On the end of the Bears’ season (’06-’07).

[Posted 10:05 PM ET.]

Looks like “Bad Rex” showed up today, but the real culprit in my book is Ron Turner for his stupid, stupid, stupid playcalling. For Chrissakes will somebody please fire him? NOW?

Congratulations to Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Colts, who played what we like to call “smart.” More analysis later.

[Updated 1:25 PM ET 2/10/07.]

Now that I’ve had the better part of a week to calm down:

Grossman made just enough bad plays to lose the game. This is not to say it was entirely his fault. I think Ron Turner should have called a smarter game. To wit:

The Bears should have used a shotgun formation on occasion to give Rex a little more time and reduce the risk of bobbled snaps. Problem: they ran the shotgun formation but a few times all season, and certainly didn’t practice it very much.

After Cedric Benson got injured, they should have turned to Adrian Peterson for the change of pace. He’s always been good for those four- or five-yard gains the Bears needed.

At the end of the first half, the Colts had the ball at the Bear 17, 4th and 2, clock running with under forty seconds left. The Bears should have called a timeout, forced Indy to try the field goal with 35 seconds left. That way, they’d get the ball back with 25-30 seconds and two timeouts left. Why not try to score, even if it’s a long shot? After all, the Colts were going to have possession to start the second half, and they were going to milk the clock.

(Answer #1: the Bears were afraid that if they called a timeout, the Colts would try to convert the 4th and 2, and if they did, they might go on to score a touchdown. Rebuttal: if that was Dungy’s inclination, he would have used one of his own timeouts with thirty seconds left. He didn’t, and was likely going to settle for the field goal attempt anyway.)

(Answer #2: the Bears were afraid that if they got the ball back, they might throw a pick and have it run back. That’s how most teams think these days; they’d rather let the clock run out than try a Hail Mary, or a quick drive into scoring position. Rebuttal: you’re in the frickin’ Super Bowl. Grow a pair and take a few shots downfield.)

In the third quarter, after the Colts had the ball the last 3:57 of the first half and the first 7:34 of the second half, the Bears offense faced a 2nd and 1 at the Indy 45. As Dr. Hmnahmna rightly points out below, they should have called the run play, picked up the yard, picked up four more downs, kept the drive going, and given the exhausted Bears’ defense more rest. So what actually happened? Pass play. Fumble, sack. Sack. Punt. In less than two minutes, the Colts got the ball back and the Bears’ D was right back on the field.

And finally, in the last two minutes of the game, down twelve, no timeouts, the Bears kept throwing underneath. Some might say, “Well, that’s what the Colts gave them.” In that situation, it doesn’t matter what your opponent gives you. You need to go bombs away, period. At that point in the game, dinkball means concession in a game you absolutely must not concede. You take every shot you possibly can at victory, because there’s no absolutely no reason to do otherwise.

Some people said the defense let the Bears down—for leaving Reggie Wayne wide open on the first touchdown, for the poor tackling. Fine, they could have played better. But consider this: that defense had three takeaways and gave up 22 points despite being on the field for 38 minutes against Peyton Manning and the Colts… What else do they need to do? (Evidently, they need to score points to make up for the offense.)

Last year, they said that the Bears were a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl champion. Well… with this year’s quarterback, they got a lot closer, but still came up short. Turn that pick-six in the fourth quarter into a touchdown drive and the Bears are up 24-22 instead of down 29-17. Maybe Grossman needs more time to keep developing, or maybe the Bears should hunt for a better quarterback. Either way, I think Turner needs to go.

The Bears have more talent now than they’ve had in ages, but in the free-agency era that won’t last long. It was a good season, but without the trophy and the rings, “good” doesn’t cut it. Better luck next year, but it’d better be next year.

3 Responses to “On the end of the Bears’ season (’06-’07).”

  1. gatorbob Says:
    February 6th, 2007 at 4:49 PM

Commiserations on the Superbowl loss. Take it from a Leeds United fan – the losses only make the rare victories sweeter. There’s always next season!

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    February 7th, 2007 at 6:36 AM

Although Ron Turner should have had enough sense to call a run on second and one when his team’s defense was winded, this one’s not all on Ron and Bad Rex.

The Chicago defense got pushed around. Actually, that’s not strong enough. They got run over. If you give up nearly 200 yards rushing, and let the other team hold on to the ball for 38 minutes, you’re in trouble.

  1. VDV Says:
    February 10th, 2007 at 1:32 PM

“[Letting] the other team hold on to the ball for 38 minutes” is not entirely the defense’s fault. The Bears gave the ball away four times–that isn’t the defense’s fault. The offense only had a few drives of more than four plays–that isn’t the defense’s fault. They could have played better, but the bulk of the blame lies on Turner, Grossman, and the offense.