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Last Sunday's game featured a topsy-turvy inversion of what we've come to expect of the 2015 Bears.
Kick returns were solid and consistently put the offense in good field position.
Colin Kaepernick's seemingly less mobile backup torched the Chicago defense for a late, game-tying score.
Jay Cutler threw a pick six.
Robbie Gould failed on two field goal attempts including the chip shot final play of regulation.
While the head of the season might have been lopped off by Blaine Gabbert's game-tying touchdown scamper, the body of 2015 season died when Torrey Smith stabbed Bears fans through the heart catching a long touchdown pass.
"He's been playing great the whole year. It's just one mistake," said veteran cornerback Tracy Porter when asked about rookie Adrian Amos's blown coverage on Smith's gaming-winning touchdown.
"It's good to hear that you guys have each other's back," commented Tribune reporter Rich Campbell on AM 670. "Sometimes teammates can turn on each other in tough times."
Teammates have been known to turn on each other following tough losses and initially Campbell was encouraged by the cornerback's seemingly resilient attitude.
Then he noticed what Porter was up to.
"So . . . whatchya doin' there?" the reporter asked, motioning toward Porter's project, which was a hole in the ground.
"Oh this?" said Porter, putting down his shovel. "I, uh . . . really like rectangles."
"So you're digging one on the home sideline. In uniform."
"You bet," said the cornerback earnestly. He picked the shovel back up and continued digging. "Seen Amos anywhere?"
"How deep would you say that that hole is, Tracy?"
"Hmmm. I dunno," said the former New Orleans Saint, still digging. "About five-and-a-half feet." He wiped his brow. "I figure I need about six more inches."
Campbell remained silent, holding the recorder at arm's length.
"You know, everyone complains about the field conditions here," Porter continued. "But I gotta tell you that this swampy mess is a lot easier to work with than the turf in the Superdome."
Coming Up Next
With seven losses, the Bears' season has at long last become an explicit tryout for next year.
While any talk of rushing Kevin White back from injury can now be shelved and we can look forward to extended playing time for the likes of more youngsters on the defense, don't get ahead of yourself.
Just because you know the season is over doesn't mean you should tell your wife that you're now available on January 10th.
Unless you want to have dinner with the Krazinskis. Think carefully before you tell the Mrs. that the date opened up.
Darlene is going to spend the entire dinner talking about how busy she is taking her kids from one activity to the next and Glen - oh boy, Glen.
You just know that motherfucker wants to spend 20 minutes telling you about his landscaping strategies.
Guess what, Glen? I don't give a shit about riding mowers.
Because this is my goddamn lawn - the vast 35 square feet of unkempt moss you walked past to get into my townhouse.
What in the Sam-fuck am I going to do with a 24-horsepower John Deere riding mower, Glen?
Could I place this machine in my "yard" and prevent sun from reaching 80% of the plant life that inhabits my outdoor property? Absolutely.
But Glen, I've gotta ask: why in the hell would I spend $3,000 to do it?!
So if your wife asks, January as a whole is still booked on your calendar.
Other than avoiding less-than-desirable social engagements, what do we have to look forward to for the next month? Here are few items of note.
- Overall we've seen big strides at quarterback. Now it's time to see what kind of depth is available at the position. Backup QB, er, whose name escapes me at the moment. Sixth-round pick David Fales? Aw Christ, that's no fun. Let's just run Willie Young out there. He can pretend to reel in a big mouth bass after every completion. So get ready for about three of those.
- The development of tight end Zach Miller, who thanks to an outrageous number of prior injuries is essentially a 31-year old rookie based on service time. With Martellus Bennett on IR, it's the perfect time to resurrect his career and show the league what he can do . . . now it's his ribs? God. Damn. It.
- I'm excited to see all of the creative ways that Tracy Porter is planning to hide Adrian Amos's grave. Watch the broadcasts carefully during home games for tents, picnic tables and bounce houses that seem wildly out of place on the Bears sideline.
[Editor's Note: If the term "blue-eyed devil" makes you uncomfortable, you should really stop reading now.]
What's In A Name
Another season will pass without the football franchise in Washington, D.C., changing its name.
Some of you might ask what the big deal is and how this team's moniker is different than say, the Fighting Illini or Seminoles or Terrapins.
For one, "Illini" is the self-proclaimed title for a tribe of Native Americans. Identifying as one is roughly analogous to identifying as "Irish."
An Irish woman might be offended when you call her "Sean Connery" (you shouldn't have grown that beard, Aileen), but while you might offend someone by confusing their group with another group, the term "Illini" doesn't (to my knowledge) carry an intrinsically offensive connotation any more than the word "Scotsman" does.
