Ok, you so it wasn't a flash of brilliance, or even a spark. And I think we can all say that if Jay Cutler had played, the Chicago Bears win this game by a landslide. The defense looked stout throughout the majority of the game. The special teams was held in check thanks to Shane Lechler's bionic boot. Robbie Gould did what he does best and split the uprights from waaaaaay downtown on a regular basis.
But I want to focus on one Mr. Caleb Hanie. Yes, I was excited and anxious to get to Sunday to see what the new quarterback was going to bring. Going into the Black Hole of Oakland is not an easy task for your first NFL start, but hey, gotta start somewhere. Dumb, stupid, ill-advised throws were made throughout the first half by Hanie that kept the Bears at bay. The first three drives were three plays a piece resulting in two punts and an interception. At this point, I am only hanging my head in shame and wondering how bad it is going to get. Then short and precise passes were being made and then, another interception. Well, I am starting to feel better about this but the throw to Matt Forte was way off its mark. Sigh. Ok, what next? A few more good throws and strike to a streaking Johnny Knox! Whoa! That was a bullet and good job by Knox staying on his feet to get into the end zone for a 29 yard touchdown. Now I am feeling a little better. Maybe the kid has "it". A sly smile of confidence fills my face as I am surrounded by Raiders fans everywhere. Closing in on the end of the first half, the Bears are driving, poised to take the lead and, wait for it, wait, . . . . , another interception on a pass that my 7 year nephew knows not to make. Good God man!
So, it wasn't great. The second half though, I really felt that throughout the progression of the game, Hanie made some adjustments to eliminate the mistakes and "manage" the game better. The defense gave up a few big plays, but that is to be expected once in a while. And that throw at the end of the game (after the rest of the couple of Bears fans around me had left) for 81 yards was what I needed to see. He is not going to sit idly by. That man is out to prove he can be a good quarterback in the NFL. He has got to learn that he cannot spike a ball after hesitating. If Johnny Knox and he were on the same page then maybe that play would have been awesome, but he just looked foolish.
If the Bears can just hold on and make the playoffs, they will be okay. Think about this: With 3 interceptions, Caleb Hanie was an onside kick away from leading the Bears to a win. I feel he did a much better job in the second half, and I hate to say this, but I am once again anxious to see what next week brings. If he can only hold on to what he gained in the second half and build on that.
If only Corey Graham is able to get that ball on that onside kick! Damn.