Bernstein: At Least They Didn’t Lose

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) Short of a victory celebration, can we have a relief rally? A loss-avoidance shindig?

How about a good-lord-that-could-have-been-awful carnival, or a festival of thanksgiving for the season still mattering?

It wasn’t great, but it was looking for a while like it was about to be Really Bad.

This one was a must-must, a necessary condition for continuing one’s emotional investment in a severely flawed Bears team, even if one may know better. After starting the year against three solid opponents, the bums came to town with a rookie QB, a banged-up defense and an inexperienced coach.

And thanks to Devin Hester, Matt Forte, and a gameplan apparently imported from the 1960s Packers, the bums were vanquished 34-29 and sent back on the bum train to Bumville. Enough blocking, enough tackling and points from three phases. Chew the clock and get out of that building before you screw something up. Or have to call another timeout.

“We’re not apologizing at all for this win,” Lovie Smith said. “We feel real good about it.”

Well it certainly feels better than the alternative. 2-2 after the first quarter of the schedule is tolerable, 1-3 is not. Many expected them to be at this point, somehow, anyway.

What lingers, though, is still a little icky.

More Coverage:
Hoge’s Notebook: Cutler, Martz Not On Same Page
Shepkowski: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Photo Gallery: Bears vs. Panthers
Podcast: Doug & O.B. Post Game Show


Olindo Mare left one field-goal short and stubbed another one into the pile, fizzling a pair of drives. Jeremy Shockey was called for a ticky-tack pushoff that negated a touchdown. Thanks for that.

Jay Cutler’s self-described “internal clock” is still ticking too fast – he lofted another interception as the rush converged. Frank Omiyale got himself benched. The receivers and tight ends still can’t make plays by themselves. The run defense continues to get gashed due to overpursuit and an inability to disengage from blocks.

Brandon Merriweather seems content to headhunt rather than cover or tackle, and abandoned his deep half of the field in two-deep zone coverage to leave Steve Smith open. Remember why Bill Belichick let him go? Yep, too much freelancing and launching instead of controlled, responsible play.

The stupid, drunken fans are still screaming when they shouldn’t, forcing Cutler to cover his earholes to hear the play before a critical fourth-down. There’s enough trouble getting the information from Mike Martz’s frontal lobe to the huddle, even without the inexcusable noise.

“I’m trying to get the perfect play called,” Cutler said. “Mike’s a perfectionist, so it comes with the territory, I guess.”

Ouch. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just perfect enough to leave you with a timeout or two in your pocket at the end of a close game. That stuff matters against better teams, like the one up next and many more to come. Those teams are going to make you pass the ball, again, too.

Safety Chris Harris tweeted this: “Whether u like or didn’t like the way we won……WE WON!! A win is a win!”

And I agree. He is absolutely right.

So by all means, come on over tonight for the big get-together — you’re invited to join me in recognizing this win appropriately.

I have tepid beer, unsalted pretzels, non-fat cheese, and a huge platter of imitation crabmeat. We can listen to vaguely-unsatisfying music and watch 2-star movies. Marion Barber may come over and entertain us with a series of dangerous, incomplete back-flips!

Party’s on. Bears beat the Panthers.


bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: At Least They Didnt Lose
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 columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Wear two paper bags, ugg-lee win, but a W is a W.

  • Jeff C.

    Hey I couldn’t agree more!!!!! But I’ll take it if we can do it every Sunday!!!

  • Time-Out Room

    I think the evening calls for a medley from vocalist Lorne Greene – in French, a moment of silence for Fahoybin Awareness and fistbumps for everyone! We beat visitors!! Woo-hoo?

    • Spoon

      Exploding fistbumps?

  • Denver Deadite

    This team is painful to watch. No consistency in any phase from week to week.

    Today, special teams was the champion, but the defense didn’t really show up (outside of the pick-6) in the first half. The offense also went into hiding at the half for some reason.

    Not to mention, it just feels like the 1st drive of the game was all about Martz being able to wave his middle fingers at us.

    • EK

      I feel like the defense got its points, then felt pretty good about themselves and sat out the rest of the game.

  • Spoon

    Defense was torched like a 15th century witch.

  • Ramo Geezus

    Man, what is wrong with you people? WE WON THE GAME!!! and maybe Carolina used to be a push over but not anymore….Rivera has got them believing in them selves and Cam is gonna be a stud(already is)…They almost beat the Pack too. Granted, we still have a lot of work to do, but the guys came to play,and they did…THEY WON!!! Maybe you could try to be a lil more positive..I mean, you are Bears FANS aren’t you?.

