We would be remiss if we didn't get to this ... kicker Robbie Gould was named the NFC special teams player of the month after hitting two game-winning field goals in overtime to carry the Bears into Week 17 with a chance to make the playoffs.
Gould was 8-for-8 on field goals in the month and finished the season connecting on 11 straight. It was the second such award for Gould in his four years as he also won in October 2006. He joined Hall of Famer and one-time Bear George Blanda (1975, Oakland), Norm Johnson (1990, Seattle) and David Akers (2000, Philadelphia) as the only kickers in league history to win consecutive games in overtime with field goals.
Gould finished the season 26-for-29 to break his own franchise record for accuracy in a season at 89.7 percent. He became the first Bears kicker to score 100-plus points in three consecutive seasons and is now fifth in franchise history in scoring with 470 points, trailing Blanda by 71 points. Having hit 85.9 percent of field goals in his career (110-for-128), Gould is the third-most accurate field goal kicker in league history trailing Mike Vanderjagt and Nate Kaeding.
The strong season Gould had was just one reason why the Bears finished eighth in the league in special teams rankings. That's an unofficial final standing for them. The Dallas Morning News' football guru Rick Gosselin compiles special teams standings that are released each February. Gosselin uses a system that ranks all 32 teams in 22 categories. Unofficially using that system, it appears the Bears will wind up eighth, and third in the NFC behind just the New York Giants and San Francisco. Under special teams coordinator Dave Toub, the Bears were No. 1 in 2006 and 2007.
The Bears were strong in scoring with four special teams touchdowns. They also ranked highly in blocked kicks, kickoff return and punts inside the 20. All in all, it was a solid effort considering punt returner Devin Hester slumped badly and the coverage teams had to adjust to life without three-time Pro Bowler Brendon Ayanbadejo.
So with that, we sign off for 2008 and thank you for reading and responding so avidly. Happy New Year to all and we'll do our best to stay on top of all the news in 2009.