for the Bears offense…it too was virtually non-existent, both on the ground and through the air.
On the ground, Chicago stumbled its way to just 47 yards and one score. The anemic run game, however, was not to be out done by the putrid passing game. A lack of accurate throws and dropped balls did in the Bears passing attack. To put it nicely, quarterback Jay Cutler couldn’t have hit ice if he fell out of an igloo yesterday afternoon. The Bears signal caller was just 12 of 26 for a measly 152 yards and no scores. Cutler also managed to throw two picks on the day, one of which was returned for a Patriots touchdown. In total the Bears managed just 12 first downs and a whopping 185 total yards while turning the ball over four times.
I think Bears Linebacker Brian Urlacher summed up the teams performance against New England perfectly after the game. Urlacher said, “we got our butts kicked”.
Yes you did Brian…yes you did.
Fortunately, not everything was a negative for Chicago on Sunday.
Green Bay managed to lose to the lowly Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the Motor City. With both the Packers and the Bears losing this week, Chicago kept its one game lead in the division over Green Bay with just three weeks remaining.
The Bears also may have gained some good news before facing the Vikings next Sunday.
After a blizzard basically buried the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, snow accumulation caused the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome (the home of the Minnesota Vikings) to collapse. So how exactly does this potentially help the Bears? Well, I will tell you. With the Vikings home stadium out of commission this weekend, and potentially next weekend as well, the league is looking at alternate venues for the game against Chicago. One possibility is Detroit’s Ford Field. Minnesota’s game against the Giants (tonight) has already been moved to Detroit, so there is a strong possibility the league will keep the Vikings in Detroit for one more week. One has to think that the proximity of Detroit to Chicago, as opposed to Detroit and Minneapolis, could make this game a de-facto home game for the Bears.
At this point in the season, any little advantage helps, and this situation may just help the Bears if it comes to fruition.
Teams lay an egg from time to time and Chicago laid a big one yesterday. Don’t start panicking yet. The New England Patriots are clearly the class of the NFL this season and odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl.
There is still a lot of season left and a lot to play for. Erase all memory of the New England game, take a step back, and start from scratch.
On to Minnesota…er…Detroit…er…
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in Chicago for 7 years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just recently received his certificate in radio broadcasting in October of 2010. Sports have always been a passion of Shawn’s. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, “Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.