Hey Bears Fans, is it time to hit the Panic Button?
Are you in Panic Mode?I would guess if you asked most fans in Chicago whether they were panicking their response would be yes. But I'm personally the type of fan who gives up only when my team is mathematically out of the running. So, at this point I feel like I'm sitting pretty... but things are getting ugly fast. Allow me to attempt to reassure you, my disgruntled Bears fan.
Let's take a quick recap of the season:We could have one more loss if the officials didn't screw up the call against Detroit (Sept. 12), just like we could have another win if the officials or coaching staff saw that Jay Cutler broke the plane against Washington yesterday (Oct. 24). We played very well against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 18th (and to their defense they have been close in every game they have lost), but the team clearly can't finish games this season and there are some elite coaches leading the other NFC East squads. Against Green Bay (Sept 21st) everything that could have gone our way did, but we also played very well in the national spotlight. We know now that the Monday night game was a huge win in terms of the division standings. The rivaled Packers have lost their three games by a combined total of nine points and are currently in second place behind the Bears. Rest assured that they won't be committing 18 penalties at Lambeau Field on January 2nd. The New York game was the New York game (Oct. 3rd) - offensive line collapsed, multiple quarterback injuries, and many turnovers. It was tough to watch and even tougher to forget. We were in it until the end and seems to me like we caught them in desperation mode. It'll be interesting to see what they do against Dallas tonight. Against Carolina (Oct. 10th) we did what we needed to do with a quarterback who should be bagging groceries (no offense Kurt Warner, I have nothing but respect). The point is we won. That leaves us with Seattle on the 17th, they flat out beat us, but look at the standings, they are in first place.
Seize the OpportunityI guess what I am trying to get is this: we are a team that was going to need to figure things out as we went along and work out some kinks throughout the year. We saw it in the preseason and it carried over somewhat into the regular season. Our defense has come together very nicely, but when you send them out onto the field for the 47th time in the game after a one minute break on the sideline, they can only do so much (excuse my sarcasm, but you know it's frustrating). This season has turned into the season of opportunity in the NFL, and the teams that are thriving are the teams that have seized it, pinned it down, and punched it in the face a few times. The Bears' opportunity is staring at them directly in the face, nose to nose, you can feel it breathing. Enter Buffalo (0-6) after a bye week. This is it, I don't care that they just took Baltimore (5-2) into overtime, all the more reason to establish yourself as a contender from here on out. We need to take this team to town in two weeks, in their own house. (Well, actually in Toronto at the Rogers Centre, but you get the gist.) Did you see Brett Farve limp off the field at the end of last night's game? Good. Break his other ankle when he comes to Soldier Field on the 14th of November. The rest of our schedule from here on out is among the toughest in the NFL and don't think that the Bears don't know it, this bye week is the coaching staff's chance to save all their jobs. This is my rally call for all Chicago fans that are starting to hang your heads low: The season starts right now, we are not going to be put up against a wall, they are, we are in first place. They have to take it from us, because we will not give it to them. Every team we play from here on out aside from the Bills and Lions will be fiercely competing for first place in their divisions. Opportunity is at our front door, what are we going to do about it? Honestly I love this football season, it has been fun to watch, and you should be more interested now than you have been all season. The most enticing thing is that the teams that are on top, or that will end up on top, will have to earn it because even the elites who we've watched dominate in the past (Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Saints, etc.) have struggled in their games. But as I've reiterated throughout this post, they've seized the opportunity.
Photo Credit Getty Images/Doug Pensinger