New Generation of Bears Fans Not So Thrilled With T Formation
Some things went as expected. The Bears got a big play in the return game. The Bears were excellent all year in the return game and the Colts were bad all year in coverage. No surprises there. And both teams ran the ball well. The Colts picked up 191 yards on 42 carries. Finesse team, huh? Actually, I think Dominic Rhodes should have been the run away MVP winner, but sentiment prevailed there. Anyway, the Bears ran for 111 yards of their own on 19 carries. That's 5.8 yards a pop.
And yet on what I believe was the key series of the game, the Bears got pass happy. The Bears were lucky to go into the break down 16-14. And, the Colts came out to open the second half and moved the ball at will. Their drive lasted 13 plays and more than seven and a half minutes. But the Bears managed to hold them to a field goal and remained, luckily, one score down at 19-14.
The Bears needed to answer. They needed to give their D time to rest. Their first two plays were passes that picked up 23 yards and put the Bears at 2nd and 1 in Indy territory. I begged the TV for a simple run. Pick up the first down and you have a whole new set of downs to get cute with. It is a widely held misconception that second and short is a free play. Throw and incompletion and you can pick up the first on the next play. The Bears demonstrated why that's a fallacy. A sack, a fumble, and 22 yards later the Bears were punting on 4th and 23 from their own 33.
The game, I believed, was over, especially when the Colts scored again on the ensuing possession to make it a two score game. And yet, the Bears had the ball, down only five points, in the 4th quarter. The holding call against John Tait that erased a 12 yard Thomas Jones run to start the drive was huge. Three plays later, Evil Rex arrived, and the game really was over. The interception run back for a touchdown was a huge mental lock-up. Rex didn't try to make a throw, he just threw it up and prayed. The second pick a few minutes later was a good play, but a terrible throw. The ball was underthrown and delivered too late, wasting a wide open Bernard Berrian. The truth is Grossman looked scared and overwhelmed all night, even if his numbers weren't terrible. Maybe he'll grow out of it, but next year is his last chance.
Despite everything that went wrong, the Bears had a chance to win in the 4th quarter and couldn't come through. Whoever won this game was going to be one of the weaker teams to ever win a Super Bowl, either deeply flawed at QB or on defense. And appropriately, the game was one of the sloppiest, most turnover laden in Super Bowl history. But all that aside, the Indianapolis Colts are Super Bowl champions. Excellence on one side of the ball is enough in today's NFL to be a legitimate contender. Which should give Bears fans hope for next year.