Chicago Sun-Times

They controlled the thing 'til the end

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They have told you all along that they were close to being good, close to executing, close to being at the level of play that took them to the ultimate stage last season. And you see glimpses of it just about every time out, but the simple fact is this Bears team is not good enough to provide a sustained winning effort.

They did the unthinkable Sunday in winning the turnover ratio 4-0 and losing. The defense also forced three three-and-punts. That’s controlling seven Giants’ possessions. The Bears controlled nearly the entire game until the offense couldn’t provide any kind of surge in the second half. New York pulled within 16-14 and Lawrence Tynes’ kickoff went out of bounds.

It set Rex Grossman & Co. up on the Bears’ 40-yard line with 6:54 to play and a lead to protect. Grossman picks up eight yards on first down with a pass to running back Adrian Peterson and then the whole thing goes awry. Peterson is stopped for a one-yard loss by Michael Strahan and Grossman can’t get rid of the football while going backward, taking a nine-yard sack from Justin Tuck and Kawika Mitchell.

The Bears punt and the rest is history. Eli Manning, the quarterback who was supposed to be more maligned than Grossman, marched straight through the Bears’ defense. This is the same Manning who threw two picks, fumbled once and was missing receivers by yards, not feet.

“Well, you know, things were going pretty good for us,’’ defensive coordinator Bob Babich said when asked if it seemed like the Bears had Manning on the ropes. ``But you know once again our job is to finish and make sure we keep them out of the end zone and we were not able to accomplish that the last couple drives.’’

You can’t kick Grossman around this time. He completed 25-of-46 for 296 yards and would have had 81 more had a perfectly thrown bomb not gone off Devin Hester’s shoulder pads. Sure, he should have gotten rid of the ball to avoid a few sacks, but his game was mostly solid and he could have gotten help if Bernard Berrian would have dove for one ball down the sideline. It’s hard to tell what the thinking was on the final play of the game, either, when the Bears essentially tried a Hail Mary of sorts from the Giants’ 28-yard line.

“There were a couple opportunities to make plays that weren’t made for whatever reason and it definitely would have helped us in the game,’’ Grossman said. ``Offensively, we scored 16 points that’s not going to cut it, especially with the turnovers they gave us and field position. We should have done a lot better than we did and it’s just really frustrating right now.”

Berrian wasn’t about to let the whole thing hang on the defense, either, after the Bears failed to capitalize on red-zone chances.

“We couldn’t put the game away,’’ he said. “We had plenty of opportunities to do it. We just couldn’t get it done. We couldn’t make the plays we needed to make when we had the opportunities to do it. We’d get down, drive the ball and get down in position and kick field goals. The game is to score touchdowns.”

Filtering through the rest of the notebook

Cornerback Corey Graham suffered a sprained left ankle on punt coverage when he slipped and fell on the slick surface, but he returned to the game.

Cornerback Nathan Vasher said he’s hopeful to play Thursday at Washington. You can tell the focus on his return is getting to him a little bit. The good news is there were no setbacks after a full week of practice last week.

Players will review film of the game Monday before preparations begin for Washington. There will be a practice Tuesday and a walk-through Wednesday before they travel.

Spotted on the suite level during halftime ... actor Bill Murray.

Spotted taking a tour of the facility before the game, officials from the University of Illinois. Could an Illini game at Soldier Field be in the works?

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Well it's now time to think about next season.The draft and free agents!First thing on the list:Get rid of Ron Turner.Second:Get a real Def coordinator, Not a puppet.Third:Offensive Lineman,Keep Kruetz and Tait.Fourth:Grow some @#%*! Lovie!!

If I hear anymore talk about the Bears chances for the playoffs, I'm going to throw up. You hit it on the head about Babich, and I lay that at Smith's door, along with the GM who is a good second, but not a first, as most of his "first's" are busts! I hope they get a decent back in free agency to compete with Peterson and maybe, "MAYBE", trade up and get Matt Ryan from BC in the draft. Time to start looking to fix the offensive line for next year as well. I'm starting to think we have a smoke and mirrors coaching and GM/management situation here. Knock, knock, will Michael McCaskey please come out from behind the curtain and tell us your still running this team? Where's Ditka when we need him? We would win more games and have more fun being REAL Bears players/

Once again, the loss comes down to receivers dropping the ball; what else can be said when Desmond Clark--a tight end--is the best receiver on the field for the Bears? Yes, Grossman overthrew several passes and yet--can you expect Grossman to throw a perfect pass one minute and then overcome dropped passes, receivers that don't lunge for the ball, multiple false start penalties and an anemic line that cannot protect him?
Overall, Rex did well. Although I would have liked to have seen him step up into the pocket to avoid the rush (as Troy Aikman mentioned several times). I believe he will play even better as time goes on.
Sad to say, the defense and overall coaching are in need for vast improvement.

Lovie Smith is the worst coach in the NFL!!!

It would have been excellent if Lovie had some fire in him...I mean what a perfect time to try and rally the defense with a fire and brimstone pep talk prior to the last Giants drive. All he had to do was get the defense to huddle at the sidelines for about 20 seconds and lay into last time..However since Lovie is trying to be like his know how I'm talking about, he will not show emotion...yesterdays game needed a leader to show up and rally the troops...where is DITKA and SINGLETARY!!!

