Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Everyone is talking about how embarassing the loss was last night for the Cardinals. And I guess that it must have been, but, not being a Cardinals fan, I don't quite see what was so embarassing about it. After watching that game I came away convinced that the Cardinals are actually real team. Leinart is going to be a fricking good quarterback, and their defense actually looked really good. I mean, granted, they had their amps turned up to 11, and Grossman pretty much threw away any hope of having an offense during the game last night, but that Arizona defense looked legitimately tough. The few times when Grossman was able to settle down enough to get a few throws in, the d-backs punished the receivers in a way that I was not expecting at all from the Cardinals. Plus, everyone's acting like the fact that the Bears won without scoring an offensive touchdown means that Arizona took it away, but that is a serious slight to the Bears defense. They took the game away from the Cards. The Bears defense and special teams have been built to win games without an offense, because that's what they had to do for the past three years. They were 11-5 last year, and doubtlessly one of the three top teams in the NFC, and that was without an offense! Last night's game might have seemed flukey, but how many times does the defense have to win a game by itself before you have to acknowledge that it's not a fluke every single time it happens. People look at football, mostly, this way: the offense scores points; the defense stops the other team from scoring points. The Bears defense thinks that they're out there to score points just as much as the offense. Sure, it may be harder to score when you're on defense, since the other team gets to decide what is going to happen to the ball initially, but, if the Bears have decided that they're going to score points on defense, and then they do it, on a relatively consistent basis, at some point it just has to be accepted that Lovie Smith is revolutionizing the way defense is played and thought about at a professional level.

That said, I sort of felt better about last night's win than any of the others so far this year, except for maybe the Seattle game, b/c the Bears managed to pull off a victory despite almost nothing going right for them for the first three-fourths of the game. That comeback easily ranks as one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Right up there with Indy's comeback from 28 down against the then-defending Super Bowl champs Tampa, a game that ushered in the Payton Manning era in football, and the Bears 2000 back-to-back Mike Brown interception returns. I love football because of games like that.

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