By Dan Bernstein–
This may be it – the best day of this bizarre, 2010 Bears’ season.
Two regular-season games remain, and there will be at least one playoff game. While Super Bowl dreams can warm hearts in these cold weeks, the reality is that all but one team will finish on a downer.
So you should go out of your way to soak this up before confronting what remains, especially when you consider all aspects of last night’s delicious, complete football feast.
The Bears have won their division. In a week of build-up as strange as ever has been for an otherwise standard divisional game, it was easy to lose sight of the actual significance of the outcome. Packers lost, Bears won, pass out the hats and t-shirts. (But remember the rule: the only time you can wear “Division Champion” swag and not look like a loser is before the team loses in the playoffs or after it wins the Super Bowl. Any time outside of those parameters is verboten)
Jay Cutler looked like a stud QB in a nationally-televised night game. Three touchdowns, a 106.6 passer efficiency rating, and deft footwork in a slippery pocket had the excitable broadcasting clowns slobbering their giddy, staccato superlatives over someone other than the opposing counterpart. You’ll notice that today, at least, will be free of the criticism of Cutler’s leadership, since that perceived trait is a proxy for on-field performance, as projected and argued by clods.
Mike Martz called a nice mix of runs and passes, and broke free of the post-off-week constraints with the play of the game — a gutsy, vintage call on 1st and 30 that resulted in a gorgeous bomb to a streaking Johnny Knox. The offensive line, even, appeared competent.
An emotional Devin Hester understood and felt the significance of his record-breaking punt return score. Even we hardened Bears observers can be moved when our own, real-life Forrest Gump says something like this after the game: “Just coming out of college, coaches told me I wasn’t going to be anything but a kickoff and punt returner, but I’m here today to say I am a kickoff and punt returner, but at the same time, I’m the best to ever do it.”
Yes, you are.
And, perhaps best of all, the Favre-Monster may finally have been slain. A clean, hard tackle by Corey Wootton left Favre satisfyingly still on the frozen turf, like a walleye pulled through the ice and placed next to the hole. After this one last, astonishingly melodramatic camera-grab, he walked off the field in a woozy fog and may ultimately shamble back to his swamp for good.
It’s a good day, and there may be nothing better this year to top it. Appreciate it.