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Bears blither-blather: Wildcard Hangover Edition

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Patti and Jeff are back to commiserate over a disheartening end to a heartwarming season

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears
Who’s a good Bear?

Patti Curl: so that happened.....

Jeff Berckes: ×&!/ >, /&÷ !”/<!) /&÷ $<“( ×!@ /&!/ @&>/?!

Oops, I had the special characters screen up. Okay, it’s out of my system.

Everyone wants to talk about Cody Parkey and, look, I get it, he hasn’t been good enough this year and ending the game with the double doink miss was poetic in the worst way. However, the young man stood tall to the media, his teammates rallied behind him, and to any and all that threatened violence against him - I say trade in your navy & orange for green and yellow now because you are unworthy of the colors.

Moving forward, it sets up an interesting conversation. If you’re Ryan Pace, do you bring Parkey back or do you right the wrong and resign Robbie Gould?

PC: If I’m Ryan Pace, I resign Robbie Gould. I don’t know that this is actually the smartest move from a pure on-the-field cap value standpoint, but in terms of fan approval and making symbolic gestures to heal the scars of a city, it’s worth every penny. Since Ryan Pace is currently still Ryan Pace, I’m not sure what he’s going to do. He doesn’t seem to factor the emotions of the fans into his decisions, and Parkey on the whole of his career is an above average kicker. And even though he failed us in his biggest moment, I’m not certain that pressure makes him kick worse. His highest pressure kick was probably the blocked/miss playoff loss, but his first kick after the 4 upright game was about as high pressure as possible and he nailed it.

Do you have any positive takeaways from the wildcard game? I personally like how Mitch thew two near-interceptable balls to Avante Maddox early to trick him into jumping hard later and open up AR12’s double-move routes for huge gains. Tricksy Bisky at his finest!

JB: It truly was next level game theory with The Talented Mr. Biscuit on that one. Purely positive takeaway was we have proof that Biscuit can put it in the basket when the game is on the line and that the Trubisky - Allen Robinson II connection has the potential to be downright explosive next year. I expect year 2 of Swaggy Nagy’s Super Happy Fun Time offense to be consistently great and not just flashy. Nagy clearly has the personnel management and inspiration side of the Head Coaching position down cold - seriously, these guys would lay down in traffic for him - but this system and his play calling will benefit greatly by building off of lessons learned from this year. I’d be remiss to not mention just how much I loved watching this defense all season. They weren’t perfect on Sunday, but they made this season so much fun and gave us a chance. The vast majority of the starters are locked up under contract and while it’s difficult to maintain defensive dominance, it’s hard to make a case against this Bears defense in 2019. Now I’m curious to see if Chicago becomes a destination for veteran players wanting to take a smaller salary to join the fun and compete for a championship.

I think we should make a countdown list for our favorite plays of the season as I’m having difficulty picking just one. The Eddie Jackson pick 6 against Detroit was particularly tasty given the Thanksgiving context, but the Tarik Cohen catalog is full of fun options. Anything catch your eye as a season defining highlight?

PC: My season-defining highlight has to be Eddie Goldman’s safety against Jared Goff. Pick sixes may affect the game more, but there’s nothing more humiliating you can do to an offense than sack their quarterback in their own end zone. Especially when the drive started on the 13 yard line. Goldman wasn’t the only one in the backfield Hicks was right beside him and the rest of the Bears were swarming in the backfield for a sublime display of comprehensive domination.

I think a season-defining highlight for this team has to be defensive, but we should allow ourselves a favorite offensive highlight too. And a favorite Coh Coh highlight because he has so many. Having made the rules, I’m calling dibs Trubisky to Gabriel deep on the left sideline in the otherwise-painful Dolphins game and Cohen’s swapping hands so he can reach out for the pylon on his diving touchdown against the Packers.

JB: That Cohen play was pretty sweet. I’m shocked you didn’t take the Akiem Hicks rushing TD as I know how much you like Bears that are as big as actual bears. In fact, I think the year on offense will likely be remembered for the creative nature of the Nagy offense and the involvement of players in an unexpected way. As someone who played all of his football snaps on the line of scrimmage, I have to give props to “Santa’s Sleigh” - 10 linemen on the field and Trubisky finds swing Tackle Bradley Sowell in the end zone for 6. Sowell flashed a natural pass catching ability and good dance moves during the celebration. It’s a big man’s dream and gave me warm and fuzzies for days after.

As for the rest of the playoffs, I’ll admit I’m not nearly as excited as I normally am with this stinging disappointment, but I do still have some nominal cheering interests and wagers in Vegas. I’d like to see the Chargers at the Chiefs and the Rams at the Saints in the championship games next week with the Chargers beating the Saints in the Super Bowl. Oh by the way, the Bears play all 4 of those teams next year - time to get some advanced scouting work started. For what it’s worth, Chargers - Saints was my preseason pick, so at least I have internet bragging rights on the line, which as we all know is the most valuable currency out there...

PC: Watching Hicks score the touchdown made me giddy for sure, but the execution was just too easy to count as a highlight. Give ball to Bear. Bear is big. Bear walks into end zone. Come to think of it, that’s how every play should be. I personally peaked in internet bragging rights after nailing the Bears 12 and 4 record. Then I proceeded to pick every wild card game wrong and my original NFC super bowl prediction didn’t even make the playoffs. My remaining rooting interests are the lesser-of-evils variety, which is the least exciting type or interest. The Saints are the most tolerable remaining NFC team, but I could handle the Rams as a fan of Wade Philips and Aaron Donald. On the AFC side, any non-Patriots representative would be refreshing, with the exception that it would be hard to accept Tyreek Hill earning a Super Bowl MVP—when I’m reminded that so many find it easy to forgive a man for strangling his pregnant girlfriend and punching her in the stomach, I feel embarrassed to be a fan of this league.

My AFC preference would also be the Chargers, who deserve a little good luck for once. I think Chargers vs. Patriots will be the closest and most exciting game this weekend. Which match-up are you looking most forward to?

JB: Yeah, I certainly don’t forget violent criminal acts that players have committed in their lives. The league has a violence problem, and they’ve done an incredibly poor job of being proactive on that front. You can wear pink armbands in October all you want, but until we see something like lifetime bans on players for convicted assaults, it’s all just marketing bs.

I agree that the Chargers - Patriots will be the most competitive game of the weekend, but I’m most looking forward to watching the Saints destroy the Eagles. I’ve been to two Saints games this year and that squad is playing on another level, particularly in the Superdome. While I’ll admit to cheering for the Eagles last postseason for our guy Alshon Jeffery, the Philly Trolls (population: all of them), really rubbed me the wrong way last week. Above all, I will take pleasure in seeing this Nick Foles story die a gruesome death so we can all move on to real football.

Lastly, let’s pour one out for mean ole Uncle Vic for sacrificing himself on the altar of John Elway’s ego. I enjoyed the curmudgeon attitude he brought to Chicago but to think that Vic can weather a storm against a guy with a statue of himself in front of the stadium is foolhardy. I wish him the very best of luck to defy the odds.

PC: I’ll raise one to Old Uncs V. He deserves a shot, but I fear the Broncos are wearing thin on patience, and he’s not the quick and flashy turnaround type. He’ll still get a guaranteed salary and the satisfaction of knowing he made it to the big chair. I hope he knows there’ll always be a spot open for him as DC of my flag football team.