November 23, 2015
Broncos, Bears, Rams, Chargers, London, Fries, Never Forgetting
The Chicago Bears could have beaten the Denver Broncos on Sunday at frigid Soldier Field. Victory, a three-game win streak, a .500 record and a great storyline heading into the Thanksgiving night showdown against the Packers were all just a chilled breath away.
Instead, it was a 17-15 loss to those stubborn, Peyton-less Broncos and the Bears are 4-6 and feeling like cold turkey. And not the good kind that you get to pour hot gravy over. More like the kind that’s the only shard left after your uncle Maury inhales half the frickin’ bird while you’re still on your third pre-dinner Schlitz.
The Broncos didn’t have Peyton Manning at quarterback because he’s older than Sammy Baugh and creakier than a hardwood floor in a haunted house and it’s difficult to say whether this hurt the Broncos or helped them. Denver turned to the young and tall Brock Osweiler who played well and the Broncos’ defense played even better and those were the major storylines.
At least in Denver they are.
But here in the land of hot frustration and heavy disappointment, the narrative is that the Bears could have tied the game in the final minute but failed and did so in a question-raising fashion.
Jay Cutler had marched Chicago down the field and Jeremy Langford scored on a two-yard plunge to make it 17-15 with 24 seconds to play. Then on the two-point conversion the Bears gave it to Langford again and he scampered right between the tackles and hit a brick wall like a drunken crash test dummy.
Broncos 17, Bears 15.
Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase is catching heck for running it instead of rolling out Cutler. Doing so would have given the Bears two, three, four chances of getting into the endzone? Instead, it was Langford or nothing and the Bears got nothing and man, is it easy to second-guess when you’re not on the sidelines.
The Bears are also being questioned for going for it on fourth down earlier in the fourth quarter from Denver’s four-yard line when trailing 17-9, and failing. If the Monsters of the Maddening had kicked a field goal instead it would have been 17-12 and then Langford’s late score would have won it.
That’s football math for you and it’s the kind we fans always get an “A” in but it doesn’t always apply between the lines on Sunday.
What we’re trying to say is the Bears have a banged-up roster, (they played without Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery again) are still gelling under their new coaching staff and faced one of the most talented teams in the league – one that John Fox used to coach – and the contest came down to the final seconds. And the Bears committed no penalties. None.
So yes, we can always question the decisions, but we must also acknowledge that this Bears team plays with confidence and bravado. And discipline.
And those things don’t matter much if not guided by sound decisions but how happy would we run-loving, snow-eating, Bears fans have been if Langford had shouldered his way in?
The Bears lost and deserve to be second-guessed. But the season, while on life-support with the mortuary on speed dial, is not over yet. A win in Green Bay on Thanksgiving night will be better than watching Avalon, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving back-to-back-to-back while downing Schlitz, pumpkin pie and Cherry-Vanilla Coke while Maury snores on the couch.
Part of what makes the Bears’ loss to the Broncos so frustrating is that it comes on the heels of a very impressive 37-13 victory over the Rams in St. Louis. The Bears looked so good in that game many of us thought they were the offspring of George Clooney and Margot Robbie.
And that game was on the heels of a thrilling 22-19 comeback win over the Chargers, a game that we must tell you about how we saw it.
It was Monday night and good luck had taken us to London. Because it was London and we were trying to feel like it was London we saw a play, a magnificent staging of Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape, and it let out and we made a mad dash on the London Underground across town to a bar I was led to believe would be showing football, American football.
It wasn’t. And the kind chaps in the bar didn’t even seem to understand what we were asking.
Still, it was an American-themed BBQ joint so we bought some fries, got back on the train and rode through the pregnant London night back to our hotel. We ate our fries and dozed off, dreaming of the Beatles and the Bears. One was born right next door, the other was half a world away marching down the field, bearing down, breathing fire, and creating dreams.
London, and Paris before that, were great. But it’s good to be back in the land where football doesn’t mean soccer. No offense, but we like what we like. And we like it a lot. — TK