Woah, first commentor. Tait is not a keeper. He got burned by the Giants' defensive ends, he got burned by the Lions' defensive ends...on the Bears final offensive drive hoping for a touchdown, he had a penalty called on him for false start. Grossman somehow managed to get a first on 4th and fifteen but that penalty ruined any momentum the Bears had. Tait, like Miller, need to go.

i said it was a mistake resigning lovie we needed to let him run out his contract i mean look what happened when we gave jauron an extension he came out lazy with a lazy team and got steam rolled just as lovie is this year i don't see how a o-line and the top defense in the league all of the sudden look like guys that were plucked off of the streets my opinion is it has alot to do with no motivation from the coaching staff ron turner never plays into grossman's strengths and bob babich is sure as hell no ron revera and these coaches have decided to take lovie's laid back approach and it's coming back to bite them in the backside angelo in my opinion is one of the worst gm's in this league or any other for that matter his evaluation of talent in the draft is god awful i think this offseason it's time to make some changes starting at the very top.

no how you praise Bad Rex, you still need more than 16 or 21 or 24 points to win. when he tires and the ball flutters and the bear defense fades, it means to me, that they are out of shape, never got into shape, and still can;t handle a snap.

I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of watching this inept group of people who pretend to be DA BEARS. You'll notice I called these people A GROUP and not A MOB! Why! Because A MOB HAS A LEADER!!! We have no such thing as a leader with this group of overpayed,undertalented people..and that INCLUDES the man on the sidelines who is laughingly called the coach..when all he does is stare into space listening to his headphones that are probably beaming in some sort of sleepy-time music that his persona reflects not only during the game but at any other time he appears.His hand picked defensive coordinator is a total waste of space and is here only 'cause this inept coach was in fear of losing his job and deleted the real coach who got them to the SuperBowl last year, Ron Rivera. C'mon folks..take a look at this JOKE of an offensive coordinator too. Yes,he can also grab some bench! And finally, the overpaid,overchallenged inept person with the title of G.M.should also be run out of town along with the rest of his sleepy eyed cronies..and that also includes the man behind it all..WOOF-WOOF McCaskey. Hey Virginia..PLEASE SELL THE TEAM TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS FOOTBALL AND NOT JUST THE BOTTOM LINE. AFTER ALL..YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU!!
Streamwood Frank

we should keep rex grossman,,if he wasnt benched,,we wouldnt have lost those games that Griese lost..without rex we have no offence,,its not rex's fault taht the offencive line cant protect him.

I think its pretty clear now what the Bears need to do to make them a contender in the future, and that unfortunately is to let some people go. Its hard for me to admit, but its time to start thinking about putting Urlacher on the trading block. If the Bears would put Urlacher and Alex Brown together out there, we could definately be picking up some young offensive lineman and possibly a receiver that can catch the BALL as well as free up some money to pay Briggs what he deserves. For the draft, I dont think the Bears should waste early round picks for lineman, there are always solid OTs out there later in the draft. In my opinion, every solid team has 2 things, a QB that is a leader and a fearless Safety who can actually make tackles (think about it, Patriots, Colts, Steelers, etc). This being said, we can probably go after McNabb, and with our first 2 draft picks, we need to go after (HARD) a top rated RB and then either a WR (if we cant get from off season) or go after the safety Zibikowski from Notre Dame. I think that if these are not acknowledged, we need a new GM immediately. Thank you

i stlll blame Rex, after the first two games this season the whole team knew that they could not win with Rex. How many times are you going to the Superbowl by racking up 16 or 20 or 25 points a game. Rex numbers mean nothing, the Bears knew they weren't going anywhere this year with Rex.

The head coach takes the blame, the assitants work for him. Great defense last year so why is Ron Rivera not a Bear coach. Offense has zero imagination. I was at the game I did not see one trap or counter run or Garret Wolfe.

Olsen was rarely on the field. anyone with half a brain would line up this big fast target in the slot and have him run quick slants.

Berrian slowed down on his deep route thinking he was not getting the ball and Rex through it where Berrian would have been if he ran his route at full speed.

We blitz from the right side and don't have contain on the left and Manning escapes and throws for a first down. Can't get a sack when we need it and apparently our defensive coach cannot design a blitz that works.

This is a poorly coached team. If we have to lose bring back Ditka at least it would be entertaining instead of hearing the cigar store Indian Lovie never say anything meaningful at his press conference. Ditka has us in the playoff's 8 out of 10 years, I'll take that performance with a management who would not pay to keep talent.

Despite the multitude of obvious problems with the Bears offense, the #1 problem is Jason Mckie. Not the way he plays, although he is nearly invisible, but the fact that he plays at all. The Bears need to join the 21st century, and scrap the fullback altogether. The Bears running game is useless because the tailback's facemask is permantly strapped to the fullbacks ass, so all the defense has to do is follow Mckie to the nonexistant hole that he is supposed to lead block thru.

The Bears need to go to a single tailback system with 2 tight ends or and H-back in running downs, and Devin Hester in passing downs. The tight end is the one player that Grossman seems able to hit on a regular basis, why not give him 2 to choose from. This would also diversify and open up our sickenly predictable running game. This will not come close to solving all their problems, but it might allow us to score enough points to overcome our now pathetic excuse for a defense.

For future reference, Rex is not our quarterback, period.

Bigsy..not sure if you read these but PLEASE tell Mully to stop being an apologist for that brutal offensive line...

I can see it now...Mully will have his usual 3 Bears O lineman primed for the pro bowl.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 2, 2007 11:13 PM.

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