The [Monday] Papers
First, a few thoughts on the Bears' disaster yesterday:
As one commentator said at one point during the game, this year's Broncos in some ways resembles the 2001 Bears, who finished 13-3 by finishing 8-0 in games that were all decided by seven or fewer points, including two in overtime. And by Lovie Smith's 2006 Bears, who also went 13-3.
Those teams relied on great special teams (including great kickers) and tough defense to stay in games they would win by turnovers and every bounce going their way. And with inadequate quarterbacks.
The Broncos are using much the same formula. The importance of their special teams isn't just in the long-range leg of Matt Prater that was on display yesterday, but the punts of Britton Colquitt. While some Bears fans were frustrated by Devin Hester's early fair catches, Hester would have been foolish to try anything else with high, booming kicks that arrived with him standing on his own 10-yard-line. Hester was only able to return two of eight Colquitt punts - including the return that inspired the Bears' only touchdown drive.
The Broncos' defense played with emotion, as if their philosophy was to keep the game close and then hand it over to Tebow in the end. The Bears' defense played tight, as if their philosophy was that it had to win the game all by themselves. By the end of the game, the Bears defense was visibly exhausted.
The Bears' corners also blew at least a couple of assignments big-time in which Bronco receivers were wide, wide open, including the touchdown to Demaryius Thomas. It was, as I tweeted, the Bears in a Cover 0 defense.
Charles Tillman did make an interception whose athleticism was for the ages, but most remarkable about it was that it was such a rare occurence for Tim Tebow. In 20 pro games, Tebow has only thrown four interceptions. Turning the ball over on a punt is miles better than doing so with interceptions. Tebow may not make a lot of completions, but he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, either. He grinds it out; Theo Epstein must love this guy.
Unfortunately, Jerry Angelo is no Theo Epstein. How many seasons now have the Bears been caught without an adequate back-up quarterback? Very few QBs make it through an NFL season unscathed; neither do starting running backs. This Bears regime has always bragged about the bottom half of its roster, but it's the backup tier it never seems to address.
Similarly, lack of talent and depth at the wide receiver and offensive line positions seem as endemic to this team as its opportunistic defense. Mike Martz hasn't helped.
Remember, Tebow started the season as the Broncos' backup QB - just like Caleb Hanie.
For Jim Coffman's take and the best from our Twitter feed: SportsMonday: Tim Tebow Outclasses Bears
The Savage Truth
Don't just sit in a park and protest, do something! For those of you who have lost your jobs, lost your homes, lost your health insurance, give!
Maybe, just maybe, though, that generosity of spirit should be asked of those responsible for cratering this economy and those benefiting most obscenely by the tax code they have shaped to their personal advantage, not to mention the corporate by-laws and bonuses needed to keep them, ahem, motivated to continue to do a bang-up job.
[ . . . ]
"The correlation has been abundantly documented, notably by the famous Coleman Report in 1966. New research by Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University traces the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families over the last 50 years and finds that it now far exceeds the gap between white and black students. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that more than 40 percent of the variation in average reading scores and 46 percent of the variation in average math scores across states is associated with variation in child poverty rates. International research tells the same story."
We can "reform" our schools until we're blue in the face; in fact, we have. But poverty is almost always the X factor to our most pernicious ills.
Koschman Kharacter Witness
Message In A Bottle
Saved By The Bottle
The Weekend in Chicago Rock
Holiday Greetings . . .
The Beachwood Tip Line: Next.
Posted on December 12, 2011
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