We're Going to Miami!
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 22, 2007 1:22PM
Da Bears are going to Miami! Da Bears are in the Super Bowl!
While nearly all the football experts -- yours truly included -- thought the Saints would outlast the Bears in Sunday's NFC title game, they proved to be better than most imagined. Not only did the Bears win the game, but they made a damn convincing statement with their 39-14 victory.
The Bears jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, which the Saints narrowed to 16-7 less than a minute before halftime. When the Saints scored another touchdown a few minutes into the 3rd quarter, we feared our prediction would come to fruition. If the Bears stood any shot of winning, we thought they'd need a big enough lead to withstand a rally like those most Bears' opponents had staged towards the end of the season. A two-point lead in the 3rd? We feared the Bears run of destiny was over.
We were wrong, of course! A safety gave the Bears an 18-14 lead, and turned the momentum in the Bears' favor for good. A touchdown early in the 4th quarter gave the Bears a 25-14 lead, before turnovers and desperation 4th down situations created good field position that allowed the Bears to add two more late touchdowns for good measure. Final score: Bears 39, Saints 14.
The Bears victory was led by their resurgant defense, which prevented the Saints from getting their NFC-best offense from getting on track. The Saints' only big play was Reggie Bush's 88-yard TD catch and run, but his flip into the end zone clearly fired up the Bears defense. The defense caused a safety, and forced turnovers that allowed the Bears offense to score rather easily.
The other key to the game was that the Bears played virtually mistake-free football. Just one penalty. No sacks allowed. No fumbles. No interceptions. Rex Grossman's stats weren't great (73.2 QB rating on 11/26 for 144 yards and 1 TD), but he didn't hurt the team. That's all we asked from him.
Bears head coach Lovie Smith made history yesterday, becomming the first African-American head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Only hours later, the Indianapolis Colts' Tony Dungy became the second.
By sending the Saints limping back to New Orleans, they finally have some football media eating crow. However, the Bears are once again the betting underdog, with early lines making the Colts 7 point favorites. We're not questioning the Bears again, even if some still do. We sure that the Bears will win the Super Bowl!