By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
(CBS) So that was fun. I think.
Awful and awesome and optimistic and scary, leading and trailing and Ed Hochuli lecturing and Thom Brenneman apologizing, that three-hour thing thing slipped and skidded and whipsawed and thrilled, and occasionally disappeared from the airwaves, as if the TV circuits overloaded with dangerous levels of lunacy that tripped the breakers.
If that game could speak, it would quote Leo Bloom from “The Producers.”
“I’m wet! I’m hysterical, and I’m wet!”
The opening kickoff was returned for a 105-yard Vikings touchdown, the next brought back 76 yards by Devin Hester. Sack/fumble for a score, a Tim Jennings pick-six, a doubly-tipped end-zone interception and a bizarre play by Eric Weems on a downed punt that showed how few people even know NFL rules. Seven total turnovers.
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That expression on Major Wright’s face after his non-concussion concussion? It was common across Chicago around 3:00 p.,.
Storylines swung into a tangled mess before the outcome provided at least a convenient illusion of clarity. Tragically-flawed Jay Cutler and his uncontrollable tendency for turnovers became Jay Cutler: resilient leader of consecutive game-winning rallies. Matt Forte having the ball ripped out of his hands by an opportunistic, determined opponent became John Carlson similarly victimized by Blake Costanzo to seal the 31-30 victory.
Marc Trestman’s vaunted new offense struggled to get a play called and snapped before snapping into action with the kind of drive that evinced what Phil Emery had in mind when he made the hire – a team able to engineer a critical score when required.
And Christian Ponder was characteristically bad until he was uncharacteristically good enough to give his team that doomed six-point lead.
FOX bumbled through a trainwreck of a broadcast, losing function in the first half as if the control trailer was being swallowed by a sinkhole, or being eaten slowly by a horde of rabid beavers. First the sideline reports, then the telestrator, then the video feed, then all of it, and an entire drive occurs while the studio lugs are giving us the scores around the league.
This game just never felt coherent, on any level, like the entire operation was on bath salts. Nevertheless, the Bears are 2-0 and still dreaming big dreams, emerging from a big, sloppy pile of crazy having outplayed myriad mistakes. Not all is rosy, with Julius Peppers remaining a rumor as a part of an ineffective pass rush, Cutler’s interceptions still maddening and the revelatory Martellus Bennett admitting that his end-of-half shoulder injury is more serious than his uninterrupted presence would suggest.
The Bears can’t continue to live like this. Let me amend that: those of us watching can’t continue to live like this. Wacky football entertains, but is ultimately just junk food, full of empty pleasures that don’t necessarily predict anything.
Good theater does not mean good football, but bizarre and undefeated is still better than the alternative.
It was any kind of crazy you want to call it. Marc Trestman’s hair crazy. Texting while changing lanes on the Kennedy crazy. Eating ghost-pepper chicken wings, BASE jumping, watching the White Sox play defense, or looking at Salvador Dali’s “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” while listening to the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”
Trestman, in a current twist of irony, was brought here to install something particularly rational. He was seen as careful and methodical, systemic and even scientific.
So far the product – while successful enough – is something else entirely.