First, Da BEARS. They gotta be feeling super today. After several weeks of naysayers telling them they aren’t good enough and won’t get it done (including yours truly), the Bears played probably one of their most complete games of the year. Although it wasn’t pretty by conventional standards, it sure was beautiful in the eyes of Bears fans. Definitely “Bear football”. Sure, Grossman isn’t gonna make people forget about Montana or Elway, but he connected on some nice passes when the pressure was most extreme, leading a drive for what turned out to be the game-clinching TD. Great catch by Berrian! And although Rex missed some open passes in the 1st half, he didn’t have any critical turnovers or negative plays, and that’s one of the reasons the Bears are going to Miami. It was a complete team victory, though, as the running game was clutch, the defense played like they did early in the season for ¾ of the game, and special teams were quite effective, especially on kick coverage. Robbie was again Gould in the first half. The complete team effort and contributions from all positions represented the victory formula Chicago has sought since mid-season.
Make no mistake, home field advantage was also quite valuable to the Bears. The Saints looked out of sorts on occasion, often wondering what real grass is and why it was so slick out there. Clearly, the lack of sure footing and the noise level disrupted the Saints enough to make some bad plays, like the intentional grounding call from the endzone (safety). The Bear D was clearly swarming around and hitting hard, thereby claiming some fumbles and INTs that had eluded them for a few weeks. But because they’re representing the NFC, the 15-3 Bears will still likely be a decided 7 point underdog vs the Colts in the Super Bowl. With the continued lack of respect and people spending the next 2 weeks describing how the Colts will win decisively, the Bears should feel right at home!
Meanwhile, the AFC championship game turned out to be the gun-slinging, epic showdown between Manning and Brady that everyone expected. The Colts were clearly outplayed, out-toughed and out-coached in the first half. But they came out fighting in the second half, eventually to tie the score at 28 with most of the 4th quarter remaining. The Colts had the ball at about their own 20 with about 12 minutes left. It seemed like the stage was set for Peyton & Co to finally get this done. They had momentum, they were at home, they had the ball, AND THEY HAD A LOT TO PROVE. So, as most of us expected in this Greek tragedy known as the Indy Colts, misfortune struck in the form of a sprained thumb on Manning’s throwing hand. No, not now!!!!
Anyway, the teams traded FGs for a 31-31 tie with 6+ minutes left. Why did the Colts hand off on 3rd and 5 from the NE 30 ? Why not go for the 1st down and pass the ball???? Why play for a FG??? Why did they turn into wimps??
2:17 to go, Colts have the ball on their own 20, down 34-31. This is it: Peyton’s chance for his personal version of “The Drive”. Long pass down the sideline. 15 yard pass up the middle. Roughing the QB! Colts are clickin’! Run up the middle. TOUCHDOWN!!!! TOUCHDOWN!!!! Now, can the Colts D hold ‘em??? YES!!! YES!!! INTERCEPTION!!!! The wicked witch is dead!!!! Pick your witch: Brady, Belicheck, the curse on Manning, Dungy and the Colts. Whatever. Manning wins a clutch come-from-behind playoff game and the Colts are finally going to the Super Bowl!!!
Ya gotta love this result: Bears vs Colts in the Super Bowl. Well, at least I do. It’s long overdue and both teams are extremely happy to be there. A dream match-up from my perspective. I’ve loved the Bears since Butkus, Buffone and Sayers played games at Wrigley. I’ve rooted for the Colts ever since they moved from Baltimore to my Aunt’s home town only 3 hours from Chicago. And it seems like everyone roots for Peyton Manning. This seems weird, but for once, I can’t lose!!! To me, this is like the Sox playing the Cubs in the World Series. Okay, since the Cubs are cursed, maybe this Colts/Bears matchup is not as far-fetched as that one! Anyway, I’ll be rooting for the Bears, but if the Colts happen to win, I can live with that. Party at my place on Super Sunday Feb 4!!! You’re all invited.
Filed under: Wally's World | 6 Comments »