Comparisons to the "N" word have been bandied about the Internet.
I suppose there's merit to that, if the person making the claim is at least half Native American.
See, I'm kind of picky about who has a right to get self-righteous about this issue. I've got a number of people in my life that begin invoking their proud (read: completely unsubstantiated) 1/32 Cherokee heritage in situations that involve "tracking" things (usually loose women) or drunkenly assembling a tent.
Stop dancing around the flame, Brad.
And quit telling me "your mighty forebrothers smile down on you from the great hunt in the sky" because you started a minor campfire at the Mt. Olympus Resort with a Bic lighter and kindling that consists entirely of slain cases of Miller Lite.
But I digress.
As an outsider, I can't produce a fair analogy, so rather than try, I'll share a scenario that leads me to an equivalent emotional reaction.
People who are okay with the name "Redskins" remind me of a straight, married, white woman who is both physically attracted to black men and more than a little racist.
You know the type of woman I'm talking about.
She's more a bigot in heart than in deed.
Not ultimately malicious, but you'd feel icky if you got a look at the transcript of her internal monologue.
She told her husband that she'll be working late, but in reality she's in a Motel 6 getting plowed by a six-foot tall black dude named Roy.
Now ,Roy is a sales executive at a manufacturing company out of Mt. Prospect.
He was hired about four years ago as an account manager and was tasked with growing sales within the company's most high-profile clients.
Due to his enormous success, Roy was quickly promoted. Thirty people now report to him and, under his direction, business has never been better.
Roy doesn't know that this woman is married. He didn't really ask, but he's single and the woman he's seeing is 38. Because of his busy schedule he doesn't have time to really dig into the particulars of the lives of the grown women he dates.
Back in Motel 6, the married woman is screaming "F**K ME WITH THAT N****R D**K!" at the top of her lungs.
This is where Roy's backstory becomes key.
He doesn't need my help and certainly none of my pity.
The guy is driving a BMW home when he's done railing a pretty woman. He makes exponentially more money than I do. He's earned everything good in his life. And now some ignorant bitch is buying his short term tolerance of a verbal assault with her vagina.
The woman isn't granted the right to vent her low-grade disdain just because the person on the receiving end of the attack won't be hurt. Roy can take it, maybe he even gets a kick out of it. After all, who's the joke really on?
If Roy goes back next week, fine. He's made his call and there's no need to be offended on his behalf.
But that's not the case of the Redskins.
[Editor's Note: So, is Roy supposed to represent DeSean Jackson or something? I'm lost.]
Again, this story doesn't make a good one-to-one analogy, but it's the best way I know how to describe the very specific emotional through-line that the name "Redskins" draws out of me.
Reading the transcript, feeling icky, giggling a little, deciding that whatever's happening here should stop, but not being in a position to do anything about it and not able to talk about it without seeming self-important.
I guess the takeaway is that I equate the Washington Redskins to a woman screaming something vile in a black guy's face mid-coitus.
Kool Aid (2 of 5 Snifters Of Koval Millet)
Like whiskey, but are on a gluten-free diet?
In other words, if you've somehow fooled yourself into believing that you can drink like a fish but are simultaneously 150 crunches away from achieving shredded abs, then this delicious spirit is for you.
Also makes a nice holiday gift, if you're into that sort of thing.
The aforementioned Washington Redskins are in town on Sunday and holy shit was that loss last week deflating.
Hype machine, not engaged.
Thanks to an incredibly weak NFC East, the Bears are in the bizarre position of trying to play spoiler - to a team with an identical record.
Robbie Gould's missed field goals have drawn attention away from the fact that the Bears offense hasn't been hitting on all cylinders for the better part of a month.
Chicago should be able to find room for deep strikes in the second half as the Washington secondary is kinda bad in addition to being injured.
Bears win at home, but don't get too excited. It's a 9-7 season at best.
Bears 23, Washington 21
* I made almost no effort to devise a graceful entry point for the following nugget, but I think it's important for me to let you all know about that the Superman Snugglers pillow, a child's toy that appeared in the image search results for "Bizarro Superman." You can go ahead and have the RTDNA mail my Edward R. Morrow Award to the office. I don't want that thing left on the porch during the holiday season.
About The Author
Carl Mohrbacher spent a good portion of his week getting criticized for "forcing" some of his friends and family to drink all day Sunday, thus ruining their work week. He'd like to thank H.O.M.E. in Arlington Heights for the free hats and the security staff at the House Of Blues for being gentle to his friends when they became too rowdy for a Steel Panther concert.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.
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