Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) The Island of Cautious Pessimism is a comfortable place to be.

You’ve been here before, too, at one time or another. I’ve seen you. I remember faces of like-minded Bears fans who wait with me for the inevitable. Maybe we crossed paths in the Forest of Distrust, sat nearby on the shores of beautiful Lake Suspicion, or feasted together at a traditional Misgiving dinner.

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I have all I need here: plenty of real interest in how well the Bears will fare this season, compelling uncertainties that drive conversation, and the ability to weather the weekly swings of emotion on the way to a top-of-the-middle-of-the-pack finish that does just enough to keep possibilities open until the final day. As long as the mosquito-netting holds up and the café stays open, I’m all good.

But in the first flush of the all-phases romp over a team thought to be among the league’s elite, I’m considering packing my bags.

More Coverage:
Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good
Holmes: Pressure By Front-Four Leads To Defensive Dominance
Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte Hoping Play Equals Pay

Photo Gallery: Bears vs. Falcons

The uninspiring offseason acquisitions and aimless preseason games were enough to have me in nesting mode, hanging things in the closets, stocking the fridge with beer and salami, and setting out my framed pictures of H.L. Mencken, Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce. Ready for another lovely, mildly-discontented year of football.

And now, this happens. Bears 30, Falcons 12.

Jay Cutler passes for 312 yards, completing 22 of 32 throws for a 107.8 passer rating. Mike Martz zings it around early to build the lead and runs late to protect it, unveiling a handful of clever new designs along the way, and finishing with a healthy air/ground balance of 32/27. The offensive line holds up, even creating a discernible pocket for some seven-step drops and long, downfield throws. Matt Forte rumbles for 158 total yards, and new tight end Matt Spaeth makes some solid blocks and catches one of Cutler’s two TD throws.

And my worries about special teams sustaining quality are dismissed by Robbie Gould booming unreturnable kickoffs, Adam Podlesh flipping the field with his punting, Corey Graham tackling and Devin Hester looking dangerous.

Heck, even the stupid fans wised up – the ones cheering so hard during Bears’ possessions that it disrupted the play-calling. Seems they finally got the message, or weren’t too drunk at noon.

I guess I could think about booking a getaway to Buoyancy Bay for a couple weeks. I know a few people there. They’re a little annoying, of course (in that nice, creepy/smiley way), but I might be able to get used to it.

I just wasn’t ready for this.

Wait…the defense. I haven’t even mentioned it, yet! My god, Brian Urlacher looked as athletic as he did when he was 27, making a horizontal interception, running in a fumble, and laying wood to ballcarriers and receivers in the middle of the field. Charles Tillman forced a fumble and broke up countless slants. Julius Peppers was his usual one-man brute squad, and Henry Melton did everything this defense needs from the 3-technique tackle. The two linemen kept slamming into Matt Ryan like an angry elevator door.

Lovie Smith’s favored scheme and disciplined defensive gameplan strangled a potent offense. His team looked fast and ready, despite having their preparation truncated by a lockout.

I need to settle down, lest I act rashly and buy a ticket to the Meatball Mainland, where I’d join the wearers of own-name Bears jerseys and Ditka mustaches, painting my face, calling radio shows, and decrying even the most reasonable critics as “haters.”

Deep breath. Chill out, dude.

It’s one game in a long season.

J’Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi have a ways to go, clearly. Cutler took some more hard hits, and he had several typically-forced throws that should have been picked. Too many runs were slow to develop and too many blocks were missed. They left red-zone points on the field, settling for three when they should’ve had six. Penalties on returns are killers. Roy Williams hurt his groin and Lance Louis twisted his ankle.

If I leave the island, I need to find just the right place. Somewhere that lets me appreciate and assimilate the impressive opener, while not making me naive or foolish.

Let me look through the brochures…ah, here it is. And there’s a room available. Perfect. I can make the next boat, if I want.

The Cape of Some Hope.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good
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. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

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  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Great win, but I am still on the Island…won’t move to the Cape until they are 3-1 or 4-0.

  • Chitown lee

    I see your back peddling like you always do. Just admit it, your a fraud. You don’t know cheese about sports, Howard Cosell reincarnated.

    • Spoon

      Clearly someone that hates truthful opinions and reactions. Go lay in a mound of fire ants covered in honey. Also, try spell check sometime.

      • Matt Brooks

        Spell check wouldn’t help. That post could be a textbook example of spell check’s limitations.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Yeah, Heterophone abuse is brutal on the interwebs.

        At least it wasn’t someone asking Bernstein about “his gay”.

    • pulseczar

      You see his back peddling? Or perhaps you meant you see his back (comma) peddling like he always does? Weird.

      What should he admit about his a fraud? It peddles backward as well? Needs to better its cheese knowledge?

