Bears win, future still looks bleek

By The Columbia Chronicle

Dave Rawske

Sports Correspondent

There will be no Super Bowl for Chicago fans to enjoy this year. In fact, the playoffs are nothing more than a fantasy that will never be fulfilled. We may even witness the second coming of the Messiah before this team can fathom thoughts of a post-season. One fact is for certain, though — The Chicago Bears will show up and challenge the opponent. This has been proven in the first five games of the regular season. No other team in the NFL has faced five playoff teams this year. No other team has had all five games result in an exchange of leads. Last, but definitely not least, no other team has been as exciting or as frustrating to watch for four quarters.

Let’s take the 1-4 record our mighty Bears have posted this season. The sad truth of it all is that they could easily have won three, if not four of these games. The problem has been playing four quarters. The Bears have been outscored by the opposition a dismal and utterly disgraceful 95-0 in the third quarters of the past ten regular season games. What’s going on at halftime in those locker rooms? This is when the coaching staff needs to realize this pathetic trend and change their approach to the second half. The fifteen minute naptime the players are receiving is taking its toll. The games with Pittsburgh, and the undefeated Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars could have had the pendulum swinging in the other direction. What they’ve needed to win these games is the “big play.” In tight games like these somebody has to step up, and the Bears are missing a player of that caliber.

Let’s take into consideration what these teams have done to others. For instance, those poor cheese-headed morons were made a mockery of at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football by the very Vikings the Bears had lost to by a mere field goal. On opening day, how can we forget the Bears’ last drive inside the ten-yard line, and they only came out of that with a field goal after getting the ball to the one-yard line. Next possession, Jacksonville scores a last-second touchdown in a game that would’ve been out of reach if Chicago had gotten six on the previous drive. Bottom line — they’ve been close. I’ll spare you the cliché about when close counts.

There’s no doubt that this group of men has overcome the odds. The win-loss column might not read how we’d all like it to, but they’ve given us more than we expected. We managed to beat the Detroit Lions without a battered Andy Heck, Curtis Conway, and Curtis Enis. Remember that this is the same team who a week before had walked Trent Dilfer and company off the plank and into its den. They’ve been outscored and outmatched, but definitely not outfought. There is also no question who mama bear and papa bear are. The leadership cannot go unnoticed. It lies in sure-handed Curtis Conway and ever-so-impressive Erik Kramer. Both have proven their talents and managed to fulfill every expectation this subpar offense was given and more. This is definitely a team that deserves the respect of the fans. They have given us everything a less-than-average team could give. They have shown courage, put forth 110 percent each week, and have shell-shocked each opponent who has treated them as another bye week.

Let the record show that although I am one of the proudest Bear fans in this city, and support them despite their recent demise, I am also a realist. There is very little about this team that needs no introduction. Just looking at their roster is evidence enough to see that they are full of no-name, inexperienced players. The team is not talented enough to compete in the NFC Central, but they are definitely a team that will give the others something to prepare for. How often do you see athletes hugging, crying, and jumping for joy after a meaningless regular season game? That’s the whole point — to them it’s something more than just another win. It’s about overcoming the odds, coming together as one, and sweating and bleeding every ounce of pride this team has. It’s as if they’ve placed themselves in their own little world and fended off every critic who has down-played them. To us it’s nothing much, and to some they’re getting too much credit. They play football; we watch. They lose; we antagonize. They get their first win; we question if it will be their only.