    • Creighton

      True they are a very good 1-3 team with one of the worst run defenses in the nfl, and a tore up defense period/ The Bears offense managed how many points at home and that was with the running game going. The Bears had a great running game today and they still couldn’t pass block. So they didn’t pass. People are not upset about the win they are worried about the better teams down the road like Detroit. You seen that D-Line? That’s not two undersized rookie DT’s, Hardy and Johnson. That’s a real nfl D-Line and they like to hurt people.

      • Ramo Geezus

        We definately have our hands full Monday night!

    • Spoon

      Yes, we beat a mediocre (that’s generous) Panthers team that allowed us to be completely one dimensional for the entire game, while our defense got torched repeatedly up and down the field by a rookie with one good wide out through the air and right up the middle on the ground. Not to mention the brilliant coaching/player decisions that led them to believe that punting to Hester a second time, after the only thing that prevented his first return was his decision to stop and maul the punter for fun.

      A good fan can be critical of a win, optimistic after a loss, and everything in between. Fan doesn’t mean mouthbreathing meatball dope.

      • Bronzo

        Well said Spoon i agree. I also got a kick out of Llovie saying ” Our defense outplayed their defense…simpla as that” HUH?? The Bears defense gave up over 500 yards!! The Panther’s let up 300+ yards..

        Special teams and Forte saved the day.

        Glad the Bears won but they have many mnay issue.

  • Ramo Geezus

    I can Agree with your saying but you also need to recognize that the mediocre team you speak of torched the packers D for more yards and almost beat them. Do we have concerns,sure,but we won and in the end,that’s all that really matters. Besides, its a game grown men play and get paid millions of dollars to do. RELAX, is all I’m sayin. We seem to be gettin better at things so, lets see what happens. geez!

    • Igor Spelczek


  • Denver Deadite

    Anybody watch the Lions/Cowboys yesterday? Yeah, there’s not much to be happy about with the Bears game, seeing as the Lions are the Bears next opponent.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Saw highlights. Calvin Johnson would have given me nightmares had I not been intellectually drunk on the news confirming that the Bluths are coming back :)

      • SPAULDING!

        “speech! speech! speech! speech! speech!”
        “This went on for several seconds, despite the fact that no one remembered why they started it.”

    • Spoon

      I didnt see yesterday’s game, watched the previous one. I’m nowhere close to the level of love that other people have of the Lions yet. Megatron is scary though.

      • Bronzo

        We were just talking about that here at work…Megatron is the best sports nickname since “Chocolate Thunder”

      • Spoon

        Nope, 20pt comebacks are hard to pull off, even if it’s against a terrible Vikings team that forgot they had AP for the entire 2nd half, or a Cowboys team whos QB seems to be on the other team’s payroll in the 2nd half of most games. Hearing that they’re the 2nd best team in the NFL from a number of sources though, cant subscribe to that school of though yet.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        My othet concern is mostly about what the boy named Suh is going to do to the Bears offensive line… And Calvin Johnson. His catch in triple coverage in the endzone was absurd.

      • Denver Deadite

        Well, I’m not sure I have Lions love or not. But back-to-back second-half comebacks of 20 and 24 points cannot be ignored, regardless of who their opponents were.

        The entire Bears team is going to have to play for 4 quarters to win this one. Yes, they did so against Atlanta, but I’m not sure we’ll see an encore performance any time soon.

  • meesohawnee

    bring back that Orkin guy!

    • Terry Boers

      Shut ur face dummy!

  • Timmymac

    Bears still suck just like the B&B show does.

    • J Goff

      I agree. Maybe I need to break in on the conversation and steer it towards basketball?
      I know y’all enjoy when we talk NBA.


    While I’m glad the Bears won yesterday, based on what I’ve heard since Doug Buffone & Ed O’Bradovich’s postgame after Jeff Joniak’s “FADE TO BLACK!” on 780 AM WBBM/105.9 FM WCFS, you’d thought they lost to the Panthers. After all, the Bear defense got shredded like taco cheese for over 500 yards to rookie QB Cam Newton and a Carolina offense that seemed to march down the field for much of the afternoon. The Bear defense also didn’t pressure Newton or sack him once! Jay Cutler seemed to do a lot less from a passing standpoint, getting just over 100 yards and a subpar QB rating of 46.5 and Matt Forte seemed to pick up the offensive slack with 205 yards and the most rushing yards since the late, great Walter Payton in 1977. Folks, anyone who thinks that’s a winning formula next Monday vs. an undefeated Lions’ team in Detroit is sorely mistaken.


    Good people of the blogoverse:

    I was once like you!
    But, I’ve been moderated multiple times.

    • Gabby Heart Net (Did You See What I Did There?)

      I enjoy the “Slow down, chatty Patty” warnings after not posting a word for days. That’s CONTROL. Or…Dan, what’s the word?……..

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live