  • IowaGuy

    Can we get a charter flight with a group rate to that island…like they game itself, entertaining column.

  • Bears Crush Falcons, 30-12 « CBS Chicago

    […] Coverage: Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good Holmes: Pressure By Front-Four Leads To Defensive Dominance Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte […]

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    The hardest part to reconcile is the fact that they did this against a team generally considered “good”. They didn’t allow an offensive TD against a balanced, high-caliber offense. They moved the ball well against a decent enough defense. With all of the Packer and Eagle love in the media, it’s easy to forget that these two teams were the ones that earned byes in the NFC last year, and both teams upgrade their personnel in the offseason.

    Again though, when asked if the Bears are good or not, I’ll have to say “uhhhh…”

    Ask me again in two weeks. I’ll have a better answer. Oh, and maybe this Forte situation better be handled soon. Might want to consider getting him that paper before he hits the stratosphere.


      I think, it’s because this season, we are going to have to look at the injury reports coming out of Halas Hall. We didn’t have to last year.
      We know Roy Williams has a groin
      Matt Forte took some hits in the running game.
      Good win, though.

    • Bronzo

      Well put Chris, i agree …The fact they did this against the Falcons mekes this win even more legitimate.. I was very imptessed with their balance on offense and their tenacity on defense they really got afetr the ball.

      And yes please get the Forte contract done!!

  • mckfish

    You write like a gay…

    • mckfishs' beyoch

      sweertyy stay out of this! Our relationship is secret!

    • Truth

      Takes one to know one. Your gay-dar telling you that?

  • Miller Tic toc

    You berstien guy and you’re island of stuff. I know that island feeling and I’m staying on it out of a medical condition born in South America. yes it was born not discovered. Anyhoo this team has hurt me for years when they play good for a game agianst a good team. I as fan want and expect that but with these of Bears since 04 I can’t help but think this team can’t sustain a winning mental mentality. The mentality for me as a fan only is that of not just being good at you’re position or team play but to have the right mental approach to weather the storm against a good playing team during a game. I can’t help but think this team is too all or nothing during a game. If the 2011 Bears show me that they can take a punch then get back up and threw a good punch right back then and only then will I get off that island.

    • Big Cat

      What is this I don’t even . . .

  • Silly Native

    Don’t care that much about football as I live on an island called Gilligan’s. But I AM concerned that Lovey’s looking better every day.

  • mike in davenport

    I went full meatball during the game.

    • Marky Mark

      NEVER go full meatball… it’s dangerous!

      • Sequel 7 Pending


  • Puddin Head

    MEATBALLERS UNITE bears 16 -0 henry melton straight to akron

    • Big Cat

      Why is Henry Melton going straight to Akron? Is he making a rest stop on his way to Pittsburgh or something?

  • Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte Hoping Play Equals Pay « CBS Chicago

    […] Coverage: Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good Holmes: Pressure By Front-Four Leads To Defensive Dominance Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte […]

  • Denver Deadite

    Well, I certainly didn’t expect THAT yesterday.

    I’m not sure I was ready to believe last year (I’m not sure I ever did last year), but that was a solid start to this season.

  • Dr That Doesn't Help People

    Now I expect a 16-0 season.

    Cutler seems happy to me. Even when a 500 pound man was on his face, he seemed happy. Maybe it is because he ended his engagement to that disease-ridden non-celebrity hose bag?

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Well, it’s in line with his efforts to shape up and shed any bad weight during the offseason. Now he can just go out and groupie it up with no conscience. Frankly, that’s the way it SHOULD be, so long as he wraps it.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    More trite, overdone, forced-upon feeling of happiness: Bears 4th Quarter, or Entourage Series finale?

  • Holmes: Pressure By Front-Four Leads To Defensive Dominance « CBS Chicago

    […] Coverage: Bernstein: Damn You, Bears, You Might Be Good Holmes: Pressure By Front-Four Leads To Defensive Dominance Hoge’s Bears-Falcons Notebook: Forte […]


    Late to the party, people, because, in this day and age of wireless routers, there’s still, sometimes “uh, it’s yer cable splitter.”

    Anyway, I’ve skimmed it. Fun stuff. That was a show yesterday.

    The seven step drop back: It allowed Cutler to go down his menu of options when it was working. And, Hester’s serpentine “shake and bake!” That. just. happend!
    That defense told Atlanta “uh, sorry for that 4th quarter mistake last time. Won’t happen again.”

  • Mark

    Im not sure who taught you that you have to be a pessimistic butt hole in order to have value as a sports journalist… I feel bad for readers and listeners who actually value your negative arrogant better than the earth you walk on tripe of journalism… You just need to disappear.

  • Mark

    Into retirement not anything worse than that ;-)

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