As Luck Would Have It, Bears Primed For Super Bowl Run
I’m thinking Jerry Angelo must have found Jesus this past offseason.
Of all the good fortune the Bears have received in this season’s campaign, Seattle’s win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans combined with Philadelphia’s loss to the Packers just might top the list. The Seahawks finished the season 28th (out of 32 teams) in total offense and 27th in total defense. The Bears now have by far the easiest road to the next round of the playoffs, and should be primed for an NFC championship showdown with either the Falcons or the Packers. This is a fortunate turn of events, indeed.
Week 1 – Detroit Lions
The Bears squeak out a win against Detroit after Calvin Johnson’s apparent TD catch in the endzone is ruled incomplete, and that ruling upheld by booth review. Just about everyone except the referees in Detroit would have called the play a touchdown, and the ‘process of the catch’ rule that upheld the incompletion is certain to be scrutinized this offseason. The Bears catch a break and start off the season with a win.
Week 5 – Carolina Panthers
In a season almost completely void of injuries, the Bears had to play only a single game without their best offensive player, Jay Cutler. That game just so happened to be against the worst team in professional football, the Carolina Panthers, who finished the season 2-14. They (the Panthers) would be just about the only team in the NFL that could be beaten with a combination of Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie at QB, neither of whom’s services were ever needed again (thankfully) as Cutler returned the next week.
Week 11 – Miami Dolphins
At the beginning of the year, traveling to Miami on a short week for a Thursday game in November and getting a win would seem a relatively formidable task. Luckily, in the Dolphins’ week 10 contest, Miami QB’s Chad Henne and Chad Pennington were both injured and the team was forced to go with their 3rd-stringer, the hapless Tyler Thigpen. The Bears were able to put 8 guys in the box most of the game, holding Dolphins’ running back tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to a combined 11 yards in a shutout victory.
Week 13 – Detroit Lions
Once again, the Bears get to face the opposing team’s 3rd string QB, in this case Drew Stanton in only his 2nd NFL start. For the second time this year, the Bears needed a 2nd half comeback to defeat the Lions. One might say that this would be a gimme win anyway, but those are people who didn’t expect the Lions to subsequently win 4 straight games and finish the season 6-10.
Week 16 – Vikings vs Eagles
Somehow, with a rookie wide receiver playing QB, the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-14. The Eagles loss, combined with an impressive Bears victory over the Jets, gave the Bears the #2 overall seed in the playoffs and a 1st round bye, setting up the unthinkable possibility of playing a 8-9 team at home in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Now this is not to say the Bears are undeserving. I believe they proved they belong in the playoffs with wins over the Packers, Eagles, and Jets. When your defense holds opposing teams to an average of 17.9 points a game (4th in the NFL), and 90.1 rushing yards a game (2nd) you’re bound to be competitive. But throw in a little good fortune and then all of a sudden you’re winning your division. Throw in a little more and you’re getting a first round bye. And, with this most recent twist of good fate, you may be getting a free pass to the NFC Championship game.
So what’s next? Suppose the Bears win on Sunday, what horrible misfortune will befall Aaron Rodgers and/or Matt Ryan? Will one break his leg in a snowmobile accident and the other wake up blind? Perhaps simultaneous bouts with lupus? Somebody swaps their parsley for hemlock?
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