By Dan Bernstein
As soon as the Packers’ late interception of Michael Vick sealed the certainty that the 8-9 Seattle Seahawks — the worst NFL team to ever win a playoff game — would face the Bears Sunday at noon, the sides of my head started doing what they do…
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Of course it worked out this way. The 2010-11 Bears have had fortune smile upon them from the moment Calvin Johnson’s obvious TD was nullified in week one, and this is just the kind of thing that would happen. They back into a first-round bye, and now must beat only the conference’s weak sister to reach the NFC title game. This is great.
The same “weak sister” that beat the Bears 23-20 in October? That game wasn’t even that close, really, after that late score on the Hester punt return. Remember what you were thinking and saying about the Bears then before you get all excited about them being 9 ½ -point favorites.
That was a different Bears team, obviously. That loss was what caused Lovie Smith, Jerry Angelo and Mike Tice to somehow stop the offensive coordinator from leading them on a pass-crazy Death Martz. Ever since, the line has blocked better, there have been fewer dangerous, seven-step drops, and they have committed to the run game with a rejuvenated Matt Forte.
Sure. Fine. But that has nothing to do with how badly their defense got dissected by Matt Hasselbeck. The pressure from the front four was nonexistent, and he spent all day exploiting the holes in the zones. Mike Williams worked over Charles Tillman for ten catches and 123 yards. Hasselbeck is healthy enough, now, and really good. He’s a confident, playoff-tested performer.
Lance Briggs didn’t play that day, either, so that’s a pro-bowler worth of difference on that side of the ball. And, seriously, we can argue small points all day, but the Seahawks just aren’t as good as the Bears. It’s better than the alternative, right? There’s nothing wrong with celebrating another lucky outcome in a season full of them.
First of all, Briggs’ replacement, Brian Iwuh, led the team in tackles that day. More importantly, aren’t you the same guy that has spent all season admitting that you can’t tell up from down in this NFL? The same guy who laughs at how each week’s “Keys to the Game” are pretty much pointless, since the winner is always determined more by weird bounces, rule interpretations and general randomness? Scoff at a seemingly-weak foe at your own peril.
Forecasts call for single-digit wind chills Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks are a west coast team making a long flight in for a noon game in a hostile environment.
So? The only home team to win so far in the playoffs is…the Seahawks. Don’t even start with the cold weather stuff. Soldier Field’s horrible turf makes it hard for speedy defensive linemen to dig in and fire into their gaps, or run the tackle/end twists that have worked so well. What do you think Brian Urlacher was talking about in his recent, public rip-job of their home stadium?
I guess. On another topic, there are two pieces of leftover spinach/bacon pizza in the fridge that would be really good right now.
You’ll have a banana after the gym, as always. Lifting, a half-hour of cardio, shower, banana, go to work.
Some fun you are.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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